Friday, January 12
Glory Days of '05
As bad as the Sonics have been this year – and it’s been bad – you’ve got to wonder, why the heck are they so terrible? With Lewis, Allen, Wilcox, and Ridnour, you’ve got four average to above-average players, and Collison and Watson are decent bench players, so why is this team struggling so much?
First off, I don’t accept the injury excuse. Robert Swift’s injury, while damaging, is nowhere near as big a deal as the team’s supporters would lead you to believe. And don’t let that “strong pre-season” crap of Swift’s supporters mislead you either. It wasn’t a strong pre-season at all, unless you consider a 33% mark from the field strong. Or 6.7 fouls per 40 minutes. Or 4.2 turnovers per 40 minutes. Obviously, Swift would have been better than Petro, but does that really mean anything? The question is, would Swift have been a significant improvement over Collison and/or Fortson? And, beyond that, considering Collison has gone for 20-10 in each of the past two games – both losses – doesn’t that indicate that it doesn’t matter anyways?
I thought it might help to see what the difference is between this version of the Sonics and the 2004-05 edition. Here’s a quick rundown of the numbers.
Okay, that’s a lot of statistics to absorb before lunchtime. A few things stand out, though:
1. The Sonics are taking way fewer 3 pointers than they were in 2005, even though they shoot almost as well (36% then to 34% now). I think it might be a good idea to let Damien Wilkins and Luke Ridnour to take more 3’s, considering both of them are hitting close to 40% from beyond the arc.
2. The Sonics are not getting to the line nearly as much as they were before. In 2005, there were five Sonics averaging 3 or more trips to the line a night. In 2007, that has dropped to three players. The biggest difference is Antonio Daniels, who visited the stripe 4 times a night. Contrast that to Earl Watson, who gets there bi-weekly. It’s a bizarre double-dip for a team to decrease both their outside attempts and foul-line attempts in the same season, but that’s the Sonics for you.
3. Rebounding. This is especially noticeable on the defensive end, where the Sonics get killed on a regular basis. Reggie Evans is the key difference, obviously, as no one’s even close to his nearly 10 boards a night.
What can we draw from all of this? Is it helpless?
I think the only solution is to hope for help in the draft. Trading away Rashard or Ray is a short-term fix, and while it would be nice to get out from under Ray’s mammoth contract, he’s not hurting this team. The same goes for Rashard. All the Sonics need is a strong big man who can block shots and rebound.
Perhaps this guy might do the trick.
Posted by PN at 10:07 AM