- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 9, 2005

RICHMOND — Not a day goes by in which Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan doesn’t gush about his team’s backcourt depth, and veteran point guard Chucky Atkins is a big reason why.

At 5-foot-11, Atkins — whom the Wizards acquired in the summer deal that sent Kwame Brown to the Los Angeles Lakers — is the shortest player on the training camp roster, but he is long on experience.

The 31-year-old Atkins, who primarily will be used to spell Gilbert Arenas, averaged career highs in points (13.6) and assists (4.4) while starting all 82 games for the Lakers last season — his sixth in the league.

“He is a coach on the floor,” Jordan said. “He motivates guys, and he does things that surprise me. He can be on the perimeter, and all of a sudden he can drive, and before you know it he is at the rim uncontested. He has the kind of game where you can’t go to sleep on him.”

Atkins knows he is good enough to be a starter in this league. But he also knows the Wizards — who also signed point guard Antonio Daniels — are loaded in the backcourt.

That, Jordan says, is a huge positive.

“When guys go to their backup players, normally the level of play goes down. But with us we can play at that same level or maybe even go up because we’ve been able to sit on the bench and see what happens,” Atkins said. “As a reserve, you have the chance to bring something to the game that wasn’t already there.”

This is not Atkins’ first time at Wizards training camp.

He played well for the Wizards in the summer of 1999, but they already were two deep at point guard with Rod Strickland and Chris Whitney. So Atkins decided to sign with the Orlando Magic as Darrell Armstrong’s backup.

The decision turned out to be a good one. Atkins received increased playing time after the All-Star break and averaged 9.5 points and 3.7 assists after going undrafted out of South Florida.

Traded to the Detroit Pistons before the 2000-01 season, Atkins started for two seasons there.

In a short time, Atkins has earned the respect of his new teammates, especially Arenas.

“He has been around the league, and he has seen it all,” Arenas said. “He has played with some great guards, and he has played on some great teams. You respect him for what he does. He is going to help us out a lot.”

Note — Caron Butler scored 10 points and Jared Jeffries and Peter John Ramos both added eight to lead the White Team to a 40-36 intrasquad scrimmage victory last night at Siegel Center.

Antawn Jamison led the Black Team with eight points, and Gilbert Arenas added six points. The game was played in front of 2,900 fans who were admitted free of charge.

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