- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 5, 2005

CHICAGO — Former Washington Wizards assistant Johnny Bach, now a coach with the Chicago Bulls, is not surprised about this week’s developments with Kwame Brown.

“Some are qualified and able to handle the multitude of pressures,” said Bach, an assistant for former Washington coach Doug Collins for two seasons. “I thought early on we saw some evidence of this. He walked in looking comfortable but he wasn’t really comfortable from the day he walked in.”

Bach, who has been coaching at some level for the better part of five decades, was referring to Brown’s suspension on Tuesday for the remainder of the playoffs after he skipped a practice, a team shoot-around, a meeting with club officials and Monday night’s Game4 against the Bulls.

Bach said he couldn’t contain his excitement when he heard the Wizards were going to draft Brown with the first pick in the 2001 draft. But he soon realized that selecting Brown ahead of current Bull Tyson Chandler was a mistake.

“When he first had to play [in training camp] with Michael Jordan, a demanding person but still almost 40, and everyone was surprised that Kwame would be unable to participate in the drills.

“Whether it was fatigue, physical or in his mind, people started to look at him pretty critically when he would be over in the corner gasping for air and unable to finish. They looked at that sculpted body and wondered why can’t he do this? He looks so good yet he can’t finish training camp.”

Bach said Brown, who initially was reported earlier this week to have a stomach virus, should have handled the recent situation with the Wizards better.

“I would have hoped he would have walked in at the end of the season and said that I’ve given the best that I could — that’s his professional responsibility — and told [president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld], ‘It’s not working. Can you look to see if you could move me?’ But that is the mature solution. He picked — again — a very immature way of handling it. I’m sick? Even if you are you still have to show up for the game.”

Chandler: It’s old news

When Brown went one-on-one with Chandler before the 2001 draft, Brown, according to NBA lore, is said to have told former Wizards president Michael Jordan he should be picked first because he won the battle.

Chandler, who eventually was picked second and then traded to the Bulls in exchange for the Clippers’ Elton Brand, said he doesn’t think about what might have happened had he outplayed Brown.

“I was meant to be in Chicago. I’m happy here so I feel there is a reason why I went No. 2,” Chandler said.

Chandler said a stomach ache wouldn’t have kept him sidelined.

“I really don’t know what’s going on, I just know that he’s not here,” Chandler said. “If I had a stomach virus I definitely would have been here. That’s not to down him, but personally I would have been here.”

Nobody’s home

One day after picking up the league’s top sixth-man award, Bulls rookie guard Ben Gordon yesterday tried to readh his old University of Connecticut buddy Emeka Okafor to congratulate him on winning the rookie of the year award.

But as of the start of yesterday’s game, the two still hadn’t spoken with each other.

“He called after I won but I wasn’t by the phone,” said Gordon. “So he left me a message and I’ve left him a message.”

Gordon did say that he had talked with his college coach, Jim Calhoun.

“I think he was more excited about it than either of us,” Gordon said. “He was speechless. It is a good thing for the school.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide