One Skill, Second Fiddle

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Knott, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Juan Dixon is a role player who sometimes struggles with being subservient to the lead players around him.

Dixon is a limited one-on-one maestro at the NBA level, in case this has not dawned on him yet - and apparently it has not, judging by his indiscriminate forays in the first two games of the Wizards' playoff series against the Bulls.

His Napoleonic-like manner no longer should be about proving people wrong. That is old news. That is high school stuff. That is fear-the-turtle stuff.

This is the N-B-A, a man's league that chews up and spits out those who never quite seem to know their place in a team's hierarchy.

Dixon just wants to dribble in place. Dribble. Dribble. Dribble. He just wants to dribble to get the defender rocking on his heels, so he can dribble once more before pulling up to take a 20-footer.

Please, Maryland fans, hold the e-mails and phone calls. If you must, relive Maryland's championship season with Scott Jackson after Game3 tomorrow. Again, these are the NBA playoffs, and the Terrapins compete under the NCAA umbrella. There is no comparison.

This is not to trivialize Dixon's contributions in the regular season. He is adept at coming off the bench and having success against the opposition's second team, which is the point. He is not made of starter's material at the NBA level, excluding the lottery teams, some of whom have no choice but to insert backup types into the starting lineup.

If Dixon had landed with the Bobcats in the expansion draft last summer, he undoubtedly would have put up good numbers in Charlotte. But he would have put up those numbers in the context of an 18-64 season.

Someone has to score points in a 48-minute game. That does not mean they are quality points.

Dixon's difficulties are not confined to the offensive end of the floor either. He has trouble defending many of the starting guards around the NBA.

You saw how Kirk Hinrich treated Dixon late in the second quarter of Game2 after Larry Hughes picked up his third foul and was sentenced to the bench. …