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!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Shat-lectrified?

ABC... please don't foist this crap on us. Shatner dancing? Show Me The Money is yet another slow step in the inevitable march down into darkness, and I'd prefer that our empire fall after I retire.

I thought since Colin did a great job going through the arguments surrounding the Hawks I'd throw in a few thoughts on the Sonics. You remember the Sonics, right? They're the team that's moving to the OKC shortly, all because our state legislators are morons. They can't build roads, they can't build stadiums. Frankly, I'm not sure what our governor does other than massage Boeings' feet so they don't threaten to move again.

I've actually been watching the Sonics because a) I'm single and b) I'm single. I don't necessarily see any way I would actually continue to view their games otherwise. But hey, this just gives the benefit of passing my wisdom on to you!

First, the good news. Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Chris Wilcox, and Luke Ridnour are serious ballers. Ray has already answered the question as to whether this season is a "drop-off" year... no. He gets to the basket effectively still, although I'm a little sick of how he holds the ball out like it's a fresh Christmas turkey. In one of the last games that ball just got taken out of his hand, like the turkey by a homeless drunkard. Rashard has added some rebounding prowess to his game, and I just love his all-around offensive game. He's definitely on his way to elite status. Wilcox needs work running the high pick and roll, but his rebounding has been a nice surprise, and his defense has been much better than the end of the season. Ridnour, of course, has been the most improved player on the team. The confidence in his jumper, or to drive the lane with that sweet hesitation dribble, or even to defend the opposing point guard without that stupid hack.

We then have four legitimate 20 point scorers each night on the court... not many teams can profess to have that kind of balance. Why then, are we so mediocre?

I don't think the problem is too difficult to pin down. Thankfully it's not coaching. Bob Hill has a set rotation and seems to move players in and out rather effectively. Unfortunately, the bench has been absolutely dreadful. Outside of Nick Collison (who should really be considered a starter instead of Johan Petro) we don't have a single player off the bench who can be counted on as a nice burst of energy, a change of pace scorer or a shut down defender. We have some HUGE disappointments on said bench.

It starts with Earl Watson, who was counted on to be our Antonio Daniels. Watson was billed as a plus defender, a smart passer, and a decent shooter. He has been none of these. Opposing guards have been able to get around him easily. He has been mainly responsible for many awful turnovers, as his dribble penetration is often to nowhere and he does one of those stupid jump passes to a covered Sonic, or in other words starts a fast break for the opposing team. His offense adds nothing. His 42% (I think... too lazy to look up to confirm) 3 point shooting percentage of a year ago is nowhere to be found. Heck, he can barely hit a lay-in.

Next up comes Damien Wilkins, who can't buy a bucket to save his life. I remember his rookie year when Wilkins was a dependable outside shooter, and stepped in admirably for Rashard Lewis. There's a reason other teams wanted him. He looked like a quality young player. I don't know where any of that went. He doesn't rebound well, his defensive intensity has fallen off. Basically, Wilkins plays like someone who got paid. I REALLY hate to do this, but I miss Flip Murray, back when Flip Murray was a backup shooting guard who only touched the ball when we wanted him to shoot, not to stand at the top of the key and go through repetitive dribbling drills for 24 seconds. Murray was a scorer, an ignitor. We don't have that with Wilkins.

This means the Sonics are a team that isn't able to get into a groove. If the Sonics don't start well, the bench can't make up ground. If the starters do get a lead, the bench quickly coughs it up. There's a reason that Ray/Rashard are the #1 scoring combination in the league right now... they need bench help. Until these players turn it around, we're going to continue playing a lot of teams close... and then seeing how it turns out in the end.

EDIT:

Props to Dr. D for reminding me about Vladimir Radmanovic. A stone cold 4th quarter shooter if there ever was one. No one could collapse the paint, cutting off dribble penetration when the Rad-Man was setting up for another three.

Also, I had forgotten about some Bob Hill hubris. We need legitimate outside scoring punch off the bench. We drafted one Denham Brown from Connecticut. UW fans might remember Brown. He sank the last second three that tied the game in March that UConn won in overtime, with significant help from the striped ones. Instead, Hill gained a man-crush on Kareem Rush, who was injured, and then on Desman Farmer, who can't even sniff playing time. I thought the drafting of Brown was a good salvage on the abysmal showing on draft night with Sene. Instead, this particular draft was a total bust. How good would Marcus Williams, for example, look in a Sonics uniform? Shame on Hill for not giving Brown a legitimate shot at making the roster.

posted by Gavin @ 7:54 PM  4 comments

4 Comments:

At 9:05 PM, Blogger DrDetecto said...

That one just riiipppppled the mesh from three.

Every word spot on.

Seems so yesterday, that the Sonics had guys FIGHTING for PT... remember Van Gundy (IIRC) asked about the Sonics' bench scoring and he said sourly, "I could bring Shaq off the bench and have great scoring. Their bench guys are starters."

And Shaq marveling after a home loss, "they are great shooters. Not good shooters, great shooters. In the fourth quarter, they had four shooters out there (Vlad, AD) and Danny Fortson."

Now they got four players and maybe Collison, and the rest they ought to just toss in and draw seven...

 
At 9:14 PM, Blogger Gavin said...

Shout out to the mad Doc.

I think we all underrated how effective that 2004 team was. A happy Radmanovic providing outside shooting (who I should DEFINITELY have mentioned in my post), a happy Murray, a happy Daniels. We had this insane rotation that could mix/match against whatever lineup the opposition could throw.

This year? A lot of players disappointing...

 
At 7:40 AM, Anonymous Matchmaker said...

Mr. Single,
I teach with a girl named Hillary in KZ. I think I should hook you two up. From all the things I can read on your sports blog, it sounds like you would be perfect for one another. Are you interested?

 
At 10:42 AM, Blogger Gavin said...

Alright... busted. This Hillary sounds like a neat girl. Maybe when she's not in the middle of Eurasia I can see her instead of watching the Sonics suck the life from me.

 

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