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.