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.
PN at 12:23 PM