'Fly' Adams has Bullets buzzing

November 04, 1991|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Evening Sun Staff

LANDOVER -- Washington Bullets guard Michael Adams has everybody talking. Or is it gushing?

"Michael Adams gives us a whole new dimension," said Bullets center Charles Jones. "His hustle. His three-point shooting. He's all over the court, just like a little fly. He's everywhere. You look up and he's there. He pesters guys on defense. On offense, he pushes the ball up the court. He can take it himself or create for the other guys. He makes things easy for A.J. [English], Harvey [Grant], even Pervis [Ellison].

"I mean, he makes it so easy for everyone. He's a little iron man. There is nothing but positives about him. He may be only 5 feet 10, but he has the heart of a guy 7 feet tall."

Little Michael Adams has the Bullets sitting in the rarefied air of first place in the Atlantic Division today, with a perfect 2-0 record.

Even though there are 80 games to go in this NBA season, a 2-0 start is remarkable. The Bullets are not 2-0 against expansion teams. They are 2-0 after opening on the road in Indiana, and winning 109-103, against a team expected to challenge for the Central Division. They are 2-0 after opening at home against Boston, and beating the Atlantic Division favorite, 126-118 in overtime.

There is no denying Adams has made the underdog Bullets the top dog for a few days anyway.

The Bullets will try to keep the streak alive tomorrow night at home against Philadelphia.

Adams understands about underdogs. He's been one most of his career. As a college player, he played for Boston College in a Big East dominated by Georgetown and Syracuse.

Since coming to the NBA, he has played for SacramentoWashington and Denver and now Washington, again, all in six years.

"It's been like that throughout my career," he said. "I've gottemore respect the last couple years, but when you go out there and another team trades you and another team trades you, you've got to go out and prove yourself again and again.

"I don't have any problem with trying to prove critics wrongbecause it makes you work harder every night."

At Indiana, he had 23 points, 13 assists, and a personal high of nine steals.

Against Boston, it was 40 points, 11 assists, four steals and fivrebounds in 43 minutes. Ten of those 40 points came in a 45-second span in the first quarter.

"You saw it," said Unseld, after the Bullets' victory over Boston. "He was incredible."

Unseld's Bullets are 2-0 with last season's leading scoreBernard King, No. 1 draft choice LaBradford Smith, and veteran forward Mark Alarie on the injured list.

They are 2-0 with 305-pound forward John Williams suspendeindefinitely.

They are 2-0 because Michael Adams has generated an attacthat has improved the team defense and opened up the offense.

"When you're in training camp," said Unseld, "you do things yohope will bring a team together once it starts playing in the regular season. But you never know. What I've seen so far, if they can keep it up, will pay off."

The Bullets defense, with Harvey Grant, Pervis Ellison and Jonepressing high and Adams --ing around down low, has caused havoc.

With Adams handling the ball and pressing the attack, thBullets are averaging 110 points in regulation, up nine from a year ago.

The Bullets haven't had a bench contribute like this since -- well, Jones said never in his seven years here. Against Boston, Tom Hammonds pumped in 13 points, David Wingate, who isn't supposed to be a shooter, had 14, and Ledell Eackles added five.

At Indiana, the bench contributed 37 points, including another 1from Hammonds and 10 from Wingate.

While Unseld said his team can not succeed with just onplayer's effort, it is obviously that most of this heady stuff is attributed to Adams, or at least to his inspiration.

"The leadership, the confidence Michael brings is remarkable," said Hammonds, who spent the entire summer working on his game with Bullets assistant Jeff Bzdelik and has upped his scoring average eight points to 13.5. "His attitude and the way he plays affects us all and we need it."

Ellison, who is averaging 16.5 points, well above his 10.4 average last season, explained part of the difference Adams makes.

"Michael poses problems every night," said Ellison. "With him, wcan be in every game. You have to guard him, because he's a finisher. He's not going to dunk it, but somehow he's going to spin it into the basket. You have to play him, and even when you do, it will still frustrate you, because the strongest part of his game is his passing ability. It makes him a double threat. Add to that the fact he's so quick, well, you saw. I can't imagine guarding him."

Adams is taking all of this in stride. He said before the season he is coming to the Bullets with extreme confidence in his shooting. He also said that if any one on the team was in need of being uplifted, he would be willing to do it.

"If you're going to be a leader, you have to do it on the floor and that's what I'm trying to do," Adams said. "Sometimes I'm a rah-rah guy, sometimes I'm not, but if I can help some guys with their confidence, that's good, because I think we've got guys who can play. It's still early, but if we keep helping each other out on defense and get some easy buckets, some good things will happen."

At this point, who can doubt Michael Adams?

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