Wednesday, October 3

Training Camp Underway

As you would imagine, the coverage in the local media has shifted away from the off-court news to the on-court news. And, you know, I don't care if you're Clay Bennett, Kevin Calabro, me, Les Habegger, or whoever, that's a great thing. First and foremost, we're basketball fans, and basketball fans like to talk about basketball, not arbitration, right?

The Times has a blog now (I'm a couple days late on this), with both Jayda Evans and Percy Allen contributing. Allen reports that Bob Swift is "laboring," and Gary Washburn at the PI makes a note that Nene Hilario - who had a similar fate to Swifty - is still feeling the aftereffects of the surgery, and he had his a year before Swift did. Not liking the sound of that. GW also reports that PJ Carlesimo's practices are more hard-core than Bob Hill's were, although it should be noted that my daughter's pre-school classes are also tougher than Hill's practices.

Eric Williams at the TNT has some great stuff [warning, Williams' story is adjacent to this picture, so click with care], including this wonderful quote from Earl Watson, who apparently has decided that he won't only beat out Luke Ridnour for the starting point guard spot on the court, he'll beat him out in the court of public opinion:

“When you think of the Sonics, it’s kind of like a cornerstone of the NBA,” Watson said. “For me growing up it was always the Lakers, the Sonics, the Bulls, Boston and the Knicks. That’s just the way it was. I think Seattle deserves a team. And I hope a situation works out to where they stay.”

Thanks, Earl.


Anonymous said...

Since it's a pretty slow start to the preseason, I am going to throw out a trade idea.

Gordon Giricek

Wally Szcerbiak
Damien Wilkins
Earl Watson
Phoenix 2008 First Pick

These teams match up pretty well, Utah needs outside shooters at the 2/3 (which Szcerbiak addresses) and guards (Wilkins and Watson.) Giricek is thrown in to even salary out (plus his $4 million is clear after this year.) This first pick of Phoenix is thrown in to make the trade a little more even.

I know inter-conference trades don't happen and this seems to favor the Sonics a little too much, but there are a few factors are at play. 1: Outside of maybe Phoenix or LA, there is not really a good fit in terms of matching salary, style, team needs, and talent in a AK-47 trade. 2: Kirilenko has poisoned the waters enough that Utah might sell him at 75 cents on the dollar. 3: The playoffs exposed Utah need of a outside shooter and more depth at guard and small forward, something which they still need to address.

I would love to have Kirilenko. He provides instant defense from the 4 and would thrive in the Sonics more up-tempo offense then Utah's hack-and-foul offense. Since PJ has indicated that he wants to play Durant at the 2, picture this "run and gun" line-up:

Starting: Ridnoir, Durant, Green, AK-47, Wilcox

Rotating in: West, Thomas, Collision, Gelebale

Waving towels: The Crippled Clown (AKA Swift), Petro

This is a really flexible 9 man rotation. They can play fast, slow, defensive, big, small, ect. Everyone has a role and everyone gets minutes.

Am I crazy to think this is a good idea? Probably. At least it gives us something to discuss.

PS: If gambling was legal, what would be the line of how many games Swift plays this year? I guess somewhere between 10-15 games. What a waste of three first round picks.

- Dan

Anonymous said...

I think you're a bit low on the Swift over/under. I'm pegging him to play 40 games this year at least. Still, that sucks when you think about how high in the draft he was taken ...

I'd love to get AK, but did you really mean to put Wilcox at center? That's a scary thought, for sure. Kirilenko's contract is quite an albatross, though, especially if the rest of his career looks like last year's. That said, I think any deal with the Jazz would likely include Kurt Thomas, simply because he's the most valuable trading piece on the Sonics and he fits well into Utah's system.

Anonymous said...

Earl is AWESOME!!

mcwalter44 said...

I don't think AK is the answer for Seattle. If he's malcontent in Utah, a team that made it to the Western Conference Finals, then what do you expect of him in Seattle while our Sonics are rebuilding? Plus I personally believe that his one on one defense isn't as good as people make it out to be. Especially if you play him at PF, like Utah did off and on last season. Where he excels in on help defense, because he's great at getting into the lane for steals and for blocks. He'd be great in a zone defense. However, your proposed lineup of Ridnour, Durant, Green, AK and Wilcox would be pretty poor defensively when it comes to Ridnour and Wilcox. Plus, you're asking AK to guard the likes of Duncan, Boozer, Jefferson, Stoudamire/Marion, Scola, Brand, Nowitzski, etc.. all of whom would back him down into the block and force the Sonics to send a second guy in to help out. If AK is supposed to be a great defender, then wouldn't it make sense that he wouldn't need help? Well, I personally don't see him as a lock down defender.

Which makes playing him at the SF or the 3 on defense better option, the problem then is do you play him as wing on offense? If the answer is no, then you'll need a guy (may be J. Green) who can play the 4 on defense so that AK can play the lane for steals and help with weak side blocks, but who also can play the wing on offensive so that AK can be effect against slow PFs or 4s guarding him. This is where things broke down for AK and Utah last season, because the had Boozer playing the 4 and Okur the 5 on both ends of court. AK struggles in their set offense as a wing player. Unless you're completely sold on Green, then I don't see it as good deal for the Sonics. Also, I think PJ going to have a more grind it out offense (like SA) which will not run nearly as much as the Sonics did in years past.

I think AK needs to go to a team like GS, PHX, NJ, TOR, or SAC with a strong PG who likes to push the pace of the game and get his team running. Offensively I think AK needs to be in the system that runs a lot so that he can exploit his explosiveness on the break. As I said up above, I don't see that being PJ system if he sticks with what he's done in the past and what the Spur currently do. Therefore, I don't think AK would be a good fit.

Anonymous said...

Sonics getting involved in a multi-team deal that moved Wally to Utah and AK somewhere else is worth exploring. Same for Marion, J ONeal, etc. If it got us good young guys, expiring contracts or draft picks.