Adams finding his place in Bullets' new offense PRO BASKETBALL


It had, through the first four games, been an uneventful preseason for Washington Bullets point guard Michael Adams. Open auditions for the job left him with limited minutes, and when Adams was in, he didn't seem to be overly concerned with looking for his shots.

That changed in Sunday's 105-103 loss to Philadelphia when Adams, playing his first considerable time this preseason (38 minutes), re- sponded with his best stat line: 22 points and nine assists. With two exhibition games left -- the Bullets (0-5) are in Charleston, W. Va., tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers, and play Milwaukee in Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday -- and the start of the regular season just more than a week away, the emergence of Adams is a must for Washington.

"He played well," Bullets coach Wes Unseld said of Adams' performance, which came one day after the 5-foot-8 guard attempted two shots in a loss at Milwaukee. "Those shot opportunities are always there for Michael. But this is an offense where Michael is not going to flourish at first."

Unseld is referring to the change in the Bullets' offensive set, which is aimed at using Kevin Duckworth's skills in the low post.

Last year, the Bullets ran an offense that featured a lot of motion around the perimeter, but this season the team is looking to post people up.

"Since a lot of plays aren't run for the point guard, I'm basically trying to get everybody else involved during the preseason," Adams said. "I'm just trying to do whatever is needed to pick up our team offensively."

Eventually, picking up the low-post game will open up Adams' offense -- and that of the shooting guards -- as well.

If Duckworth and Tom Gugliotta prove to be consistent scorers inside, they'll attract a lot of double teams. If that happens, it will translate to a lot of open shots for the perimeter players, an opportunity Adams is more than capable of handling.

Adams is the best all-time three-point shooter in the game, making 851 over his eight-year career. His career average (two-pointers and three-pointers) is 15.9 points, and, when he was an All-Star with Denver during the 1990-91 season, he finished that year with a career-best 26.5 points a game.

On Sunday, Adams scored 12 of his points -- including the team's only two three-pointers -- during a third quarter in which the Bullets went up by 15 points.

"That was a situation where I just felt the shots were there to take," Adams said. "This whole adjustment with the offense has been fine with me. As long as we run our offense, and set picks when we're supposed to, I think everybody will get a straight-up shot at the basket.

"It's still young, but I think everything will be fine," Adams said. "We should have won this last game, but we didn't get some key rebounds down the stretch and came up short. It'll get better."

NOTES: F Don MacLean, who suffered a strained abdominal muscle before the Bullets left on the road trip, will rejoin the team in Charleston. . . . Mitchell Butler, who didn't play Saturday or Sunday because of an injured wrist, also will rejoin the team.

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