Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Sonics Postseason Predictions

Colin did a brief run through of all our free agents. Let's go into a bit more detail.

Rick Sund, GM: I'm not quite sure what to think of Mr. Sund. Did he get really lucky this year or is he that good a talent evaluator? Regardless, all of his interviews sound a lot like him sticking around. He did draft Nick Collison and Luke Ridnour against popular opinion (remember Reece Gaines?) and those two are a cornerstone of the future. Swift looks like he has a lot of talent and he plays hard. We'll see how that translates in the next year or two. He also picked up Antonio Daniels off the scrap heap. What he does this offseason will help define his credentials.
Nate McMillan, coach: I'm not quite sure what I think about Nate as well. The best thing I can say about Nate is that the Sonics mostly appeared prepared for games (whether that was also because of Duane Casey remains to be seen). Can we afford Nate? Probably not. I think he's going to sign with the Knicks and get fired within the first couple of years. Luckily we have the aforementioned Casey in the wings and I think he'll be solid.

Free Agent Players:
Ray Allen: 78 games, 39.3 minutes, 23.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.7 assists, 1.08 steals, 1.69 assists/to.
Those are some quality numbers Ray Allen threw up this year. Almost superstar numbers. Definitely numbers we do not want to lose. This is going to come down to money. There are whispers that we were within five million dollars of a deal during the season. There are few teams that can pay Ray more, and none that offer him the chance of winning it all that the Sonics do. Cleveland is the only possibility and they need a lot more than LeBron to be successful... they'll probably want Michael Redd first. Allen has publicly stated his intention of staying, and Ray isn't the stereotypical superstar. I believe him. Let's get it done. 70, 75 million is more than worth what he'll bring and won't break the bank in a Kobe way. First priority to resign.
Antonio Daniels: 75 games, 27.0 minutes, 11.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 4.1 assists, 3.96 assists/to
Our number two priority has to be Antonio Daniels, especially after his playoff performance. He is an underrated offensive player, takes a ton of abuse without complaining (well, not often). Doesn't flop like Ginobili. His jumper is flat as anything, his three point shot is downright ugly. However, he is pure glue, and the perfect counterpunch to Ridnour. We need this man. Unfortunately, I see him earning way more money elsewhere (like Derek Fisher and Rafer Alston). Fortunately, the point guard class in this draft is gigantic. I think most teams (like running backs in the NFL draft) will draft the talent instead of paying Daniels. I'm going out on a limb and saying we resign him. If not, we'll get a decent player in the second round (Jarret Jack).
Vladimer Radmanovic: 63 games, 29.5 minutes, 11.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg
If you've read this blog much, you'll know that I'm not a huge Vladimir Radmanovic fan. He finally started taking the ball to the darn basket this year, but was still a defensive liability and nothing on the boards (under five a game for a man his size). Radmanovic is still far too inconsistent as a player. I was hoping that he'd play himself into a huge contract elsewhere and we could give his minutes and money to someone else. However, with the injury there are going to be few teams investing in him. I look for him to reup with us on a two year deal and look for more money at that time. Remember, he is still pretty young. He can afford to wait.
Ronald Murray: 49 games, 18 minutes, 7.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.14 assist/to
That ratio says it all. We do not need this man back. His jumper needs a ton of work. He needs far too many shots to get into any kind of a groove. He takes it to the rim, but without the knowledge of Daniels. We can fill this roster slot with someone who also plays defense. Look for another team (Charlotte, New Orleans), to pick up Murray for the potential upside.
Mateen Cleeves: I agree with Colin. I don't care. He looked like a good guy to have on the bench. Gave us nothing. See ya.
Reggie Evans: 79 games, 23.8 minutes, 4.9 ppg, 9.3 rpg
I'm pretty darn torn on Evans. I love his aggressive play, his solid defense, the way he got into the heads of players like Brad Miller. However, he absolutely cannot finish after an offensive rebound and then misses at the free throw line. I think we can do better in the draft. Someone is going to overpay for those numbers. I like Ronny Turiaf or Ike Diogu as improved versions of what Evans gave us. I think he's gone.
Damien Wilkins
Wilkins' value isn't going to show up in season stats, so I'm not going to display them. He is the best defender we've had on the perimeter in forever (Colin said since Nate, and I would say Gary Payton in his prime). He can also hit the occasional three pointer and isn't afraid of taking it to the hole. He is raw but talented. Some of the defensive plays he made this season were highlight real stuff. I want him back after Daniels (third on my list). I think Nate and/or Casey will force Sund to give him a good offer. Wilkins is a restricted free agent so we can match any offer. I think we'll see what the market is, and match anything except the absurd.
Jerome James: 80 games, 16.6 minutes, 4.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg
These are stats over 80 games. Hopefully the Sonics don't fall for what happened against a lame Brad Miller in Sacramento. Jerome is not worth the money some team is going to shell out for him. Plus, he's starting to shoot his mouth off, which gets old pretty darn fast. It's time to see another team waste money on him, not us. We have Robert Swift for a reason. Still, if we can get him back for reasonable money, we should, just for that size he brings. I think he's gone.
Vitaly Potapenko
Our 12th man for much of the year was caught out of position for the final play in game six and let Tim Duncan lay it in. Potapenko should still be brought back at reduced cost to let Swift continue to grow. He'll give minutes, can execute the pick and roll, hit the long range jumper, and might even give more than 3.0 rebounds a game. We should give him a small contract and keep him around. We still play Shaq twice a year.

So Gavin's predictions for 2005 are as follows:
GM - Rick Sund
Coach - Duane Casey

Starting Lineup
PG - Luke Ridnour
SG - Ray Allen
F - Rashard Lewis
F - Nick Collison
C - Vitaly Potapenko

Antonio Daniels
Damien Wilkins
Vladimir Radmanovic
Robert Swift
Rookie Forward - Ike Diogu?
Danny Fortson
12th man

This is without the possibilities of trade or free agent signings. Fortson is a likely candidate to be traded (Kwame Brown?) while Stomile Swift is another option I know the Sonics like. As is, though, still a good club. Still have the ability to play three different kinds of offense, go big or small. I like that bench. The draft will be key.

posted by Gavin @ 2:48 PM  0 comments


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