Wednesday, November 16

He's Misstra Know It All

Anyone have a good luck charm they can lend to Bob Weiss? We’re looking for something along the lines of lucky socks, scalp tonic, etc. Donations will be gladly forwarded to the Sonics’ front office.

As they say, if it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all, so you can’t say the Sonics don’t have any luck, it’s just of the wrong variety. Beyond luck, though, just what in the heck has happened to this team? I’m not as much of a numbers wiz as other folks on the internet, but here are a few bits I’ve noticed from last year as opposed to this:

1. Last year, Seattle outrebounded opponents by a margin of 41 to 38. This year, they’re losing the battle to the tune of 37 to 44, a cumulative difference of 7 boards. Collison’s extra minutes have come at the expense of Mr. Glass, and the erstwhile Jayhawk can’t match Evans’ ability in this department.

2. Defense, defense, defense. Opponents are hitting 50% of their shots, while the Sonics are converting barely 40%. Last year, the Sonics were at 44% to 46% for opponents. The 2.3 blocks per game is flat-out pathetic, and the return of the Potato isn’t going to make any difference, as he couldn’t block one of my shots, let alone someone over 6’6”. (As an aside, in case you read somewhere that the Sonics need more of Mac-10’s ball-stripping ways, know this: the Sonics are averaging more steals this year than last).

3. Folks, you can’t shoot 29% from beyond the arc, as Seattle has done this year, and expect to win many games. Ray Allen is the chief culprit, as his 28% mark from 3-point land is way off his 38% of the previous year. As a 40% career shooter from that part of the court, I’d expect Allen to eventually reverse this trend.

4. Hanging onto the ball. Seattle’s turnovers have skyrocketed from 14 per game a year ago to 17 now. Allen, Lewis, and Murray are chiefly to blame, while Ridnour has, surprisingly, held onto the ball better this year than last. I think the swap of AD for Murray can easily be held up as a good explanation. Add in also the emergence of Petro and Moore, two youngsters in the post who have trouble holding onto the ball (Moore averages a horrific 2 turnovers in his measly 11 minutes of action, which could explain why he doesn’t see more minutes).

So, will any of this change? I would venture that the Sonics will gradually hit more of their shots while their opponents fade from the aberrant 50% mark. Turnovers will likely even out. However, rebounding and shot blocking will not change in the foreseeable future. It is painfully obvious the Sonics miss Jerome James, something I never would have expected to type in this lifetime. Petro is too young, the Potato isn’t willing, and Moore isn’t strong enough. Unless the Sonics change their defensive style and go with more trapping, or else slow the ball down and limit possessions (a la Fratello or Van Gundy), Seattle will continue to score well and lose.


PN said...

Paul - I removed the Bob Weiss photo because I didn't want people to think I was referring to him with the message headline. Actually, I was trying to be self-deprecating (or, as my wife's boss once called it, "self-defecating").

Bonus points to the first person who can tell me where the headline comes from (minus points if you cheat and use google to get the answer).

Zach said...

I had a long conversation with my dad about this team, and I came to the conclusion that I'm happy with them. Of course I want them to win every game, but I'll be happy if at the end of this season I feel like the team has a clear direction about where it wants to go from here. In that sense, last year was almost a bad thing, because it artificially elevated expections (my own, for sure) and maybe got us a bit too attached to a few folks (Radmanovic, Fortson). I want to see Ridnour, Collison, Petro, Wilkins, even Swift playing major minutes because I know they'll be here for years and guys like Murray, Evans, and Radmanovic won't. If that costs us games in the short-term, so be it. It's not like a few years ago where I didn't think we had anyone to build around besides Rashard and maybe Vlad...there are legitimate reasons to be hopeful for the future.

I don't know whether Weiss is a part of that future, I tend to doubt it. I'm fairly certain that the ownership wants to turn this team over to Sikma in a year or two. If he inherits a team with Rashard in his prime, a still-effective Ray Allen, and more experienced versions of Ridnour, Collison, and Petro as the starting five, I've got no worries about that team's ability to compete.

Anonymous said...

Last night at least, I don't think you can argue that what we were missing was Jerome, at least not based on the stat line. Here's Johan's stats from last night versus Jerome's season average from last year:
Johan         Jerome
MIN:   23      16.6
FGM-A: 3-7    2.2-4.3
FTM-A: 0-0    0.6-0.8
OREB:  2      1
DREB:  3      2
REB:   5      3
AST:   0      .2
BLK:   0      1.4
TO:    1      1.1
PF:    4      3.5
PTS:   6      4.9

Johan got fewer fouls per minute, so he was able to stay in the game longer. He didn't get any blocks, but he was still changing shots out there (and for more minutes), and he rebounded better than JJ. And he runs the floor a hundred times better than JJ. Of course, that was just one game :)

But to me what we are really missing is AD. When Luke was getting wild (or dominated), AD was the solid combo guard that would come in and could run the offense while taking care of the ball -- and if need be, get some scoring going either with the midrange jumper or by going to the rack. He was the calm head that could come in when the momentum seemed to be shifting against us and put things right. That is precisely what we lack right now.

When things start to go south, who do we bring in? In the long term I like Damien as an energy guy who can step up the defense (sort of a Reuben Pattersen without the personal defects), but he is still getting there. We can bring in Radman and see if he is hitting the three, but his defense is horrible so we are taking a huge gamble there. If he's cold, not only is he wasting our opportunities at the offensive end, he is getting used on the other end of the court. We can bring in Da Fort, but if it isn't that 1 in 3 games in which he plays well, his test minutes kill us as certainly as Radmans do, with silly fouls at both ends of the court that either give away posessions, or give the other team free throws. I won't even discuss Flip.

Anonymous said...

Give that man a kewpie doll. Nice work, Lance, proving yet again why people who read supersonicsoul know their classic music.

A good point re AD. It's a combination of two factors, really; AD's quality play is half of what's missing, and the craptacular performance of the guys who replaced him is the other half.

Zach said...

The other name who we haven't mentioned much in these parts lately, but who might have something to do with our struggles, is Nate McMillan. I'm usually the first to dismiss coaching as important, but I think in this case part of what made last year's team work was the fact that Nate held everyone accountable. Clearly, that's been the problem with the whole Vlad situation. If Weiss had told Vlad either in private or publicly that if he wants more playing time he'd damn well better earn it, maybe Vlad would realize that the only way you make a coach play you is to play so damn well and hard that he can't take you off the court.

PN said...

Ray Allen is on pace for 50 points, Frodo is on pace for 20 assists ... and Mark Blount is on pace to hit 16 for 16. Okay, I'll calm down now.

It's early, but still, a lead is a lead, right?

Anonymous said...

i totally agree with what all of you guys said so far - in a nutshell, i'm pretty happy with the diretion the team is choosinbg to go right now even if it looses us some games in the meantime. i mean, rayray's still looking good, shard is entering into his prime, luke's looking pretty good so far, along with collison and petro. if they can improve, i'm sure they'll be very good players in the future. i mean, that's basketball - you have to look at the long run even though the basic goal is to win games now.

i honestly don't miss jj that much, since i think he'd be like radman if he didn't get what he wanted - whiny. and he's not as consistent as he'd like to think, so might as well try to develop our younger players and all. :P but AD, yeah, he's the big difference. and coach nate. :(

wheeeee! sonics won over boston 113 - 100, with luke going for a double double. :D sweeeeeeet!

chunkstyle23 said...

What's the deal with the Celtics wearing WHITE SHOES?! Next thing you know, they're replacing the old parquet with Pergo, the Yankees are stitching names on the backs of their jerseys, and the Steelers helmets sport logos on both sides...

Anonymous said...

Lets hope Mr Flip stays injured. That man is poison. The one thing you can see in the last two games is that we haven't had those momentum killing 5 minute stretches where Flip is in turning the ball over every possession.