Thursday, October 6


With training camp opening on Tuesday, the Sonics have a handful of players unfamiliar to most of us joining such stalwarts as Allen and Lewis. I’ll try to post some follow-ups as camp progesses to fill you on the rest of the unknowns:

OMAR THOMAS – 6’5”, SG, UTEP, 23 years old
Thomas is not much of a 3-point shooter, or at least he was discouraged from taking them at college. Born in Philly (he even went to the same high school as Flip Murray), Thomas overcame an incredibly difficult childhood that saw his father and two brothers imprisoned for murder. ... Averaged 20 points and nearly 7 boards per game for UTEP last year ... A strong player in the paint and a solid foul shooter, Thomas can draw fouls well for a smaller man. ... Thomas was a monster in junior college, averaging close to 35 points over the course of two seasons.

COMPARISON – Damien Wilkins, without as much D and better touch from the line. In fact, if Thomas can play any D at all, I’d rather have him than the Omen any day. It brings up an interesting side-point: How to college stats translate to the NBA? I think, to some degree, they do give us an impression of how a player will fare in the league. For example, at Georgia, Wilkins was a poor outside shooter who improved his foul shooting as his career wore on. In the NBA, Wilkins was/is a poor outside shooter who did very poorly at the line. His extended stats (e.g., steals, rebounds, etc.) also correlate somewhat from the college ranks.

That’s just a long-winded reason from me as to why the Sonics messed up in offering Wilkins a 5-year deal. Guys such as Wilkins – while talented – do not merit long-term deals, especially when there are Omar Thomases in every draft. Considering Wilkins will likely never start for the Sonics (unless Rashard Lewis is hit by a bus or leaves as a free agent), it seems foolish to me for Seattle to give him a long-term deal and thereby hinder their future financial flexibility.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for visiting the site. Say hi to Uwe Blab for us.

Anonymous said...

Not exactly a surprise, but the sonics picked up the options on Luke and Nick today.

What about Damien playing two guard and having Ray bring the ball up when Luke is out of the game? Maybe run cuts off Nick in the post and turn him into the original Vlade-dade?

I like Wilkins's D, if he can turn into a shutdown type defender - which I think he can, there must be a way to get him on the court. Especially with the lack of shotblocking this year, we need someone to lock down the perimeter.


Anonymous said...

Reggie Evans should start at power forward. Last year, at the four slot, it worked out well when Evans played the first half of each quater, while Nick Collison finished off the last half of each quarter. Danny Fortson (2005-2006: $6,415,584; 2006-2007: $6,919,091)*, on the other hand, should not be on the team; he and the $13,334,675 that he's slated to earn during the next two seasons ought to be immediately traded, if at all possible, to a team that's willing to give up an expiring contract.

At this moment, Damien Wilkins should be in Minnesota. There was no reason to overpay him (five years, $14.5 million) to play anywhere from 12-16 minutes a game backing up Rashard Lewis. Anyhow, in regards to Wilkins' ability, the only talent he has concerns his on-the-ball defense. Otherwise, aside from Wilkins' stellar skills concerning his defenseive prowess, he is a horrid shooter (FG: 43.5%; 3PT-FG: 27.1%; FT: 61.8%), a piss-poor ball-handler (assists to turnover ratio: 1.625 to 1), an inefficient player (+6.31 efficiency rating), and an all-around hinderance to the team (-11.7 +/- ranking).

In the end, though, the only two mistakes that Rick Sund made this off-season were that of re-signing Wilkins and slightly overpaying Vitaly Potapenko (two years, $6.315 million). Fortunately, however, the likes of Vladimir Radmanovic, Evans, and Ronald Murray, for whatever inexplicable reason, signed the qualifying offers that the team tendered them.


Anonymous said...

People keep citing Wilkins' Roland Rating as if it has meaning when it has very little, if any.

The vast majority of Wilkins' minutes came in the absence of Rashard Lewis and Vladimir Radmanovic because of injuries. Wilkins' rating is much more a reflection on their importance to the team than it is to Wilkins' ability.

If your reference point is Lewis and Radmanovic, no, Wilkins is not as good. If your reference is the already-departed Omar Thomas, that's a very different story altogether.

Anonymous said...

Ouch. Sorry, Omar, we hardly knew ye.

Anonymous said...

I happen to think that Wilkins numbers are skewed because he did not play a full season... Until that Portland game, he basically had no stats at all.

When I look at him while he plays, I think he really has game. He looks remarkably like his old man in the way he moves on the court, especially offensively (for those of you who don't know, we are talking about Gerald Wilkins here...)

Stats aside, I am anxious to see what he can bring to the table when he gets into any kind of set minutes or rotation...


Anonymous said...

Ronald "Flip" Murray should not see one minute at the point; Luke Ridnour, Rick Brunson, and Mateen Cleaves, unlike "Flip," are team players. The only thing "Flip" ought to do is provide a scoring punch when Ray Allen rests on the bench.

Alex Carnevale said...

You have to figure that Wilkins' offer sheet was not prohibitively expensive. Even if it's a relatively long-term, it's still a contract that will be tradeable.

John Hollinger makes an interesting point about Fortson's playing time in Forecast 2005-6. He says it's nuts to use the foul machine at the ends of corners when the Sonics opponent may be in the bonus. Therefore, Fortson should play at the beginnings of periods when his fouls won't hurt the team as much. Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Some nice insights there from both of you. In a way, both of you are right; using Fortson early in the quarter only hastens opposition bonus opportunities, while using him late means more opportunities after the bonus is on. What's the best use, then?

To me, Weiss has got to put blinders on when it comes to Da Fort. In a way it's somewhat like how I feel when I fill up my Buick. With a thirsty 3.8L engine, it's not doing me any favors at the pump these days. The only way to deal with it is to reconcile the high cost of refills with the enjoyment of using the car. Yes, Fortson will kill us by taking stupid fouls and getting the Sonics in foul trouble, but he will also provide a deterrent to smaller guys in the lane, and generally rev up the crowd and his teammates. Just like John Salley, Dennis Rodman, or any other banger, Fortson is full of pros and cons.