Friday, December 30
His Name is Earl
Tuesday, December 27
Late Christmas Present
Sonic Boom - Side One
Sonic Boom - Side Two
Tuesday, December 20
Danny Fortson's Secret Identity?
Danny Fortson: Power Forward or Power Ranger?
No wonder DaFort's such a bad ass—he's a freakin' Power Ranger!
Sonics Take Whiz
Antonio Daniels: OWNED!
From the PI:
Revenge wasn't the central theme of the Sonics' 111-101 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday night. This win was encouraging, as the Sonics used their poise to maintain a lead, and their emerging defense to get crucial stops.Read the rest here.
The Sonics are past the point where they are strictly motivated by revenge. They sought to snap a four-game home skid and collect their first back-to-back wins in two weeks.
All that aside, however, beating Washington, which celebrated its 137-96 victory over the Sonics on Nov. 11 as if it had won the Super Bowl, was definitely rewarding.
Seattle used a combined 54 points from Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen and some second-half scoring punch from Luke Rudnour to pull away in the final minutes.
Monday, December 19
Radman Not Leaving
According to this report from Frank Hughes in the TNT, Radman will not ask for a trade this season, despite his ever-decreasing minutes. Further, he'll veto any trade (as is his right in the CBA) the Sonics offer. This isn't all that surprising, but it does put the kibosh on the trade rumors we hear regarding the 6'10" enigma.
As a side note, you have to love this quote from David Bauman, Radman's agent.
"They saw last week that when they play him 31 minutes, they get 23 points. If they play him 15 minutes, they are going to get seven points. That is just how it works."
Funny, when Vlade played 33 minutes against the Cavs on Nov. 9th, he scored 12. And when he played 40 minutes against the Lakers on Nov. 24, he scored 13. And when he played 26 minutes against the Warriors one week ago, he scored all of 8 points. Nice try, Bauman, but we all know the truth is that Vlade's point totals are as reliable as a Seattle weather forecast.
Friday, December 16
1. MARC JACKSON:
“Starting today, players acquired over the summer can be dealt. [Marc] Jackson fits that criterion. The Nets are in the market for an athletic big man. They likely will pursue Stromile Swift, … and Reggie Evans, and perhaps Dan Gadzuric.”
Jackson is a uniquely talented big man who made the 1st team All-Rookie his first year out. Since then he’s bounced around the league a bit, but had arguably his finest season last year in Philly, averaging 12 points and 5 boards a game. In my mind, he’s really not that different from the Potato, except that he makes an extra $1.5 mil a year. I don’t expect the Sonics to pursue him, since the majority of his points come from the outside, and the Sonics already have enough soft big men who can’t score down low.
2. VLADIMIR RADMANOVIC:
“General Manager John Nash said in a perfect world the Blazers would be able to trade one of their small forwards for a power forward who can shoot, a player similar to Seattle's Vladimir Radmanovic.”
When you hear John Nash talk about trading a small forward, that’s code for Ruben Patterson. Obviously, the Sonics aren’t going after Ruben anytime soon, so that would mean the Blazers would be giving up someone along the lines of
Viktor Khryapa. I don’t like that move because, well, his name’s too hard to spell.
The season of unending pain continued last night, as the Rockets took advantage of Seattle's weak defense to shoot 56% from the field on their way to a 104-98 win. Pine-Sol Evans almost went for a double-double, but he was the lone bright spot as Ray Allen continues to miss shots at an alarming rate, Lewis scored less than 20 for the third consecutive game, and Seattle demonstrated a complete inability to defend the interior.
Want proof? Here's the combined FG mark for Juwann Howard, Stro Swift, Dikembe Mutombo, and Yao Ming: 20 for 29, or 69%. Folks, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that teams that allow opponents' big men to shoot 69% do not win very many games.
Tonight, the Sonics take on Nate and the Blazers in the Rose City. Luckily, the Blazers make the Sonics look like the Spurs, having won 2 of 10, and those two were against New Orleans (in OT) and the Hawks.
Looking for a crazy stat? The Blazers haven't scored 100 points in a game this season. Sonic opponents typically score 100 by the end of the third quarter. Something has to give!
Wednesday, December 14
Sexy Bob Weiss Photo of the Week
Monday, December 12
Artest a Sonic?
There is considerable speculation throughout the NBA regarding the future home of Ron Artest, much of it focusing upon New York. Of course, Sonic fans can't be blamed for wondering if the defensively-minded small forward wouldn't just be a tonic for all that ails us.
Obviously, the Sonics would have to part with a marquee player to get someone of Artest's caliber, and the only guy on the roster that fits is Rashard Lewis (Sugar Ray, of course, is beyond marquee and his salary is out of the Pacers' orbit). A straight Lewis for Artest deal doesn't work due to their disparate salaries, but a Artest-Anthony Johnson for Lewis-draft pick deal could work, or a 3-team deal (more likely, inasmuch as the Pacers would need to get a backup PG to replace Johnson). One other possiblity would be Artest and Austin Croshere for Lewis and Radmanovic, but that deal would have to wait until after the holidays when Radman's available to be traded.
Sadly, there's little possibilty of it happening. Artest apparently wants to return home to New York, and I can't imagine Howard Schultz pulling the trigger on a guy that makes Gary Payton look like Mateen Cleaves. Count me down as one vote in favor, though. As much as Artest's mental stability can affect his team, he's young, on the cheap (relatively speaking), can play defense and score. There's nobody on the Sonics that can reply yes to all of those categories, and he would instantly make the Sonics a better defensive team. Add in a shot-blocking center and the Sonics actually could be tough in the playoffs.
Wednesday, December 7
That's Clean, Baby
After Tuesday night's Lunancy in the Lavatory, Evans came, well, clean regarding how he felt he did on the drug test.
"I've been clean since I've been in the league, I've been clean since I've been in college, I've been clean since I've been in high school, middle school, elementary school," Evans said. "I'm just cleaner than clean. I'm cleaner than Pine-Sol."
Forget Mr. Glass, The Collector, and all those other nicknames. Henceforth, I will only refer to Reggie Evans as "Pine-Sol."
Nertz! Sonics get Knicked, 104-101
SEATTLE (AP) -- Jamal Crawford has learned the secret to homecomings: Don't rush.
Back in his hometown, Crawford scored all of his season-high 31 points in the second half, and the New York Knicks rallied for a 104-101 win over the Seattle SuperSonics on Tuesday night.
Read the rest here.
Tuesday, December 6
Game Night: Knicks
The reason I bring this up is the utter disappearance from Seattle newspapers of the “Sonic defense stinks” story during the course of the recent 3-game winning streak. You would think from reading the pieces in the paper that – after about a week of stories regarding the woeful state of Seattle’s defense this year – that Weiss & Co. had resolved that irritating problem.
Well, yes and no. Prior to the win streak, I wrote a piece claiming that by allowing opponents to shoot 49% the Sonics had no chance at winning. Want to know what the Sonics have allowed during the past 3 games?
And now the yes. What I also noticed was how the Sonics have improved their perimeter defense. In the 3 losses before the win streak, opponents shot 20 for 41 from 3-point range, nearly 50%, a ridiculously high number. In the 3 wins, that has dropped to 20 for 61, a more normal 33%. Is it luck? Is it the law of averages? Is it improved defense? I have no idea, but it makes a heck of a big difference when the other team hits only 33% beyond the arc. 50% of 20 3’s is 30 points, a nine-point difference over 33%. That nine points is the difference – as Pacino’s character says in Any Given Sunday – between winning and losing, between living and dying.
Anyway, the Sonics play the Knicks tonight. In addition to being Retro Night, it’s also Hefty Bag night, so bring your garbage ban and waive it in support of Jerome James. The Knicks are also rumored to be in the Kevin Garnett sweepstakes, prompting one “ESPN Insider” to bet that he’d be in MSG by February. An interesting thought, especially considering the glut of bad moves that Isaiah Thomas has made in his career.
In any event, the Knicks have rebounded from their atrocious 2-7 start, going 3-4 in their past 7 games. Still, New York is all of 2-8 on the road this year, and I can’t expect they’ll add to that win column tonight.
The Knicks play a slow-down type game, as indicated by their 93 points a game and opponent FG% of less than 45. They also like to pound the ball inside (59% of their shots come off of jumpers, compared to 72% for Seattle), which could pose a problem with Seattle’s poor interior defenders. Take special note of rookie Channing Frye, the guy I said the Sonics should stay a country mile away from, who is now a candidate for Rookie of the Year (do I know my draft picks or what?). Frye’s +/- on the season is an astounding +23.5 and he has proven to be adept scorer and, surprise, rebounder.
However, with Seattle’s recent run of improved energy, I like the Sonics’ chances. Best of all, Da Fort is apparently healthy enough to go, which means there’s gonna be some rumblin’ going on.
Here’s my guess: Sonics 98 – Knicks 87.
Monday, December 5
Following A Little Too Closely in Ellis' Footsteps
...Or should we say, "Ellis' Tiretracks?" Photo cribbed from the Seattle Times.
Less than two weeks after he passed Dale Ellis on the all-time Sonics 3-pointers list, Rashard Lewis seems poised to mimic his predecessor's spotty legal history as well.
Late Monday came the news that Shard was charged for driving under the influence, two months (?) after getting pulled over on I-90 and hitting 0.132 on the Breathalyzer.
Longtime Sonics fans will be forgiven for feeling some deja vu. The Quiet Man's incident no doubt stirred up echoes of the original Silent Assassin wrecking his Benz and breaking some ribs while driving drunk way back in 1990. This is before Dale further sullied his image with, among other things, a much-publicized domestic dispute with his wife and an ugly legal battle with his neighbors. Dale Ellis, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come? Let's hope not...
Cynical types might now wonder if Lewis' recent charity event was a pre-emptive public relations move. If that's the case, hey, so what. At least he's done one smart thing since doing a very, very dumb and potentially life-threatening thing.
We tend to focus on the non-serious around here at the 'Soul, but I truly, sincerely hope to God that Number 7 takes a much different path from Ol' Number 3. Thankfully he's still young and has time to make up for such a boneheaded stunt.
Nothing but 'Net
Ray Allen – In a word, frightening. Many things come to mind when I think of the Sonics’ shooting guard, but K-9 defense is not one of them.
Bob Weiss – Apparently, Mr. Weiss is even more qualified to deal with Danny Fortson than we previously believed.
Robert Swift – I’m not entirely sure, but I’m guessing this could be young Bobby’s dad’s site. That, or Bob has made the best of his (considerable) time on the bench the past two years.
Surprisingly, no one else on the roster has anything affiliated to their names. Even such luminaries as Luke Ridnour and Rashard Lewis are shut out. What the heck are the agents for these guys doing? After all, if this guy can have a site, why can’t Ray Allen? And why the heck does this loser get a site, when Danny Fortson doesn’t?
I tell ya, it just don’t make no sense.
Sonics Punk Pacers, 107-102
Petro and the Potty-Man never left the bench as forwards Nick "Caveman" Collison and Danny "DaFunk" Fortson manned the middle. Flip Murray had another strong game, scoring 18 points off the bench to help the Sonics win their third in a row.
Could this mean the team we know and love from last season is finally back? Stay tuned.
Friday, December 2
Get Your Daily Recommended Dosage of Alley-Oops
The ending will absolutely make you soil your drawers. I'm talking to you, Paul.
Warning: May contain filthy dunks and sick blocks unsuitable for young children, the frail, and the terminally un-funky. I'm talking to you, Vin Baker.
Thanks to K-Chung for the heads up.
Shard's Truckload of Love!
Dec. 3, 2-4 p.m.: Truck Load Of Love. Join Sonics All-Star forward Rashard Lewis at Bill Pierre Ford as he attempts to fill three F-150 trucks with canned goods and monetary donations benefiting Northwest Harvest. With each donation of $10 or 10 food items, fans will receive an autographed photo of Lewis. A $20 donation or 20 food items will also receive Seattle Sonics game tickets while supplies last.An autographed photo of Shard and two tickets to a game for twenty bucks? That's a bargain, my friends, and it's for a good cause as well. Of course, whenever I see a big celebrity doing an event like this, I can't help but think of the Mr. Show skit where Bob explains to David that "charity is giving while other people are watching". Yes folks, even Christmas© can't dampen my cynicism!
Thursday, December 1
The Results Are In ...
The nasty numbers? Fully 83% of the people who bothered to click on their mouse (mice?) claimed they disapproved of Weiss' job so far. Goodness, if he keeps this up, he'll have to declare war on Bellevue in order to stay in power.
Wednesday, November 30
Sonics Skin Cats, 104-94
SEATTLE (AP) -- Ray Allen scored 32 points and Rashard Lewis had 27 points and 10 rebounds to help the Seattle SuperSonics break a three-game losing streak with a 104-94 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.
Lewis was strong in the first half, scoring 18 points, and then turned it over to Allen, who had 20 in the second half.
Statistically the worst defensive team in the league -- Seattle was allowing 105.4 points per game -- the SuperSonics spent the last two practices focusing on defense. It showed, as Seattle held the Bobcats to 44 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers. Teams were shooting 48.6 percent against Seattle, next to last in the league.
Game Night: Bobcats
Of note for Charlotte, both Melvin Ely and Primoz Brezec have played well in their last two outings, which should strike fear into the hearts of Sonic fans, as both guys will need to be stopped by big defenders - something MIA in Seattle this season.
Oh, and this is worth a laugh: According to the Bobcats' website, tonight's game "will be a battle between two teams known for their hustle on the defensive end." Um, yeah, if by "hustle" you mean "complete inability to stop the fellow with the ball."
INJURY REPORT - Rick Brunson (OUT), Danny Fortson (QUESTIONABLE), Jumaine Jones (DOUBTFUL), Sean May (QUESTIONABLE), Sonic Defense (GAME-TIME DECISION).
SPREAD - Sonics by 6
NOTES - Gerald Wallace, a guy that more than one of our readers pointed out as a viable Sonic free agent target, is having the best year of his career. After a few seasons in Sacto, Wallace has exploded for nearly 18 points a game, as well as 2.5 steals. Wallace, however, is having trouble hitting 3's on the road. He's at 43% at home, only 17% away.
Tuesday, November 29
Like most of you, I have been puzzled as to what has caused the drop-off from last year’s glorious springtime dash to this year’s plodding jog. I won’t go into all of them at this point, but here’s the first of a few-part series on Why The Sonics Are Struggling.
1. Opposition FG%/Defense. You simply cannot let opponents shoot 49% and expect to win. Only the Raptors have a greater FG% disparity than the Sonics’ 5.5% (compare to last season’s -1.5% difference). Obviously, when you get outscored by more than seven points a game you won’t win very often, yet that’s exactly where the Sonics stand, a full 10 points behind last year’s +2.5 ppg advantage.
The question jumps out at you, why are opponents so successful against Seattle’s defense this year? After all, the offense is scoring only a point below last year’s pace, so it’s not as though Seattle is running a Phoenix-style offense that generates more opposition points merely via increased possessions.
Of course, the first item of business is one Antonio Daniels. AD averaged 27 minutes per game last year, 27 minutes of strong defense and ball-control offense. AD’s minutes have been divided up, as best as I can figure, among Ridnour, Murray, Cleaves, and Wilkins.
Obviously, it’s more complicated than that, with different rotations and so forth, but the reality is that those three guys are replacing AD on the court. What does that mean, though? For one, none of those three can shoot worth a damn, or at least they have yet to this year. Both Ridnour and Wilkins have been horrific this year, shooting below 35%, which means more fast break opportunities for opponents since the majority of their shots come from the outside. Murray’s deficiencies have been outlined all over the web, but the Omen can’t be spared the rod, either, as his stats look almost as bad. Add in Ridnour’s long-bemoaned inadequacies at defense, and you’ve got three guys with horrible defensive stats and one guy, Cleaves, who will always need help on switches. Add in the usefulness of AD in this very area (he can guard PGs, SGs and SFs) and you’ve got a hidden area that is continually hurting Seattle.
And, yet, the departure of Daniels masks another area – the poor performance of the big men. A quick look at this site reveals that the position that is killing the Sonics is center. In fact, to make things easier, here is how the scoring differential breaks down by position.
PG – (-1.5) 2004-05 (-4.4) 2005-06 Difference: -2.9
SG – (+6.5) 2004-05 (+8.5) 2005-06 Difference: +2
SF – (+2.5) 2004-05 (-0.2) 2005-06 Difference: -2.7
PF – (-4.2) 2004-05 (-4.9) 2005-06 Difference: -0.7
C – (-0.9) 2004-05 (-6.5) 2005-06 Difference: -5.6
If you look at the PER (a complicated rating formula devised by John Hollinger), it becomes even more obvious that power forward and center are the twin Achilles’ heels of the Sonics this year on defense. To further illustrate, here are the worst offenders when we compute how many points the Sonics’ defense allows per 48 minutes with them or without them.
Danny Fortson, 124 on-court, 116 off
Mikki Moore, 148 on-court, 116 off
Damien Wilkins, 123 on-court, 115 off
Flip Murray, 133 on-court, 113 off
Moore’s stats are skewed by the fact he’s only played a few minutes, but the other three are all culpable. It’s surprising, though, that Wilkins makes the list, in that he’s supposed to be some kind of defensive stopper. Looking deeper into the stats, you can see it doesn’t matter if Wilkins is at the 2 or 3, he’s getting beat either way. Likewise, Murray stinks at PG and SG, although he stinks less at SG, for whatever that’s worth.
The bottom line is the Sonics are getting killed at center and their point guard can’t defend a team of girl scouts. Ridnour is a fixture and we’re going to have to live with him. At center, though, it seems to me the best alternative is to start the Potato. His offense has been spotty at best this year, but I’m convinced that if the Sonics get him a solid 25-30 minutes a night, he can help offensively while providing more than adequate help on defense. As Weiss alludes to in a great article on supersonics.com, guard penetration is hurting the Sonics, and one Jerome James would be a welcome addition. Weiss’ hope is that Petro and Swift can keep guys from scoring in the paint, and that an improved attention to team defense will be a tonic. My concern is that if these guys haven’t figured it out a fifth of the way through the season, exactly how much time do they need?
Monday, November 28
Unfortunately for Sonic fans, the month of December beckons, with a schedule from hell. Among Seattle's opponents at holiday time: Dallas, San Antonio, Denver, Phoenix, Philly, and Utah (twice). Think 5-8 looks bad? Try imagining what the record will look like after Christmas.
At least this recent spate of miserable losses (culminating with Saturday's defeat to the Homeless Hornets) has provided us with the first nomination for Quote of the Year, coming from the unlikely Mikki Moore. To wit:
"We need to stop [freaking] babying some of these [guys] and start being real with them."
Thanks, Mik. Of course, it would mean a heckuva lot more coming from a guy whose season-high in points was more than 3.
Friday, November 25
Sonics Get Stuffed
Well, just one. Ray Allen got his turkey carved last night by Bryant, a fact that undoubtably pleased the Lakers' star to no end. Whether on offense (making 3's as if he was an old white guy at the gym draining free throws), or on defense (holding Sugar Ray scoreless in the 2nd and 3rd quarters), Kobe was the difference.
For the Sonics, Mateen Cleaves continued to post impressive numbers. Excluding Rick Brunson (who has only appeared in limited minutes), Cleaves now ranks as the 4th-best on the club in +/-, trailing only Lewis, Collison, and Allen.
Also of note, Radman got some serious PT last night; 40 minutes to be exact. Of course, he only got the minutes because of Collison's foul trouble, but still, at least it keeps Vlade's agent off Bob Weiss' back for a couple of days.
Wednesday, November 23
Too Much Jazz
The Sonics made a game of it after falling behind 61-44 in the third quarter - a methodology that is growing thin despite the recent spate of victories.
Bright spots? Sugar Ray and Rashard, naturally. Not much else, although Cleaves managed nine points in only 13 minutes.
Sour notes? Let's see, Da Fort managed 3 fouls, 3 turnovers, 1 board, no points in four minutes. The Center by Committee showed up late for the meeting, it appears, as Petro and the Potato (isn't that a show on PBS?) combined for 2 points and 1 rebound. Folks, when I'm using the singular to recount our center's rebounding totals we may be in trouble.
The good news is the Sonics are playing on Thanksgiving against the woeful Lakers. So far this season the Lakers have beaten Denver (twice), Atlanta, and the Knicks - and nobody else. Let's see ... national t.v., Kobe, Ray Allen, crappy Laker team - I'm guessing the over/under on Kobe's FGA around 37. Any takers?
Sunday, November 20
Clutch! Sonics Crown Kings, 106-104
In a brilliant move, Sonics coach Bob Weiss started King killer Danny Fortson at center, who took Peja Stojakovic out of the game in the second half with a slap so hard it was audible from the other end of the court. Danny, you so cRaZy!
The Sonics were also helped by stellar play from Nick "Caveman" Collison, who hit a clutch 15-footer late in the game, and Vlad the Rad, who finally cut his rat-tail, stopped whining and played like the potential all-star we've been hoping for.
Drink up, Sonics fans—the boys are back in town!
Friday, November 18
Sonics Blast Bulls 98-84
Seattle came back from 11 down at halftime to beat Chicago 98-84 Friday night at Key Arena. Ray Allen scored 20 in the second half to help the Supes claw back from the dead and win this one going away. Allen and Rashard Lewis both scored 27 points apiece to lead the team.
The Sonics, who had allowed their last five opponents to score over 100 points, finally played some defense with solid efforts from Petro-Power (4 blocks in 24 minutes) and Mateen Cleaves, while limiting the Bulls to 38 percent shooting from the field.
The Sonics started slow, but ended the game looking like the dominant force from last year. Hopefully, the season will play out that way as well.
Thursday, November 17
Sonics Stop the Celts (and the Bleeding)
Ray Allen bounced back from one of the worst games of his career Tuesday to lead the Sonics with 32 points. Rashard Lewis had five steals (!) to go along with his 22 points, and Nick Collison is quickly making everyone forget poor Reggie Evans by grabbing 13 boards and scoring 19 points.
With the brutal road trip (six games in eight nights) behind them, the Sonics return to Seattle for three home games with the division lead easily within their reach. It looks like the team might be starting to turn things around, and just in time too—I was about to turn this site into a Smallville blog!
Wednesday, November 16
He's Misstra Know It All
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.
Tuesday, November 15
Game Night: Net Nation
Yes, Pearl Washington, it's true, New Jersey will no longer have a team. Of course, tonight's game between two teams that were considered to be two legit playoff teams has turned into a miasma befitting the garden state. For the love of Tony Soprano, will somebody put these two clubs out of their misery?
Sunday, November 13
- Lewis was obviously the star today, scoring 41 points, but check out the free throws: 14-16! Does this mean Shard is finally going to be more aggressive and start playing with some passion, or is it just another Derrick McKey-like tease? Only time will tell.
- After being benched for two games, Petro Power not only started, but had his best NBA game so far, grabbing 10 boards in 38 minutes. Nice job, Le Pew!
- Look who didn't suck today: Flip Murray! 15 points in 29 minutes is exactly the kind of performance we need from Flipper. (Of course, he had three turnovers, but hey, Ray-Ray had six and you don't hear me squawking!)
- Look who barely played: (Not so) Radman! Despite the extra quarter, the rat-tailed one only played 13 minutes. Guess who's going to be bitching to his agent tonight?
(P.S. It's been brought to my attention that I forgot to mention Nick "Caveman" Collison's excellent game (20pts, 10 boards). As usual, Ni-Co's no-frills brilliance flew under my radar—sorry Nick!)
Thursday, November 10
Fire the Coach. This is always a popular choice, especially in this case when the coach isn't a Sonics legend like his predecessor. While it's true that Coach Slate has looked a bit like Joe Rockhead in the first few games, Mac-10, Larry Brown, and even Phil Jackson haven't gotten off to great starts with their new teams, either. It takes a while for teams to adjust to a new system, so it's a little early to pass judgment on the coach. I'll give him two weeks.
Trade the Players. Are you sick of seeing Flip "The Human Turnover" Murray dribble the ball out of bounds while Ray Allen stands unguarded two feet away? Tired of hearing Vlad "Not-So-Rad,Man" whine about minutes while shooting worse than Reggie Evans? Are you ranting on sports boards across the Internet about how we should trade these bums? Well, you can stop ranting, because these guys are going nowhere. Due to the recently signed CBA, Vlad, Evans, and Flip cannot be traded due to their one-year contracts. Which means, unless you want to trade Ray or Rashard, we're basically stuck with the crew we've got.
Give Up All Hope. This is the method I usually resort to when dealing with early-season suckitude. It's still a little early to flush this one down the tubes, though. Any team with Ray Allen has a chance. Does he need help? Of course. Could the coaching be better? Yes. Would playing some defense help? Duh. Obviously, there are a lot of things this team needs to improve if they want a shot at the playoffs. Luckily, it's a long season, and there's still time to fix the ship.
Wednesday, November 9
Game Night - Cavalier Attitude
Tuesday, November 8
GAME NIGHT - Grizzly
With the departure of Stromile Swift to Houston, the only remaining piece of Vancouver Grizzlies’ basketball has left the franchise. Yes, there are remnants of Vancouver scattered throughout the league – a Bibby here, an Abdur-Rahim there – but they left the franchise long ago. Stro was the last link to a dismal franchise, and now even he has left the ship.
I suppose I may be the only person bemoaning Stromile Swift’s presence – or, rather, the lack thereof – on Memphis’ roster. In our world, we quickly move from what was to what is, and, besides, nostalgia is a vain emotion at best.
Still, I miss the Grizzlies. In a way, rooting for the Grizzlies in Vancouver was like rooting for the Mariners in the 1980s – another fruitless passion of mine. Neither team rewarded us with many victories, but there was something to be said for staying with your team despite the ridicule you faced from other, much-wiser fans (in fact, if you replace the Seahawks with the Canucks, you’d get a pretty good picture of what it was like). Just as I vividly remember being mocked for rooting for Phil Bradley and Mike Moore, I just as vividly remember the joy in seeing Shareef post another 20-10 game, or Big Country putting on his bi-monthly displays of skill.
In any event, the Sonics play the Grizzlies tonight in Memphis. Somewhere, Grant Long and Cherokee Parks are watching.
SPREAD: Grizzlies by 4 1/2
The Griz turned in a good-ol’ fashioned barn-burner the other night against the Cavs, winning 113-106 behind 29 from Sr. Gasol. Like Seattle, Memphis will be spending much of the next two weeks on the road, so they’ve got high motivation to grab a win here. That said, the Sonics played well against the Griz last year, taking both games in Memphis. Add in the Grizzlies’ weak rebounding and the Sonics’ strong showing in that department, and you’re looking at what could be a very winnable game for Seattle.
PICK: Seattle 102 – Grizzlies 96
PETE’S RECORD: 0-1
Monday, November 7
- Through 2 games, Ray Allen is, quite obviously, the greatest player in Sonic history through 2 games. How much does he help the Sonics' offense? Well, Seattle is averaging 40 fewer points per 48 minutes with him wearing a warmup jackup than without.
- The Sonics are holding opponent 2 guards to 7 points a game.
- Flip Murray's stats are so bad, it makes me wish for Jon Sundvold.
- Did you know? Danny Fortson leads the NBA in fouls/game.
Other important tidbits gleaned from other sources: Mateen Cleaves has replaced Flip Murray in the rotation, at least temporarily. It appears he will join the Omen in a high-energy "spark off the bench" type thing. Thank you, Mr. Flint ... Rick Brunson is on the inactive list with a sore left foot he reinjured in the Clipper game. Not known if he'll play against the Grizzlies on Tuesday night.
Friday, November 4
Vote for Petro!
I heard some guy call in to D-Locke's show after the opener, saying "Vote for Petro" as he hung up. Brilliant! I don't know if he came up with it, or if I'm just late to the party, but regardless the Johan Petro for Less Pine Time campaign should be in full swing by now.
The rook showed some surprising grit to go along with the expected jitters vs. the Clips. For every time he finished nicely around the rim, just as often he'd get stuffed or swarmed before he could even move. Stranger still, the short-in-the-tooth rookie had more poise than his comparatively walrus-like substitute, Danny Fortson. In 12 minutes, Petro had 8 points on 3-of-5 shooting, 5 boards, a block, 3 fouls, and sure, 3 turnovers.
Meanwhile, Fortson in his 7-odd minutes had only the "Personal Fouls" column filled in his line, with five. Granted, there may be nights when you can swap those Petro stats for Fortson's, but good ol' Fort can always fall back on his league-leading "Boneheaded Momentum-Deflating Play" figures.
One night is not going to get Petro anointed the savior. But he performed well enough to warrant extended play. Steal time from Reggie, who after some quick buckets in the first quarter decided he was the first option on offense. Take time from Danny. Shoot, team the kid up with Vitaly for a Petro-Potato twin tower thing. (Mmm, French-fried Potatapenkos).
I'm ready to believe Petro could be solid for this team. The fact that he did some goofy poppin' and lockin' for his silhouetted pre-game intro was reason enough for me. But if you need more convincing, the reviews in the Times, Tribune and P-I have been positive--not glowing, mind you--but nevertheless favorable.
So Mr. Sonics Post Game Caller, please save me a spot on the "Vote for Petro" campaign bandwagon. Before all the deserters from The Bob Swift Veterans for Truth pile on...
Wednesday, November 2
Fortson Flips, Sonics Get Clipped
It started out so promising, with Johan Petro looking like the second coming of Hakeem and Reggie Evans scoring six points (!) in the first quarter. Then, reality came crashing down like David Thompson at a disco. The Sonics suddenly remembered to forget how to play defense and let the Clippers score over 100 points (!!), losing 101-93.
Despite a complete lack of "D" most of the night, the Sonics tied the score late in the game. In the end, though, three things sealed the Supes' doom:
1) Sam Cassel hit three 3-pointers in the final five minutes.
2) Danny Fortson had five fouls in eight minutes.
3) Flip Murray still thinks he can dribble.
Let the grumbing begin . . .
Game Night # 1 - The Clips (again)
As always, Elton Brand will be the key for Seattle’s defense. They held the big fella to less than 20 ppg last year, but with no JJ around, and the Potato possibly MIA, it will be up to the mish-mash of 4s and 5s to do the job tonight.
As a year ago, the Sonics are favored to win. It doesn’t take a genius to see the Clippers are not a legitimate player in the west and the Sonics are. Of course, the Hornets had no chance in their home opener, either, so there you go. In any event, here’s the scoop:
SPREAD – Sonics by 6
OVER/UNDER – 194
PETE’S PICK: Seattle 100 – Clippers 88
Incoherent on Opening Night
I thought it was considerate of them to put a nice big picture of Ray on the tickets, for us po' folks in the upper, upper bowl.
Is it 7 o' clock yet? And whose dumb idea was this whole "Spring Forward/Fall Back" thing anyway? Stupid Pacific Standard Time, making me wait another 5+ hours until ZHO-han Pet-trow steps into the halfcourt circle for the tip...
At any rate, Supersonicsoul will be there in
But enough with my retarded monkeytypings already--I'm sure Mr. Nussbaum is crafting another one of his patented Game Night previews as we speak. Admittedly, prognos... prognosti... prognostification is not my strong suit. Nor is word talking. Thank goodness I can yell and act a fool at sporting events, or I'd be completely useless to this crew.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go warm up: "GO! ...SONICS! GO! ...SONICS!"
I jab you with the left
and swing a hook without the phonics
--DAS EFX, "Underground Rappa"
Tuesday, November 1
The prediction season is upon us, so let the indignation begin.
You say my team can’t win its division? You’re an imbecile. You say my favorite player can’t defend the pick and roll and shrinks in the clutch? Well, you can’t possibly have watched as many of his games as I have.
In all honesty, none of us know what to expect. If the weatherman on my television set can’t even predict what it will do tomorrow with any semblance of accuracy, how can we expect any more when predicting the behavior of 300-odd professional athletes? After all, look only at my prediction last season of the Sonics finishing so far in the basement they would need a sump-pump to see playoffs.
This year, though? Cautious optimism is my way of thinking. Lewis and Allen are still in their peaks, Ridnour and Collison are on the way up, the Omen looks good, and Frenchie may have some skills after all.
Of course, lest we forget, our starting center is apparently physically incapable of stringing together two consecutive healthy months, our starting power forward couldn’t hit two consecutive jump shots if his mother’s life depended upon it, and our backup power foward is as likely to score 2 points as he is to score 22.
Still, the NW Division is a shoddy one. Denver is this year’s trendy pick, but I fail to see how Camby, Melo, and K-Mart will be healthy for 82 games, and the George Karl milk carton is rapidly approaching its “Best By” date. The T-Wolves have a rookie coach and a suspect backcourt. Oh, and their center is Michael Olowokandi.
Utah is supposedly better, but the jury is still out. I’ll like them better with 82 games of AK-47. Funnily enough, the Blazers seem like a reasonably good team to me. If Nate can get the young fellows to keep their heads about them when the inevitable losing streaks pop up, they could approach .500.
But enough of the prelude. Where will the Sonics see themselves this spring? I’ll be honest, I like the Potato. I don’t like Mr. Glass. I’m ambivalent about Radman. I think Collison could average double-figures in the right situation this year. I think Rashard will get 20+. Sugar Ray will be Sugar Ray. And Ridnour is plenty good enough.
Mark it down as 48 wins, first in the NW, and the 2nd round of the playoffs.
Sunday, October 30
Friday, October 28
The Third Man
"I'm looking for a lot more balance. We need a consistent third scorer." (courtesy Seattle Times)
With less than a week to go before the start of the regular season, this isn’t the sort of quote you’d hope to hear from a team that expects to contend for the upper half of the playoffs. Even more telling, it comes a big slap in the face to one Vladimir Radmanovic, the guy who wanted $50 million, settled for $3 million, and now hopes to prove this season that he’s worth more than $50 million. Got all that? Well, here’s how the $50 million man has done, game-by-game, in the preseason:
16 min., 6 pts, 1/5 from field
17 min., 10 pts, 2/7
22 min., 8 pts., 2/5
21 min., 5 pts, 2/6
32 min., 2 pts, 1/6
19 min., 1 pt, 0/3
In a total of 127 minutes, Radman has scored the grand total of 32 points. Folks, that’s 10 points per 40 minutes, a ridiculously bad average for a guy whose function is to score.
Is it rustiness? Not likely, considering Radman spent the summer losing the European championships. Is he tired? Possibly, but he’s not going to get a chance to rest until spring, so that doesn’t do us any good, either.
No, I think Weiss is right. Radman is a maddeningly frustating player, capable of scoring 25 in 29 minutes on Tuesday, and following it up with 5 points on 2 of 12 shooting the next. Let’s all pray the good Radman decides to show up in at least 60% of Seattle’s games this year.
Tuesday, October 25
Green and Gold Tonight
Have any plans tonight? The Sonics are having their annual Green and Gold Scrimmage in Kenmore this evening. Chunk is out of town, Nussbaum is in Canada, and I'm working overtime for The Plumber this week, so we call on you, our loyal Supersonic Souljahs, to grab your digital camera and head over to the eastside tonight to give us the full scoop. If we use your story and pictures, we'll send you an official Supersonicsoul T-Shirt. Don't worry—I'll tape "My Name is Earl" for you.
Monday, October 24
Hey kids, Halloween is inching closer, and if you haven’t grabbed your costume yet and you’re hoping to infuse your evening with green and gold, look no further!
Herewith our recommendations for the Top 5 Sonic Halloween Outfits:
1. The Danny Fortson
If you’re in the need of the costume that delivers the goods, go with Da Fort! With the way Da Fort grabs rebounds, you can only imagine how fast he can grab a Tootsie Roll! Comes with hair extensions, stomach pouch, and “rump filler.”
2. The Shawn Kemp
Nothing says b-a-d like a loaded pistol and a bag of mysterious substances. You can trick AND treat with this great costume! Plus, ask some neighbourhood kids to come with you and you’ve got your own “Kemp family posse!” Optional “rump filler” included with “Orlando Shawn” outfit.
3. The Michael Cage
There are good Halloween looks and then there are great Halloween looks. Your costume will come with a 26-oz. container of “Soul Glow” hair gel, shoulder enhancers, and lime green leisure suit. If that kid in front of you at Mrs. Johnson’s house thinks he’s getting those Kit-Kats, he better come correct, or not at all.
4. The George Karl
Finding that you’ve been struggling through the first half of your candy collecting evening? Then fire your underperforming costume and get The George Karl! Comes with imitation moustache scar, mock turtleneck, and 4-page booklet “Getting Candy the Karl Way.” Bob Kloppenburg puppet optional. Please note that costume will begin to fall apart in 2nd and 3rd year of use.
5. The Frank Brickowski
Sometimes, you’ve got to want the candy more than the other kids. With the “Brick” costume, you’ll be ready to roll to the corner of the door frame. Comes with “Pushing for Pop Rocks” booklet and faux flat top hair cut.
Friday, October 21
With 4 pre-season games left (including tonight in Phoenix), the situation will have to be cleared up within a week. Noel Felix will most likely be given his papers sometime soon, but at least one of the CleScaBrun will have to go as well, and Weiss and Co. are certainly playing it close to the vest.
Thursday, October 20
"You still wear a suit, you still could be a crook. You see all what happened with Enron and Martha Stewart. Just because you dress a certain way doesn't mean you're that way."
Look, Stern's right in that his employees are scaring a certain percentage of his customers by wearing the clothes and accessories they wear. In that same token, however, those same employees are attracting a far greater number of new fans. Furthermore, the NBA has had no problem backing advertisements, in print and on television, that accentuate the "playa" image he now seems to detest. Do I even need to mention the "street ball" games-within-a-game that permeate every NBA video game sold?
I'm sorry, but there is only one word to describe what Stern has done, and it isn't racist.
Tuesday, October 18
As a side note, you've got to love SI's "Telling Number" about the Sonics. Apparently, Seattle ranked last in the league in assists last year, a telling indication the Sonics are not for real. After all, the league champ in assists was Sacramento, and we all know the Kings are much better than the Sonics, right?
Monday, October 17
Whither Brunson, then? Here is the roster, as of today:
Those in capitals are on the roster, no matter what, and it adds up to 13 guys, the minimum roster number. However, the team is required to average 14 guys on the roster for the season, so that’s the key number to look at. (All teams are allowed to have as many as 15 on the roster at a given time). With that the case, it makes sense Seattle will keep 2 of these 3 guys: Brunson, Cleaves, Scales. I don’t think Cleaves is as much of a lock as it would appear on the surface, so it is conceivable the Sonics will keep Scales and Brunson, but Cleaves is nice insurance at the point should the Flip Murray Experiment fail miserably. To me, the best move is to say goodbye to Mateen and keep Scales and Brunson.
Friday, October 14
Of course, the big story is no Amare. How many wins will the Suns get this year without the big fella? Bob Weiss says there's no way they win 60 without him, and, of course, I agree. You can talk about the Canadian all you want, but Amare is and was the man for Phoenix, and with him in street clothes this team is in big trouble.
But enough about Phoenix, here's a couple of points about our guys:
1. Radman is expected to play.
2. The Potato is out again, and may miss the entire pre-season. I don't know what he did to piss the Basketball Gods off, but it must have been something big.
3. Swifty and Frenchy will get a good run again, as Mikki Moore will probably sit. Let's hope they can show some improvement over game one.
No tv, naturally, but the game is on KJR at 7:30.
Thursday, October 13
It's Go Time
Well, the season has (sort of) begun. Last night the Sonics dropped a 82-75 game to the Blazers, in a matchup that had all the intrigue of spring football practice drills. Yeah, it was Weiss v Mac-10, Allen v Kobe-Killer, and all of that, but, seriously, does anyone care? After all, can you remember how the Sonics did in the pre-season last year?
Notes to take away from the game:
- Mr. Glass got the starting nod, but Radman was not in the lineup at all due to a left foot inflammation. Also absent were the Potato (hamstring) and Da Fort (conflict with previously scheduled Angerholics class in Renton).
- Former Duck (whoo!) Alex Scales dropped double figures on Portland, and was the 2nd Sonic off the bench behind the Omen.
- Mr. Glass also got to the line 6 times and hit 4 of them, hopefully a nice portent of things to come this year.
- The Sonics got all of 5 points in transition. Nice to see that up-tempo style in action, huh?
- Swifty got the start at center, and managed an airball with his first shot.
Tuesday, October 11
Like me, do you wish there was a quick way to see if anything new has been added to the site without loading up the whole gosh-darn website?
If you are like me, then congratulations, you're a dork! Moreover, your wish has been granted!
The first thing you must do is download and install Mozilla Firefox. Once you've got it running, load up this page. THEN, look for the little orange button at the bottom right corner of the Firefox window, and click on it. A little menu will pop up that reads "Subscribe to Supersonicsoul"--click on that sucker!
What that does is create a sort of uber-bookmark that you can expand to see the most recent posts to the site. Looky there--Mr. Glass is still at the top. But as soon as Webmaster Paul posts his next hi-larious bit of commentary involving Danny Fortson's backside, it will appear, like magic, at the top of the list. Clicking on it will take you directly to that post.
Ain't that a time saver?! This works with a lot of blogs. You may never visit the main page again!
... Okay, I just heard from the Webmaster. He says you should definitely visit the main page as often as possible, and what's more, click on the ads you see there. A lot.
That's it for this week's edition of Nerd Stuff. We now return you to your regularly scheduled jock talk.
This site NOT sponsored by Mozilla. But, if they wanna kick in for the free iPod, I'll take one of those shiny black ones, please.
Friday, October 7
Weiss’ idea is to get Evans to become part of Seattle’s new “Showtime” offense (can someone help us with a new nickname? I’m not looking forward to an entire season of hearing the Sonics’ style referred to “like the 1980’s Lakers Showtime...”). In Weiss’ world, Evans would run the break, using his speed to get down the court and finish, a la Jerome Kersey.
While Weiss doesn’t explain the physics of how Reggie can be both a tenacious rebounder and one of the first guys downcourt (seriously, how do you bang on the boards with the singlemindedness of Evans then race ahead of the guys who hang out at the 3-point line?), I like the thought. No, Evans can’t shoot the 17-footer with any consistency, and he’s not smooth in the paint, and his defense is overrated, but he can rebound well and he can run. As a guy getting 15 minutes off the bench, he’s not going to hurt the Sonics.
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.
"I suppose you tink dats fuddy."
The NBA preseason is about to begin, and the Sonics are already having a little deja-vu.
While it's not nearly as apocalyptic as last season's post-season injury fest, the Sonics are suffering from just about every know ailment, from turf-toe to sinus troubles (I feel your pain, Ray!)
Here's a brief injury rundown:
Danny Fortson - turf toe
Ray Allen - sinus problems (may require surgery)
Rashard Lewis - sore toe (has to wear "orthotics" in his shoe)
Mikki Moore - runner's knee
Johan Petro - chronic Frenchness
O.K., so these aren't major injuries, but at least it gives us something to bitch about!
Tuesday, October 4
The Sonics kick off training camp today, and the roar surrounding the arrival of coveted free agents Rick Brunson and Mikki Moore was, well, not so much of a roar. Let’s face it, people, the Sonics have taken a page from Bum Phillips’ Book of Wisdom and are going to “dance with the one what brung you.”
Here are the 12 guys from last year’s team who got the most minutes:
Here’s what’s different:
Daniels becomes Brunson
James becomes Moore
That’s it. Yes, Collison and the Potato will play more minutes, and Reggie may or may not be on the roster (I’m betting on yes), but it ain’t a whole lot different. Petro, Swift, Cleaves, Gelabale ... heck, even Brunson and Moore don’t really make any real difference in this team’s fortunes. Forgive my initial pessimism, but considering the Sonics overachieved last year, I think it’s bit risky to not make any serious changes.
But, hey, it’s October, right? Seattle is undefeated and stands as good a chance as anyone else to win the Northwest Division. So, go Luke, go Sugar Ray, go Potato – go Sonics!
Training Camp Care Packages
IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER! IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER!..."
[Think of this piece as the grayed-out side bar to Nuss' main article. --Chunky]
If we could get within 50 yards of the Furtado Center, you know the Triple-S would be serving up fresh, unfiltered, unrefined SuperSonic truth with no middle man. Restraining orders being what they are, we have no choice but to freeload off the hard work of other scribes:
Seattle Times: Percy Allen talks to Coach Weiss and Ray Allen on the eve of training camp
SUPERSONICS.COM: Kevin Pelton has a great in-depth chat with Coach Weiss about coaching philosophy and player rotations
Tacoma News Tribune: Frank Hughes talks contracts and mullets with Vlade-Dadi
Locked on Sports Blog: David Locke, as usual, comes with dirt from Sonics HQ that you can't find anywhere else.
Sports Illustrated: Columnist Marty Burns says the Supes did all right this offseason, for a team that had 9 free agents and some tight financial constraints.
Saturday, October 1
Ran Into Luke and Chewie at the Cantina
in this harrowing first-person account
Me and the boys meet Luke Ridnour. My oldest was clearly disappointed that this Luke didn't have a lightsaber.
by Rafael "Chunkstyle" Calonzo
SuperSonicSoul Cub Reporter
[Note: It has been called to our attention that if the editorial staff had only been keeping an eye on the society pages of the Bellingham Daily Bugle, we would have known that the woman referred to as Mr. Ridnour's "girlfriend" in this article is, in fact, his wife. The management of this site regrets this error.So I had lunch with Luke Ridnour and Squatch at Quizno's today. Nice guys, but I had to pay for my own food.
The author has since been demoted from Cub Reporter to Lil' Bear Fetus Reporter, 3rd class, and re-assigned to cover 4th grade girls field hockey. --Ed.]
...Ooooor something like that. The barely one-week old sandwich shop in my neighborhood was having its official grand opening celebration, complete with a radio station promo, balloons, and the chance to get the Sonics point man's autograph while waiting for your Turkey Bacon Club to emerge from the patented Quizno toastification process.
When I found out yesterday that Ridnour was going to be in the neighborhood, I have to admit that I vacillated about coming out. I came up with a zillion reasons not to go: I'm gonna look like some stupid geek/fanboy/loser/stalker (especially when I mention the website)... I'm gonna say something really stupid... How lame would I feel about going to see a SuperSonic at a local samwich joint--or worse, how lame would Ridnour feel about being a SuperSonic at a local samwich joint, and do I really want to be a part of that?
In the end I went against my tendency to be a recluse and decided to go. I talked myself into it once I realized that:
1) I totally am a geek/fanboy/loser with a website (I'm too lazy to be a stalker);
2) I can't help but say stupid stuff in my everyday life--why would today be any different? Plus, I would have to say something off-the-charts ignorant for him to even remember me, since
3) a dude like that probably gets paid to do some 300 restaurant/gas station/dry cleaner grand openings a year--shoot, if that's lame, I wish to GOD I could be that kind of lame instead of my usual kind of lame for free.
At any rate, I made sure that I dragged my family along so I didn't look like a complete basement-dwelling shut-in ("Look! I have a wife and kids! That's gotta prove I've kissed a girl!") I also guilted my brother and his son into going, especially since bro had the only unworn SSS shirt in the clan.
So we get there, and Squatch is in the somewhat bustling parking lot, clowning around and shooting free-throws on the bumper-mounted hoop of the Squatch Mobile with some kids. The line to meet Ridnour was out the door... which seemed impressive until I realized the line to order a sandwich was actually longer (hey, cats in the burbs loves them some toasty subs). He was dressed like any other dude his age might be on an overcast Seattle day: backwards hat, t-shirt over long sleeve T, jeans, sneakers. If the line hadn't led right up to his table, he easily could've been mistaken for some kid filling out a job application with a Sharpie. [NOT a diss on his appearance or youth at all--more like, I was impressed that a professional athlete could come across as such a regular guy. His "posse" consisted of his girlfriend and some Sonics PR flacks. How un-celebrity-like can you get?]
Arriving at the front of the line, I gave Ridnour a SUPERSONICSOUL t-shirt and explained that I help run a little fan website where we write dumb stuff about the team. He seemed somewhat amused by that. Then he signed my grimy Sonics hat and posed for some pictures, after which I was promptly hustled into the sandwich line.
I did manage to ask him some stupid questions later when the autograph line dwindled. I asked who he thought was the toughest guy to guard in the NBA. He said "I dunno, it's a new season... But Iverson's pretty tough."
When I asked him if he liked any of the nicknames he's been given, he said, no he doesn't know of any.
"You know, how some folks call you 'Frodo,' or 'The Disciple.'"
"Yeah, some ESPN writer called you that."
"Huh, that's not bad."
His girlfriend giggled and offered "What about 'Lukey'?" He didn't seem to dig that one.
[Note: this hard-hitting line of questioning should put to rest any second-guessing about my decision to switch majors from journalism to art.]
As I waited for my brother to get his food (dude bailed on the whole autograph thing... chicken!), I stood back and watched as the line trickled down to almost nothing. When a few folks wandered in looking for Ridnour, they almost always walked right past him. If he wasn't signing a stack of posters for the Quizno's staff, I'm not sure how folks would've spotted him otherwise.
Later we went out and my brother and nephew shot free throws with Squatch to get free swag. Ridnour came out when his autograph hour was up and showed off his underhand freethrow skills. His lady stood nearby, clutching the SSS t-shirt in her arms.
It struck me then that he probably will never wear that shirt. At best, maybe he'll buff his Hummer with it. I was okay with that. I was comforted with the thought that, someday, when he's polishing up the chromed-out frame around his 'DISCIPL' vanity plate, perhaps he'll see the URL, remember that dorky guy at the Quizno's with his kids, and maybe, just maybe visit the site on his Sidekick or Blackberry out of curiosity.
Maybe then he can read this post, and in the unlikely event that he reads 'til the end, he may answer the one burning question I meant to ask but only remembered after we left:
"Hey Luke, you gonna grow out your fro again?"
Photos: Carrie "Croppin'" Calonzo, Ravenal "Baby Deer" Calonzo
Friday, September 30
Amazingly, it’s been a decade since the heyday of the Sonics, back when Karl, Kemp, Payton, Det, et al dominated headlines around here.
In a strange sort of way, a reunion of sorts has taken place in Portland – a reunion that’s gone as rotten as week-old potato salad. It appears erstwhile Sonic überassistant Tim Grgurich, Nate McMillan, and Portland’s management have gotten into a snit, culminating in a lawsuit filed by Grgurich against the Blazers. It’s a messy story, but Grgurich claims he became persona non grata after McMillan took over in July, and, to add insult to injury, the Blazers are blocking him from other coaching jobs. According to the article, Grgurich may wind up in Denver, reunited with – surprise! – George Karl. (On a side note, how amazing is it that Karl, McMillan, Dwayne Casey, Terry Stotts, and Bob Weiss – all members of George’s staff/team in the mid-90s – are all head coaches in the NBA?).
If you’re like me, your first question has to be: Where is Bob Kloppenburg amidst all this turmoil?
Wednesday, September 28
Aw, screw it. It’s raining outside here in Vancouver and the last thing I want to think about is how many points per minute Vladimir Radmanovic scores when he’s playing small forward while Flip plays the 2. So, without further ado, it’s time for the
GREATEST SONIC NICKNAMES OF ALL TIME!
C: Big Smooth
Reason: Epitomizes Sam Perkins’ character to a T. You can feel the slow, almost lackadaisical way he back-pedaled to his defensive position.
PF: The X-Man
Reason: Before the X-Files, there was the X-Man. The baddest man in Sonic history also has the baddest nickname. Think Wes Matthews would argue?
SF: Tommy Gun
Reason: Tom Chambers never met a shot he didn’t like.
Reason: It ties perfectly with Fred Brown’s game, it rhymes, and it is the perfect 70s nickname.
PG: The Wizard
Reason: Gus Williams was all over the court back in the day, and his moves merited the nickname. Bonus points for alliteration.
Reserves: The Glove, The Reign Man, Slick, JJ, DJ, Mac-10, Big Ben, Det, The Fiddler, The Brick, Cool Breeze, The Collector, Bones, Ukraine Train, and Bob “Ja” Rule (the last, alas, exists merely in my imagination).
Let the debating begin.