"When Gary Payton came out and was on the Sonics, he became more and more of a scoring point guard," Bone said. "Coaches are allowing them to do more and create."
That is not to suggest that WSU (1-0) features a player of Payton's caliber. But neither did Portland State, where he coached from 2005 -09 and guided the Vikings to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances.
"At Portland State, there was a few years where we didn't have a traditional point guard and we competed pretty well," Bone said.
"They're hard to come by nowadays. We're getting by with a nontraditional point guard. We're just going to go without that like some teams go without a center."
In the Cougars' case, they might be without both. Kansas transfer Royce Woolridge made his first start at point guard and finished with seven points and two assists during Saturday's 88-69 win against Eastern Washington. As far as center is concerned, WSU lists both Brock Motum and D.J. Shelton as forwards. The latter had a team-high 12 rebounds and six points against the Eagles.
"D.J. did a great job on the glass the other night," said Bone, adding that he believes the 6-foot-10 Shelton has enough range to eventually make 15- to 18-foot shots consistently. "What he needs to do more than anything else to take a step forward is relax and let the game come to him. We would like him to slow down just a little bit."
Shelton might be tasked with defending 6-foot-9 Oklahoma transfer Nick Thompson, but Bone said the coaches have not determined who will have that task yet. Thompson has averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds this season for the Wolverines (1-1).
"There's been Thompsons before lighting up Beasley," said Bone, referring to former WSU standout Klay Thompson. "Hopefully this one doesn't do the same."
Bone said he watched Utah Valley's 67-54 loss Friday at UIPUI, but not Monday's win at North Carolina A&M. He said he is familiar with coach Dick Hunsaker from competing against him in the past.
Right now, he said the early season games are more about improving as a team, but he added that "we also need to respect our opponent."
"Kernich-Drew tweaked it on last play on game against Saint Martin's," Bone said. "He got bumped on the way down and came down awkward."