Friday, June 29

Faith

Seattle Supersonics forward Kevin Durant
Whew. Allright, I'm back from down off the ledge after last night, although it was pretty close around 8:30 or so ...

There's a passage in Genesis 18 that I think is a good read for the morning after the Sonics dealt away Ray Allen and Glen Davis for Delonte West, Wally Szcerbiak, and Jeff Green. In the passage, Abraham is speaking to God about His plan for destroying Sodom.

Abraham wonders, would God destroy the righeous with the wicked? What if there were 50 innocent people in the city, would God destroy them as well? No, replies God, I would not.

Abraham persists. What if there are 40? What about 30, or 20, or 10? God replies, no, if there were only 10 innocent people amongst thousands of wicked, I would not destroy the city.

Finally, Abraham is satisfied, and God returns to watching "Highway to Heaven." The upshot of the story is that sometimes you have to have faith. Sometimes, even though you don't understand the reasoning behind a situation, you have to believe that the person orchestating a chain of events knows full well what he or she is doing, and if that person is reputed to be a wise person (as Sam Presti is), then maybe the best thing to do is shut your mouth and wait to see how it turns out.

Well, that's what I'm going to do. I don't understand why the Sonics mortgaged their present for Jeff Green and took on Wally Szcerbiak's contract when Theo Ratliff's was there for the taking, but Sam Presti does. I don't understand why the Sonics have 3 point guards, a half-dozen small forwards, three centers, three power forwards, and no shooting guards, but - hopefully - Sam Presti does. Perhaps the wisest course of action is to wait and see what the subsequent moves are (trading Luke Ridnour, trading Rashard Lewis, trading Chris Wilcox), and reserve judgement until the middle of July.

For those who thought we (or, rather, I) was too quick to rush to judgement on last night's events: You're right.

But you have to understand, we just spent the past decade with horrible general managers. The first, Wally Walker, is perhaps the most hated man in Seattle. The second, Rick Sund, chased after teenagers like R Kelly on a double shot of valium and Spanish Fly. We're not used to having astute people run this organization, so we're naturally gunshy about any actions they take.

So, to Sam Presti and Jeff Green: My apologies. I shouldn't be so down so quickly on the new regime.

After all, we've still got Kevin Durant, and that's not a bad consolation prize.

19 comments:

Rich King said...

That picture of Wally is killin' me.

I too have come down from the ledge. Waiting to see what else the summer has in store for us.

I mean, we have to trade for a SG or two, don't we?

Paul Merrill said...

Thank you Pete--if not for your retraction, I fear our blogging license would have been revoked.

(Also the Wally Szczerbiak fan club showed up at my house last night with pitchforks. Actually a very nice bunch of elderly women and one creepy guy. I gave them your address.)

mcwalter44 said...

Nuss,

No worries, most of my family were up set about Ray Allen going as well. Much unlikely my posts last night I had to explain to them why the Sonics took this particular angle. Further more I'd like to comment on your no 2 guard assessment of the sonics.

Here is what I see:
1) Wally has been playing the #2 guard his entire career, almost exclusively in Boston (KG played the 3 most of the time and Pierce was the 3 all the time)

2) Gelabale is an undersized #3 due to his strength and naturally thin frame. He should be playing the #2.

3) West is a combo guard, who Boston attempted to make a PG, but that experiment didn't quite work. He'll most likely play both for the Sonics as a reserve.

4) We all know that Wilkens can play the #2 guard spot because was the start each of the last two season that Ray Allen has gone down with an injury.

5) Finding shooters is the easiest thing in basketball. Because you always have college point guards who do not get drafted or make teams that draft them late because they're really #2 guards, but just way undersized. Furthermore, you can peck through the NBDL to find shooter quick quickly.

The goal of last night wasn't to maintain the current losing state of the Sonics, who are a combined 172-182 in the Ray Allen Era. Instead it was to flush out the culture of "we do not need to play Defense, because score 105 a night" and replace it with a culture of "we are going to be gritty and team defense based organization." To that point, expect PJ to be hired as head coach by the end of the week. So, have hope everyone our early request to defined a new Super Sonics culture has begun.

Anonymous said...

hey guys, ive been thinking about what more moves we could do, and when i read about yi i got me thinking.

do you guys think bucks will be able to keep yi? i would think that yi's camp would push for trade. maybe if we offer one of our pgs or wilcox for yi or gadzuric, will it work?

yi plays pf and itll help our fan base tremendously. what do you guys think of acquiring yi? or the possibility of it?

-mikey

Kobe Berg said...

In my mind Wally is a non-issue. He is either going to get hurt or be strictly a bench guy. The Sonics are in a much better place to make more moves then they were pre-draft. I got faith that Presti will ring in a 2-guard, and maybe another PG to back-up Delonte. Durant and Green are gonna be like Michael and Scottie, though I may be watching them on League Pass while they play in Oklahoma City.

Jeff said...

Tracy McGrady. I just KNOW it...! I FEEL it! As soon as we can sign Rashard, a blockbuster deal with the Rockets will be announced...

(I'm extremely hungover, I know...)

Jeremy said...

Here's the thing. We hired Sam Presti, the guy who built the industry standard database for evaluating draft picks. We hired Scott Parry, a super smart guy from Detroit who was even rumored in the GM hunt at one point.

These are the guys making the calls. They have better information, better technology, and they get paid to evaluate talent for a living. This isn't your dad's Walker/Sund combo. These are the guys who have a track record being involved with great picks for their organizations.

Only time will tell if Presti is right on this, but I think he made a wise move by rebuilding a young core around Durant and Green.

Wally S will fill a valuable role as a shooter coming off the bench. The Sonics really haven't had anyone to fill that role since Dale Ellis left. They probably decided that they wanted to have a contributor (Wally) than a non-contributor (Ratliff). Next offseason, Wally will be an expiring contract which will be a valuable asset.

Rich King said...

McWalter

Wally has not played the 2 his entire career. Malik Sealy and Anthony Peeler played the 2 his 1st season at Minn. I think Peeler started at least half the season, maybe even in the playoffs. I distinctly remember Peeler bustin our ass a few times.

Then just a few yrs ago, wasn't Sprewell playing 2 for Minn?

Not saying he hasn't or can't play 2, but not a true 2 in my book.

Eric Reynolds said...

I don't understand any of this better than you, Nuss, but one thing that made me feel slightly better was watching ESPN last night and seeing every pundit on there talk about how the Sonics had the best draft of all and how they totally fleeced Boston. So who knows? Not me.

Nuss said...

Check the 82games.com numbers. Wally played less than 1% of his minutes at the 2 this past season, and the same for last season in Boston. He might have been a 2 at one time, but between his injuries and age, I don't think he's capable of guarding any remotely athletic 2's anymore.

mcwalter44 said...

Nuss,

Good research, but I think 82games.com is full of it. They have Pierce playing 21% SG and 20% SF. I believe these stats are based off of the percent one the season as whole, so if you're hurt your percent is lower. That said, they think Wally's SF, even though Pierce usually was put on the SF on defense and since Pierce is as much of a perimeter player as Wally I'm surprised by this. For comparison's sake they have Lewis at 43% of the Sonics total SF minutes and 17% of the PF minutes. Gerabale at 17% SF and 17% SG minutes and Wilkens at 12% SG, 34% SF, 4% PF. They also had West having played 23% of Boston's minutes at PG, 30% at SG and 1% at SF.

Also, in regards to the Twolves the reason they needed Peeler and co was because Walley, their normal SG was HURT! Although I agree that Spree was an SG in Minny and Wally was then the SF with KG shifting to PF. Again, I'm not a big Wally fan, in fact, I hate the guy because he's been a Super Sonic killer for his entire career. Here are the number's he's put up against the supes:

Team G Min FG-Pct 3pt-Pct FT-Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG vs. SEA 25 34 48.8 34.6 82.5 1.6 3 4.6 2.8 1.6 0.6 0.2 2.1 15.8

Again, I'm not a Wally fan and totally think he's not worth the 12 million he gets this season or the 13 he'll get next season. God know why the T-Wolves signed him to that deal. I'm just saying that the plan looks like to be having Wally, Gerabale, Wilkens and West all see minutes at the SG position. Which I believe is an obvious step back on offense, but a big step forward on team defense mainly due to extended PT for Wilken and the addition of West.

P Nussbaum said...

Yeah, 82games is bit hard to understand sometimes. Still, you have to admit that Wally's ability to defend shooting guards - coming off multiple injuries and a surgery when he was never a great defensive player to begin with - is not exactly great. As a bench player coming off to score points quickly he's a good player. Won't argue that point with you at all.

EmersonAK said...

At first i became disappointed to hear that ray was getting traded, but now i am confidant that this was the right move. Ray was franchise, just like GP was. It not like we got nothing back. Think about this- what pick would we have if we didnt get lucky in the draft lottery? NO. 5!!So you can say that we traded durant for allen. Now we have 2 guys that can compliment durant and grow along side durant in green and west.
I am just hoping that i can make it to seattle this fall and watch them play.

ALso, ever since the draft ive been seeing alot of negativity from sonics fans on blogs, shouldnt this be an exciting day for us. Dam. We got our franchise player in Durant!!I just hope and pray that Seattle dosent move, so I can bring the latest sonics fan(my newborn son) to watch them play and kick the bleeep out of G.O. and the balzers!!!Green and Gold for Life!!(No Kidding Jeff GREEN and Kevin GOLD Durant).lol

Anonymous said...

was that bible reference really necessary?....somehow I don't see the relevance to basketball.

Anonymous said...

Hoya fan here...you guys are gonna love Jeff Green. Yes, I realize its traumatic to trade the 1996 Big East Player of the Year and wind up saddled with the Current BE POY, but you'll survive.

If you want to know Jeff Green's game, get a tape of the Gtown-ND game from the BE Tourney this year. Jeff would not let us lose.

Plus, by all accounts, he's a really nice, solid guy. He's not going to get in trouble on or off the court.

As an added bonus, you will probably also get to see Jeff Green's Mom, who rules beyond belief.

Y'all will want to learn her theme song.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/luke_winn/02/15/dc.part2/index.html

Anonymous said...

WHY DIDN'T WE PICK UP YI? DIDN'T WE WANT TO KEEP THE SONICS IN SEATTLE?

Anonymous said...

When is that Kevin Durant at Green Lake thing?

Anonymous said...

Thats just what Seattle needed, ANOTHER foreign big man in Yi ...upside or not I'm glad the Sonics stayed away.

Anonymous said...

As a Celtics fan, I have to say a couple of things. I think this was the right move for Seattle, and probably the right move for Boston. First, you guys got Durant so no matter what, you win. But he's a 19 year old, and will take some years to get to his true potential and make the team a contender. By that time, Allen will be gone. Had the Celtics ended up with Durant, I think there's a good chance we would've traded Pierce. You don't need to keep your old franchise player, who will be out of the league in 5 years, around when you have a new one you'll be building around for 15 years. This was a deep draft, but there were really only two franchise players, and you got one of them.

From the Cs perspective, we wouldn't get much better next season with Jeff Green or Corey Brewer or Yi or whoever else we took at the 5. All of those guys are going to be very good players, but we couldn't build our future around one of them and Al and Rondo and Gerald Green (especially since the latter two are total wild cards - one can't shoot, the other can't think). Not with young guys like Oden, Lebron, Durant, Wade, Carmelo, Howard, etc., having teams built around them. We had to go for it now. A top 5 pick in a stacked draft is a high price to pay for a 32-year old shooting guard coming off double ankle surgery, even if he is a perennial All Star and all around great guy. But it was still worth it to us, because we could try to compete now (it's been a long time since we've been a contender) or hope that a later pick worked out. Not to mention, you can't understand the dejection from the Celtics fan base over not getting a top two pick. Regardless of who we took, there would be a what if? hanging over his head and nobody would've warmed to him knowing he was a replacement for Oden or Durant, which is all we wanted. It ruined the chances of Chauncey Billups and Ron Mercer to succeed in Boston when we got them instead of Duncan, who we also had the best chance to get.

Now, you gave up an All Star, but got something very valuable for him - a passing forward who will play perimeter or post defense. Green was ana absolutely great choice over Brewer, Yi, Wright, or anyone else. He will be a great complement to Durant over the long haul, much better than Allen would be for 2-4 years. And this was the last real shot for you to get something so valuable (a top 5 pick in a stacked draft) for Allen. You got your money's worth.

Now, as for the complementary pieces to the deal, I don't believe Ratliff was ever even on the table. We wouldn't trade for Allen if we still had Wally, and we sure wouldn't throw in Delonte West (more in a minute). With that deal, the Cs would be left with Pierce, Ray Allen, Wally, Green, West, Tony Allen, and Ryan Gomes at the 2-3 positions. That's not enough minutes for too much talent and way too much money. We needed to hold onto our bigger player, and better contract (Theo) in case we make another move for a big man like Jermaine O'Neal, which is possible now with Al and Ratliff's contract (on a personal note, I wouldn't give up Al at all, but that's just me). And in case Theo can play healthy for a while, we need a big man much more than another outside shooter who doesn't do anything else.

Wally sucks, I won't sugarcoat it, but he's still a savings of something like $15-18 million for you guys. Plus you get Green and Delonte, who all real Celtics fans love. He was misused as a point guard. He's a starting two guard or a great backup at both positions. He can handle the ball a bit, is a very good shooter, can defend fairly well, works hard, is very smart, and is a pretty wacky guy. You're gonna enjoy some of his interviews. Plus, nobody looks so much like an alien this side of Sam Cassell. Great intentional and unintentional comedy from that guy. And somebody was right when they said, he's a 2 guard who's not going to take a lot of shots away, and won't command a huge salary. He's a perfect role player, and since you have your franchise player, what you need is role players. I see him starting at the 2 for you guys for quite a while, and I really think you'll look at him as a great great addition. I will miss him as a Celtics fan. I really wish we could've gotten the deal done without including him. I guess that's why we got the second round pick in the deal, too.

As a big fan of your city, I hope the Sonics can bring the thunder back to Seattle's sports scene. Good luck, I think you'll have a good ride for the next dozen years.