With all the talk recently about Seattle’s bench woes and the ugliness between Hill and Watson another Sonics’ dismal performance has sort of slipped through the cracks.
Try this on for size: Chris Wilcox has scored in double figures once in the past eight games.
To a casual observer, the fault would lie in the lap of the man making $8 million a year, the free agent acquisition that never performed prior to a salary drive in the spring. But if you look more closely, you can tell that it may not entirely be Weezy’s fault.
For some reason, Wilcox has turned into the Sonics’ version of a Saturday night television show on CBS – invisible.
After taking 70 shots in those first eight games, Wilcox has attempted only 49 in the past eight, a decrease of 21%. His rebounding numbers, minutes played, and all other peripheral stats haven’t changed, so it’s merely a matter of not getting looks.
It’s as if on the plane ride back from New Jersey, the team’s luggage – containing the secret ingredient responsible for the successful trip – wound up in North Dakota, while the Sonics continued on to the West Coast. Somewhere in Fargo, a group of kids stumbled across the magic potion, drank it, and are now contending for the state basketball title while the Sonics continue to lose at a Blazer-like pace.
Prior to the flight home, Seattle was averaging 39-for-84 from the floor and 105 points a game. Since the flight, those numbers are down to 35-for-79 shots and 94 points, while Wilcox has gone from 9 attempts per game to 6, and from 12 points to 8. It’s a shocking development, and completely unexplainable.
I can’t see what the root cause of the problem is, as it doesn’t appear to make any difference if Wilcox plays with Watson or Ridnour, so it’s not as if he needs Earl to play more so he can get more looks. It’s not that he’s not getting enough minutes, as that hasn’t changed one bit from the first half of the season to the second.
As always, the Sonics are over-relying on Allen and Lewis, and Allen and Lewis are getting tired of it. Sugar Ray’s comments in the papers the last couple of days seem to indicate a man frustrated with his teammates’ inability to produce. With Coach Hill’s statement last night regarding a new potential starting lineup, how about we offer this suggestion:
I’d leave Sene in there for 5 minutes, bring Petro off the bench, then bring Collison in with a few minutes left in the 1st quarter. That would allow Wilcox to get some rest and then actually play more than 2 minutes in the 2nd quarter.
And pray Sene doesn’t foul out in 5 minutes.
Notes from last night’s loss: Seattle attempted 8 3’s in the first half, 13 in the second and attempted 14 in paint in the 1st half, 9 in second ... The Sonics made one shot from the right side of the court in the entire game, a Ray Allen 3 in the second quarter.
Keep Petro in the starting lineup; the last thing the Frenchman needs is a blow to his confidence.
Maybe the Sonics ought to bring Wilcox off the bench midway through the 1st quarter, then let him play the rest of the first half and do the same thing in the 2nd half. As it stands now, Weezy's sitting form most of the 2nd and 4th quarters, and this team is getting killed in the 4th.
Oh, and we need a backup shooting guard more than Dick Cheney needs a smack upside the head.
Make a tape of Wilcox's five best post moves ever and tell him he has to find and do 3 every night and any one of them that works he has to repeat 3 times or more til they stop it and then his homework- and for the assistant coach assigned to work with him-is to find an effective counter he can go to as needeed and perhaps recover the value of the original move too.
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