Last Tuesday’s game against the Bucks was a bit of a snoozer (And did anyone else catch the NBA broadcast? What’s up with the lack of commentary? Are you telling me there wasn’t a single guy looking to make a name for himself in that industry that would be willing to call the game for peanuts?). No Durant, no Jeff Green, no Gelabale ... suffice it to say no one will be adding that link to their favorites list anytime soon.
Since there wasn’t much to catch my interest, I decided to take a look at just one player from the game for a mini scouting report: Mo Sene.
Sene’s been a bone of contention in the Sonics’ organization ever since they drafted him a year ago in the first round. After a season where he really should have been playing in the NBDL, Sene saw his name linked to Rick Sund as the reason for Sund’s dismissal. Lenny Wilkens – since departed from the organization – held up Sene’s “wasted” selection as proof of Sund’s ineptitude in the draft.
So it was an interesting year for the young Senegalese center. This summer, Sene and the Sonics hope he will capitalize on his intriguing promise as a mobile big man with a tremendous wingspan. No one’s expecting him to become Hakeem Olajuwon by November, but improvement would be appreciated. It was with that in mind that I watched the Bucks-Sonics replay.
Suffice it say, Mo Sene was not impressive.
Sene continually stood around on offense, rarely venturing to the basket for offensive or defensive rebounds. Sene seemed disinterested, tired, ill, or just plain out of sorts on both ends of the court. His body language resembled that of a teenager avoiding yardwork,
Early in the first quarter, his man beat him on the baseline for an easy bucket, something that a supposedly agile big man with his lengthy arms should never let happen.
Finally, midway through the first quarter, Sene got a chance to score, when he was given the ball near the elbow in a post-up opportunity. Sene – facing a man 5 to 6 inches shorter – backed him down for three dribbles, then abandoned the opportunity and hoisted an ill-advised 15-foot fadeaway jumper, which not surprisingly drew iron.
After a few more possessions that saw him out of the scrum of action, Sene finally looked good later in the first when he spun by his man on the left block, reaching the basket for an easy finger-roll. It was a nice move, and one he should be able to employ often if he looks for it. Since he won’t be double-teamed very often, he ought to be able to use his quickness to get by slower big men.
On the next possession, Sene drew a foul with a jump hook on the right block. His free throw technique was decent enough for a big man (and, to be fair, it’s a lot prettier than Julius Hodge’s – what’s up with that hideousness?). Sene went to the jump hook again later in the first, begging the question – is he afraid of contact, or is he just too timid to go strong to the hoop?
Sene sat down soon after, relieved by Johan Petro for the remainder of the first half. Thankfully, someone must have talked to him about his lackadaisical effort, because he seemed to have much more of a spring in his step in the second half. He blocked one Buck’s shot (called off on a foul), and just went about his business with a little more effort than in the first half.
Still, his defensive energy was sorely lacking, and his inability to grab rebounds points to two things, from my viewpoint: a lack of effort and a lack of training.
Sene desperately needs more practice and game time to adjust to the NBA. I’m hopeful the Sonics don’t plan on keeping him on the league this season, and will let him grow in the NBDL, where he can get more minutes and learn the proper footwork and technique necessary to be a capable big man.
Can you tell from one game if Sene is a wasted pick? Absolutely not. He’s still incredibly young, lacks experience, and, hey, he’s still 7’ and strong. There’s hope for Mo Sene, but not this year, I’m afraid.