As I see it, the next 11 days will determine the Sonics' season.
With a miserable 10-17 record, Seattle stands six games back of the #8 seed in the playoffs. And while some might say the playoffs are not important for this team's progress, I disagree. I think the playoffs are essential to the team's development - or else this ship needs to be blown up, and quick, because Ray Allen ain't getting any younger, people, and he ain't getting any better.
In the next 11 days, the Sonics play 5 games: Toronto, New Orleans, at Denver, at Minnesota, and finishing with Boston on New Year's Eve at Key Arena.
The Sonics must win 4 of those 5 to stand any chance at moving forward this year. A 4-1 mark would put Seattle's record at the end of 2006 at 14-18, which would put them amidst the Golden States, Minnesotas, and Portlands of the world. With Allen due back on Saturday, the Toronto game is now winnable again. Likewise, New Orleans and Boston at home. That leaves Minnesota as the one tough road game the Sonics must get.
If I'm Rick Sund and Clay Bennett, I'm giving this train until January 1st to get back on track. If the Sonics manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory more than once in the next 11 days, I'd seriously consider unhooking some of the cars from the train and start adding some different pieces.