Saturday, December 29

Breaking: Wilkins benched, Green to Start

With everyone on Christmas Break, it's left to the Cub Reporter/Clipart Dept. Manager to post this breaking tidbit. Word from Trusted Sources is that Jeff Green will start tonight against the T-Wolves, and Damien Wilkins will come off the bench. The announcement was made at this morning's practice.

The same source also informs us that some big arena news will drop when the new legislative session starts.

Friday, December 28

The Return of Ray-Ray

Seriously, screw you guys.

Ray Allen returned to Seattle last night, but he was playing for the wrong team:

KeyArena has seen better nights from Ray Allen.

But unlike when the Boston Celtics star played for the Sonics, his off shooting night didn't matter. He had an assembly of star-studded teammates to rely on as the Celtics collected a 104-96 NBA victory in front of a sellout crowd of 17,072.

Allen played his first game in Seattle since being traded on draft day for fifth overall pick Jeff Green and veterans Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West. Allen was treated to two standing ovations — for his community service in a pregame ceremony and during player introductions.

Read the rest in the Seattle TImes
Ray Allen was one of my all-time favorite Sonics and I wish him the best, but after getting traded from worst to first, I hope he at least sent a Christmas card to Wonder Boy this year. After all, the out-right tanking and sabotage of our Sonics by Presti and company might finally give Ray-Ray a much deserved ring. At least something nice can come out of this debacle.

Monday, December 24

So long, Sene!

Someone got coal in their stocking, and it wasn't Clay Bennett.

To the surprise of no one, Mouhamed Sene was sent down to Maggie's farm today, prompting most Sonics fans to say "Mouhamed Sene was still with the Sonics?".

So what's on your wish list this year? How about a brand new point guard? Heck, how about a slightly used one? Santa wants to know!

Thursday, December 20

Pointing Fingers

Starting opponent point guards in Sonic wins:

Jason Williams, Miami
Tyronn Lue, Atlanta
Brevin Knight, Clippers
Mo Williams, Milwaukee
Marko Jaric, Minnesota

Starting opponent point guards in Sonic blowout losses:

Sam Cassell, Clippers
Allen Iverson, Denver
Jameer Nelson, Orlando
Raymond Felton, Charlotte
Tony Parker, San Antonio
Damon Stoudamire, Memphis
Jameer Nelson, Orlando
Kirk Hinrich, Chicago
Deron Williams, Utah
Chris Paul, New Orleans

Now, I could spend a couple of hours digging through statistics from each of those players, adding them all up, calculating their averages, their PERs, their assist to turnover ratios, and all the rest, but that would be insulting to our readers. Because it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it, what the difference is between the first group and the second group, for even a casual observer of the NBA.

Four of the five guys in group one are vagabond NBA point guards. With the exception of Mo Williams, that first group is free agent fodder, the kind of guys who always float around fantasy leagues, being picked up and dropped more often than a hitchhiker on I-5.

The second group, though, is a whole different breed of cat. Some do it with speed (Parker, Stoudamire, Paul, Iverson), and some do it with smarts (Hinrich, Williams, Cassell), but all of them (with the puzzling exception of Jameer Nelson) are top-echelon point guards.

Which all speaks to the following; when the case history of the 2007-08 SuperSonics is written, and an analysis of the team’s needs is ascertained, it won’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that a new point guard is desperately needed.

Wednesday, December 19

Graphically Speaking

For today's class, we're going to do a little comparison of Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. To aid in the discussion, here are 4 graphs comparing the start of each player's career. The blue line is for Durant, the pink for Anthony.

1. Points

2. Minutes
3. Rebounds
4. Field Goal Attempts

So, what can we learn from these examples. Here are a few points I gleaned from looking at the data:
1. I had thought the Sonics were playing Durant too much and he was getting far too many shot attempts. In fact, numerous media members concurred, at least in regard to the shots, saying that it was causing a bit of a problem on the roster (the whole young fella getting too much too soon thing, you know). But when you compare KD to Melo, you can plainly see that Durant's numbers are almost interchangable with Anthony's.
2. On the negative side, while Anthony's point totals increased as the season progressed, Durant's have not. However, they are both small sample sizes, too small to draw significant conclusions.
And that's about it. Most importantly, I think it's clear that Durant has been Melo's equal thus far in his career, which bodes well for the future. Well, except for rebounding. And hair. Anthony's all over him in that.

Tuesday, December 18

Reignman in the Rafters?

Our pal Mike Seely over at the Seattle Weekly has brought up an excellent question: Should Shawn Kemp have his number retired?

For me, it's a no-brainer. Kemp and Gary Payton were the heart and soul of Seattle basketball during arguably the greatest era in Sonics history.

I'm as nostalgic about the '79 World Champs as anyone, but The Reignman and The Glove ruled this city for nearly a decade and if not for His Royal Airness, would have easily won a championship (and probably could have trounced the '78 and '79 Bullets as well).

I say, raise number 40 and 20 high in the rafters--but maybe after Clay and his gang leave town. Those creeps don't deserve an invite to the highlight reel party.

Friday, December 14

Roid Rage

photo from
Don’t know if you heard, but there’s a big story brewing about steroids and major league baseball. I think the major news sites might have some coverage of it, so check it out.

And, I’m sure, every other blog in the NBA universe is asking, “What about this league? Why don’t we hear about NBA players being accused of steroid abuse?” It’s a legitimate question, but, honestly, if you want to read about that topic, look elsewhere.

Why? Because I don’t care about steroids. Or cocaine. Or marijuana. Or any drug any man decides to put into his body. It’s none of my business, and as long as he’s not driving a bus or flying a plane, it doesn’t affect my life.

But let’s focus on the steroid aspect for a moment. My question to all the media hyperventilating in their rush for the moral high ground: Why does it matter that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens (allegedly) use steroids? Why have we decided that this is important? You have to go to the root of the situation, to my way of thinking, which is, why were steroids banned in the first place?

The story goes back to German weightlifters (shocking!) in the 1950s, who suddenly burst onto the Olympic scene and began taking medals away from Russians and Americans. (To be honest, the story goes back to the late 1800s, when some scientists discovered that injecting themselves with dog testosterone helped their muscles. But I’m looking at athletics here, so we’ll leave that for another day). By 1972, the IOC was testing for steroids, and while those tests were always behind the curve in catching the users, by the late 1980s more sophisticated tests were in place, enabling the IOC to nail people like Ben Johnson, as well as seemingly everyone who ever competed in the Olympics under either a West or East German flag (okay, not everyone; there was a swimmer who didn’t get punished, but that’s because his name used to be Janet).

So, obviously, steroids were banned because they gave some people an unfair advantage over others. That’s the long and short of it. They created an unlevel playing field, and that bugged those who weren’t taking the drugs.

But let me ask you, is there now or has there ever been a level playing field in this world? Is it fair that Canada dominates at the Winter Olympics and the African nations struggle, simply because of climate? Is it fair that Kenyan runners train in high altitudes because of their geographic location, enabling them to dominate long distant events? Is it fair that American athletes get billions of dollars on training equipment, professional coaches, and luxurious facilities, while 90% of the other athletes in the Olympics are lucky to get a sandwich and some guy whose uncle read a book about Jesse Owens to train them?

Of course it isn’t, and that’s why this whole steroids thing ticks me off. Take Mo Sene as an example. The per capita income in Senegal is $1,400. $1,400! Are you telling me that Sene had even 1/100th the training as a child that Ray Allen or Wally Szczerbiak or Luke Ridnour? Is it fair that he never got anything remotely resembling professional training until he was old enough to vote, while the rest of the league has been practicing in leagues and schools since they were old enough to walk?

And yet, if Sene was discovered to have taken steroids next week, he would be the one accused of using an unlevel playing field to boost his play. It’s just ridiculous and I’m tired of hearing about it.

After all, imagine what would happen if the Olympic committees and professional leagues decided tomorrow that, fine, we can’t police this stuff, and we’re tired of this whole debacle. Go ahead, stick needles in your asses and drink testosterone cocktails. It’s all legal, and we’re not going to stop you. What would happen?

Honestly, I have no idea, except that this charade of people pretending to care about the “integrity of the sport” – one of the great idiocies of the 21st century – would finally, thankfully, fall to the wayside.

Thursday, December 13

Get fit with . . . Mickael Gelabale?!

No, really! Check out the hilarious video over at the Seattle Weekly blog. (Thanks to Damon for the tip!)

Oh, and to those sending me e-mails wondering why I haven't posted much lately, my basement flooded last week, so I've been a little busy. The carpet is a loss, but luckily my collection of Xavier McDaniel Starting Lineup figures was spared.

Now that the basement is somewhat stable, the Supersonicsoul Train should be back on track on a daily basis. As long as Nussbaum's igloo doesn't collapse up in Canada.

A New Hope?

Seattle SuperSonics' Kevin Durant, center, puts up a shot against New York Knicks' Eddy Curry, left, Fred Jones, second from right, and David Lee in the second quarter during their NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 12 , 2007 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Durant scored 30 points and the Sonics won 117-110. <br />(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)Just when I'm ready to give up on these Sonics, they pull me back in.

After getting their internal organs handed to them on Tuesday, the Sonics bounced back last night with a big win over the Knicks. Granted, it was the Knicks, but at this point, I'll take what I can get.

And if that weren't enough to shine up your jinglebells, on the front page of today's P.I. is a story about two potential new players in the effort to keep the Sonics in Seattle. Of course, the story is about 85 percent speculation but, again, I'll take what I can get.

Thursday, December 6

Enjoy It

Seattle SuperSonics' Kevin Durant, right, is fouled while driving to the basket by Los Angeles Clippers' Paul Davis in a NBA basketball game during the second half Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2007 in Seattle. Durant scored 18 points in the SuperSonics 95-88 victory over the Clippers. <br />(AP Photo/Jim Bryant)
"Ask, and it shall be given you."
-Matthew 7:7

Playing a team in the second of a back-to-back, and a beat-up, mediocre team at that, this would have been a crusher to lose. Thankfully, Nick Collison and his 18-17 performance didn't let it happen and the Sonics (somewhat) cruised to a 95-88 win at the Key on Wednesday night.

A cynic would point to Earl Watson's -1 performance as indicative of his ineptitude, but in fairness to Watson, the majority of the negative numbers came at the latter stages of the fourth quarter, when the Clippers made a run to make the score respectable. Of note, Luke Ridnour is expected to practice today and return to action - possibly - against the Bucks on Friday night. Which is fortunate, inasmuch as Delonte West may not be available due to plantar fasciitis.

Kevin Durant put up his second consecutive sub-par game, but we should note that KD has yet to go more than three games this season without scoring 20 points. Of course, he has also yet to go three games without putting up at least 15 shots, but that's another story.

Monday, December 3

Stormy Weather

When Meriwether Lewis and William Clark completed their transcontinental voyage to the Pacific Ocean in 1805, they wintered on the Oregon Coast. Having never spent a winter in the Northwest, the pair and their crew had no idea what was to come.

Days and weeks of rain and the less than balmy weather combined to ruin their spirits – so much so that Lewis was to claim later that that winter was tougher than almost any other part of the expedition.

Northwest winters are uniquely dispiriting, and when your local sports teams offer: 1) a woeful Pac-10 team, 2) a mediocre NFL team which will win its division in spite of itself, and 3) an NBA team bent on fleeing the city, it doesn’t get any easier.

The Sonics’ case is especially tough to endure. As someone who has rooted for this team for more than two decades, through some bad but mostly good times, I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say this year’s squad is the least interesting of them all.

Sonic history is littered with enjoyable teams, both good and bad. But for a team to grab a city’s heart, it must make an emotional attachment, it must have a personality. Even the more recent Sonic vintages, the Allen and Lewis gang, were still able to reach us because of the greatness of those two players.

But this year’s team? I’m not buying it. It is the combination of two factors: the seemingly bright future of the franchise combined with the likeliness that none of us will ever reap the joy. That agonizing irony pervades everything related to this edition of the Sonics.

After all, why should we get emotionally involved with a team which will leave us when it’s ready to become exciting again? Even worse, what if they stay and Clay Bennett claims a massive financial reward (i.e., a new facility) in exchange for his extortion? Can we divorce our disgust at his machinations from our affinity for the team?

Perhaps I’m expecting too much from the Sonics. As a boy, it was easy to transpose my team’s greatness with my own, but I’m old enough now to know better. As adults, we’re able to hide the silliness of rooting for a bunch of strangers behind the pure enjoyment of the rooting. But when the people running the very organization for which we’re rooting blatantly destroy that organization, it becomes difficult to hide the foolishness of the whole situation.

I know people in Oklahoma City will think this to be reflective of Seattle’s overall apathetic attitude for this ongoing saga. Their eagerness for the Sonics is supposed to trump our big city blase, but that’s only because they have yet to experience the pain of watching a team you’ve supported through eight presidential administrations being used as the knot in a game of tug of war.

Make no mistake, this is a terrible team. A 3-15 record does not happen by fluke any more than a 15-3 one does. But there is more to it than that. Even before Mr. Bennett has backed up the moving vans to the KeyArena doors, it seems as though the Sonics – the Sonics we know anyway – may have already left.

Wednesday, November 28

Seattle under suicide watch as Sonics lose again.

I'm too depressed to write about it. I'll let Yahoo! fill you in on the gruesome details:
Rookie Kevin Durant had 25 points for Seattle, 12 of them in the final 6:05. But it wasn't enough to overcome a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit.

"They made it closer than I thought they were going to," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I didn't like the way we finished up. We had a 15-point lead, then we were wandering around defensively and started doing some things I didn't like. It's the sign of a young team that's still unbridled and still undisciplined. I'm not happy with that game, but it was a win."

The Sonics are a league-worst 2-13 in their first season under coach P.J. Carlesimo -- matching the poorest start in franchise history. They began their inaugural 1967-68 season 2-14 under Al Bianchi. Seattle has lost 14 consecutive games against Western Conference teams, including five last season.

Read the rest (if you dare) here.

Wednesday, November 21

Sonics Drinking Game

Our pals at the Seattle Weekly have come up with the ultimate Sonics Drinking Game. My liver will hate me in the morning. (Thanks to Chunkstyle for the tip!)

Tuesday, November 20

Another Blowout Loss

The Memphis Grizzlies have three wins this season.

Two of them are against the Sonics.

In their continuing role as a cold and flu remedy for the bug-ridden members of the NBA, the Sonics got pummeled 125-108 in Memphis on Monday night. Delonte West led the Supes with 17 points, but 14 of those came in the 4th quarter when the game was far out of reach. The Grizzlies' guard tandems of Damon Stoudamire, Kyle Lowry, and Juan Carlos Navarro were too fast, too good, and too much for Earl Watson and West, and when you add in the Sonics lack of an interior presence, it was over before it started.

Thankfully, it's only one game. Unfortunately, the Sonics are now 2-10, and the flight home from Memphis must have been a doozy.

On a side note, last night's affair was graced with the presence of 10,863 Grizzly fans. Remind me again why it is the Sonics who are the poster child for the ills of this league?

Monday, November 19


I found this story from TNT's Eric Williams an interesting read.

Williams quotes PJ Carlesimo at length regarding the latitude he is providing Jeff Green and Kevin Durant on offense, not to mention the rest of the team. Carlesimo explains his free-handed reign by referencing the way in which Tony Parker was allowed to run the offense his rookie season in San Antonio in spite of the numerous mistakes he often made.

What made me curious was the complete lack of laissez faire attitude when it comes to one Mo Sene. Sene, now in his second season in Seattle, has failed to take off his warm-up jacket in 9 of the Sonics first 11 games.

Now, I'm not going to say that Sene is a brilliant young player who is being buried on the Sonics' bench. He is, however, 21 years old, 6'11", strong, and with long arms. If PJ is willing to abide the mistakes of Green and Durant, why not Sene?

Inasmuch as the Sonics are writing off this season for rebuilding, would it kill them to play last year's first-round pick, oh, I don't know, maybe once a week? How is benching him for the entirety of the season helping him develop? Is Sam Presti working on a trade proposal with another club desperate to pay someone $1 million a year to sit on the bench? Does Sene have work visa issues with the State of Washington which preclude him from working within the state lines? Because after 11 games this year, he has yet to play at KeyArena.

Hey, this season isn't about the playoffs, we understand. But considering that Sene has the possibility of being a decent back-up center in this league, if for defensive purposes only, why can't we give the kid a chance? Are you telling me that he can't fill an Olden Polynice-type role in the future?

It's all well and good to say you're giving players "their freedom," when the players in question are Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, but how about extending that freedom to some of the other guys on the roster?

Friday, November 16

Falling, Falling

If you’re looking for a silver lining in a Sonic season covered in mud, here it is.

Last night, my alma mater, the University of Oregon, the #2 ranked team in the nation, a team on the verge of combining a national championship game with a Heisman Trophy in a single, glorious season, lost all of it in the span of 10 seconds.

It’s one thing for Ohio State, USC, LSU, or any of the other perennial powerhouses to blow their shot at a national title. After all, those schools are borderline professional football teams, and their chance at a championship comes annually. Likewise, Heisman Trophies grow like weeds in an untended garden for those lucky universities.

For Oregon, these opportunities come once a century, and Dennis Dixon’s injured knee in the first quarter of a game the Ducks were dominating ended it all. We – as fans – fell from the heights of the Rose or Sugar Bowls to the depths of the Holiday Bowl in moments. It was a dizzying plunge.

So, here’s your silver lining, Sonic fans. As fans of a team with no shot at anything this year, we have nowhere to fall. With an ownership and a league hell-bent on taking our team and with a roster riddled with questions, rehabs, and inadequacies, we have nowhere to go but up.

Remember the pain in your stomach we all felt when the Sonics would annually lose in the first round, the tension you’d get as the Sonics fell behind 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, then the urge to vomit after they lost a series they should have won?

Well, that pain is gone now, and there’s no chance of it this year. As bad as rooting for a 1-8 team is, and it is bad, perhaps it’s not as painful as rooting for a team which disappoints you.

At least, that’s what I’m telling myself this morning.

Thursday, November 15

Ah, Bud

This has nothing to do with the Sonics or the NBA, but, well, it's our blog, so you'll just have to indulge me.
At the precise moment I looked at Sports Illustrated's home page with a massive photo of Barry Bonds and the associated story on his indictment, there was a story with this headline located immediately to the right of the photo:

"Selig: Baseball's revenue tops $6 billion mark"

Folks, if you can't see the arrow joining those two stories together, well, you're just not trying. Say what you want about Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa, but those three gentlemen have one hell of a lot more to do with the present fiscal health of major league baseball than Bud Selig, and everyone in baseball knows it.
Either baseball and the press were derelict in their duties and knew nothing about the steroid situation many years ago, or their hands are now covered with so much blood they're having trouble endorsing their (sizable) checks.

Seen & Heard

I haven't been keeping up with rumors about Sonic players and trades lately, simply because it's hard enough to keep up with all the losses.

But I found a couple of rumors out there that were of passing interest.

1. Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald in Chicago writes: "So this is all a pipe dream, but a player such as Seattle's Wally Szczerbiak would look good atop the Bulls' wish list. Last week, he scored 32 points and hit 12 of 16 shots in a game at Sacramento. But Szczerbiak has little future with the rebuilding Sonics. He played nine minutes in a loss to Utah three days later.
The bad news is Szczerbiak makes $12 million this season and $13 million next season. He'll be an attractive mid-level exception candidate, but not until 2009."

2. John Denton of the Florida Today writes: "Some power forwards or centers who the Magic might have interest in trading for include: Michael Doleac, Mark Madsen, Wayne Simien, Robert Swift, Saer Sene, Calvin Booth, Lorenzen Wright, Earl Barron, Melvin Ely, Johan Petro, Jarron Collins, Aaron Williams and Brian Skinner."

Yikes, that's one scary list, and further reinforces the notion that if you have a young son, you should be strapping his legs to a stretching apparturs every night. Because, quite clearly, no matter how bad you are, if you are 7' tall, there will always be a job for you.


Finally, the Sonics grabbed a win. I never thought I’d be happy with a 1-8 record, but, well, when the alternative is 0-9, I suppose happy is the way to be.

Unfortunately, it appears Luke Ridnour is out for two to four weeks. In a way, it helps Carlesimo by reducing his options at the point, but the way Earl Watson has shot the ball this year, it really reduces his options to one (Delonte West). Luckily, West offset Watson last night in Miami (Watson: -1, West: +9; seriously, how bad do you have to play to finish at -1 as the starting point guard when your team wins by 9?).

In any event, it’ll be Watson and West for the next month or so, and Gary Washburn muses in the PI that it’s possible the Sonics will look to add a temporary body while Ridnour recovers.

“Paging Mateen Cleaves, Mateen Cleaves please answer the white courtesy phone ...”

But before we get to fat and happy with last night’s win, remember that:

- The Sonics were outscored 54-43 in the second half
- The Sonics had 16 turnovers and 14 fouls in the second half

Those are discouraging signs, and, maybe I’m crazy, but it seems to be that the only reason the Sonics didn’t blow a lead as they had so many times this season was twofold:

1. The lead was too big
2. The Heat are just too lousy

Whatever the case, the credit for last night’s win has to go to Chris Wilcox, who finished at +24 on the night. and Nick Collison, who scored five of Seattle’s 11 in an 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter, throwing in four rebounds and an assist for good measure.

(And kudos to Percy Allen for getting Chris Wilcox to comment on the mystery of being left off the all-star ballot. Somebody at the NBA office has some explaining to do why Wilcox is off and people like Wally Szczerbiak, Luis Scola, and Luke Walton are in).

Sonics Win! Sonics Win!

MIAMI - NOVEMBER 14: The Seattle SuperSonics celebrate against the Miami Heat on November 14, 2007 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2007 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)<br />NBAE/Getty Images

Read the glorious details here.

Wednesday, November 14

Clash of the Not So Titans

Tonight's affair in Miami is sure to be one of the ugliest in recent memories. Two teams, one win between them, it's not exactly something that NBA TV is cuing up to record for posterity.

In Miami's lone win, they only managed to score 75 in a 3-point "win" over the hapless Knicks. In that game, the Heat shot 28% from beyond the arc, 55% from the line, and yet still came out of NYC with a victory. It will take that same kind of effort for Miami to knock off the even more hapless Sonics.

How bad are these two teams? So bad that the networks will have to run a parental advisory graphic before the game starts so that young children won't mistakenly view it. So bad that neither team is likely to crack 100 points, this despite the fact the Sonics' defense is indefensible.

Stop me, I'm starting to sound like Steve Kelley.

Really. I am.

In happier news, JA Adande of has a nice read about why the NBA should consider moving the Hornets to OKC and leave the Sonics the hell alone. It's walking on thin ice to suggest that sort of thing because of Katrina, but his argument has merit.

Pick for tonight: Heat 89-Sonics 83. Eyes gauged from Coral Gables to Puyallup.

Making a Fresh Start

I started thinking about the effect this 0-8 start would have on Kevin Durant. It can’t be easy starting your professional career with 8 losses, can it? Is he moping around his apartment, calling his friends back in Austin, watching NBA highlights to see what the other first-rounders are doing this year? Maybe watching old videos on YouTube of when he was on the winning team?

It all got me to thinking, though, how have the other top picks in the NBA draft fared in their first ten games? (And, yes, I am aware that Greg Oden was the top pick, but since he’s not playing, I consider Durant the top overall pick for this year). Since those folks were probably on lousy teams, hence the high draft choice, did they struggle as badly as Durant's Sonics? Well, here’s the list, from 1980 to the present.

First 10 games of top overall picks in the NBA draft:

2006: Andrea Bargnani, 2-8
2005: Andrew Bogut, 6-4
2004: Dwight Howard, 6-4
2003: LeBron James, 3-7
2002: Yao Ming, 6-4
2001: Kwame Brown, 2-8
2000: Kenyon Martin, 6-4
1999: Elton Brand, 1-9 (started year 0-5)
1998: Michael Olowokandi, 0-10 (started year 0-17!)
1997: Tim Duncan, 7-3
1996: Allen Iverson, 4-6
1995: Joe Smith, 3-7
1994: Glenn Robinson, 5-5
1993: Chris Webber, 4-6
1992: Shaquille O’Neal, 7-3
1991: Larry Johnson, 2-8
1990: Derrick Coleman, 2-8
1989: Pervis Ellison, 3-7
1988: Danny Manning, 4-6
1987: Armon Gilliam, 4-6
1986: Brad Daugherty, 3-7
1985: Patrick Ewing, 2-8
1984: Hakeem Olajuwon, 8-2
1983: Ralph Sampson, 3-7
1982: James Worthy, 7-3
1981: Mark Aguirre, 1-9
1980: Joe Barry Carroll, 6-4

The breakdown is as follows:
8 wins: 1 (Olajuwon)
7 wins: 3 (O’Neal, Duncan)
6 wins: 5
5 wins: 1
4 wins: 4
3 wins: 5
2 wins: 5
1 win: 2
0 wins: 1

Sadly, the one “no win” contender is also the biggest bust of the past two decades, Olowokandi. However, Elton Brand has fared just fine, thank you, despite the 1-9 start to his career, and Mark Aguirre was no bust, either. Of note, the three best finishes belonged to the three best players (Hakeem, Shaq, and Duncan). Unless, of course, you consider Joe Barry Carroll the best, in which case you must be a former Golden State Warriors executive, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Does it mean anything? Probably not, but just thought I’d throw it out there.

Did You Know?

Here's some trivia for you. PJ Carlesimo's last attempt at "guiding" an NBA team came in 1999, when the Warriors canned the bearded one after 27 games.

Did you know? The Warriors started out the year 2-16, and that woeful start included an 11-game losing streak? Which means that in the last 35 games PJ has coached he's won the grand total of six?

Yeah, I'm not too excited about the rest of the season, either. But at least when PJ tells the guys in the lockerroom, "Hey, it could be worse," he knows from which he speaks.

Eight is Enough

In the popcorn machine of life, last night's loss to the Orlando Magic was a entire bag full of duds.

The Sonics put on their worst display of the season in the first game of a five-game road trip that has gotten ugly almost before it has started. While it wasn't the worst game in Orlando in team history (you'll recall the game of two years ago when 3 or 4 guys got food poisoning and only 7 or 8 players dressed), it was plenty bad enough. To wit:

- Kevin Durant: As many turnovers (4) as field goals made

- 3 Point Guards: Combined 3 of 19 from the field (!)

- Team: 2 of 10 from 3-point range

- Kurt Thomas: 4 fouls, 4 points

I could go on, but there's no point. Even Magic fans aren't celebrating this one: "It's not that we played well enough to win this game, but rather that Seattle played horridly enough to lose it." (courtesy of Third Quarter Collapse's Ben Q Rock).

Tuesday, November 13


With Seattle taking on long-time Sonic Rashard Lewis tonight, it made me think of other events in the team’s history. Here’s a quick recap of how three legendary Sonics fared in their first games against their former team:

January 2, 2004 – Gary Payton
Payton was dealt to the Bucks in Feb. of 2003, and in a bizarre twist of fate was a member of the Bucks when they played the Sonics the next day (or was it the same day?). In any event, GP wasn’t eligible for that game, and his return had to wait until 2004, when the Sonics played the Lakers in Seattle. The Glove didn’t disappoint, rattling off a 24-5-5 effort. However, Ray Allen’s 35 points were enough to power the Sonics to a 111-109 win at the Key.

January 8, 1998 – Shawn Kemp
Kemp’s first game against the Sonics came in Cleveland, and his 9 points were a disappointment to him, I’m sure, as was the 109-84 beatdown the Sonics put on the Cavs. However, Kemp still outscored Jim McIlvaine 9-0.

February 11, 2003 – Vin Baker
You might have missed this one, but Boston’s bizarre 82-76 win against the Sonics in Seattle featured 9 points from Vinny, as well as a 7 (!) point third quarter from the victorious Celtics. An ugly game befitting Baker’s ugly tenure and departure from Seattle.

Yeah, I've Heard of Him

Not sure if you've heard, but the Sonics are taking on Rashard Lewis and the Magic tonight. As you would expect, the old Sonic vs new Sonic angle is the one employed by the beat writers.

Lewis is living the high life for now, and the Sonics are, well, not exactly doing so great. 0-7 and off to the worst start in the franchise's history, Rashard must be thinking he made exactly the right decision. Add in Ray Allen's start with Boston, and the two former Sonic stars are a combined 10-2 this season. I'm guessing the Sonics will reach that 10-win plateau some time around Valentine's Day. At least, I hope so.

In other news, Eric Williams reports that Bob Swift is back on the injured list due to tendinitis in his right knee. As Williams points out, this is not entirely unexpected. On the positive side, Kurt Thomas looked just fine in Sunday's loss to the Pistons, putting up 10 points and 7 boards in fewer than 20 minutes of action.

As a side note to Sunday's loss, all five starters racked up negative +/- numbers, while all five bench players racked up positive ones. Of note, Earl Watson earned a DNP, with no injuries that I could find out about. Amazing how the point guard rotation has gone thus far, and you've got to wonder how long it's going to take for one of the three amigos to be dealt.

Monday, November 12


It's difficult for civilians to appreciate the horrors of war, even moreso when those horrors occured nearly 100 years ago. Just as most of us can't fathom the work that goes into being a professional athlete, for those who haven't seen a gun aimed at them, or seen a man with half of his body blown off, it is impossible to comprehend what a soldier goes through.

So, today is a day to try and show some empathy to those soldiers. Veterans Day, or Remembrance Day as it is known in Canada, was never about honoring generals or sergeants or presidents, it was about honoring the privates that were forced to endure unspeakable conditions for the sake of wars they had little or no understanding.

I find that in reading books about World War I, it becomes difficult after awhile to digest the numbers. 1,000,000 men killed in this year, 300,000 at this battle, and so on. It just is too much to take, to comprehend. So perhaps if I single out one battle, one day, we, as fans of basketball, might be able to understand it a little bit better.

On July 1, 1916, the British army attempted to break through the line of German defenses along the River Somme in France. It was a controversial decision made by Britain's General Doug Haig, and a costly one. By the end of that first day of fighting, 20,000 men had been killed.

Think about what 20,000 men means. In the entire history of the NBA, if you added up all the players who donned a uniform, you wouldn't get to 20,000. Not even close.

Which means that the equivalent of every player, from Steve Nash to Oscar Robertson, from Shaquille O'Neal to George Mikan, was killed in the span of one day. The equivalent to the entire history of this great and wonderful league disappeared by the time the sun had set. Those men were as beloved to their families as the NBA players are to theirs, their lives meant as much as any NBA players did, and they all died in within 24 hours.

And, on the whole, the Battle of the Somme pales in comparison to other tragedies in World War I, such as Verdun, where the French gave so many lives entire armies were wiped out, or the Eastern Front, where Russians died by the millions.

Don't misunderstand me; war is an unspeakable obscenity on the face of mankind. Two-thirds of the men who died in WWI died for little or no reason, forced into battle by idiot generals who cared more about gaining 150 yards of territory than the lives of the men they commanded. And the same goes for most battles in most wars. War is never just, only deadly. We honor today not those who ordered men into war, but those who had to carry out those orders.

So, in the midst of a miserable season for fans of Sonic basketball, allow your thoughts to drift, for just one day, to what happened 90 years ago on some fields in France and Belgium. Yes, the situation in Seattle this year is lousy, but, quite honestly, it's really not that important, now is it.

Friday, November 9

Where Are They Now - Sam Perkins

Former Seattle Supersonics forward Big Smooth Sam Perkins
If you don’t love Sam Perkins, well, you just don’t love the Sonics.

With the possible exception of Fred Brown, I think Sam Perkins was the most beloved player in the history of the Sonics. Let me clarify that thought, since it might seem a bit confusing.

Every player has plusses and minuses. Some people might have disliked Shawn Kemp for the way he seemed to never quite be everything we wanted him to be. Gary Payton always bugged certain folks because of his attitude, or because of the way he treated younger players. Dale Ellis, well, his run-ins with the law and the bottle certainly bothered more than a few fans, and on down the line.

What I’m trying to say is that everyone liked Sam Perkins. The Big Smooth was just that, smooth. His motions on the court never made you think of anyone else remotely associated with basketball. His nonchalance reminded you only of a 75-year-old man making a left turn in a Cadillac – Sam was going to hit the three, you knew he was going to hit the three, he would do it when he was damn well and ready, and there wasn’t anything you could do about it.

Perkins also did all the little things that you wouldn’t expect from a man with his size and talent. Need points on a baby hook in the paint? Turn to Sam. Need someone to help on defense, grab a rebound, make the right pass, set a screen? Turn to Sam.

Always ready with a smile or a chuckle, Perkins made it all seem like fun, and that endeared him to a generation of fans. Add in his work with pediatric AIDS charities in Seattle, his time with KUBE as a DJ, hey, the guy was just loved.

So it comes with no surprise that Sam Perkins is still doing the right thing. While many other retired players search for meaning in their post-athletic lives, Perkins is involved with Nothing But Nets, a charity which strives to bring more mosquito netting to Africans, thereby reducing the deadly spread of malaria. Perkins even has a blog on the campaign’s website.

But Perkins doesn’t stop there. He volunteers his time to work with the Special Olympics, as you can see from this touching interview from ABC News. In addition to helping the team stateside, Perkins traveled to China for the Olympics in early October, lending his expertise to a group that surely treasured every word. In addition, Big Smooth also works with Basketball Without Borders and a number of other charities too many to list here.

You know, sometimes, great players are miserable human beings, and fans become disillusioned by their off-court actions. There’s nothing wrong with that, and there is nothing about being a tremendous athlete that requires a level of civic awareness higher than that of the average person. After all, how many of your co-workers, family, or friends donates weekend after weekend at the soup kitchen?

Then you have Sam Perkins. A very good player on the court, Perkins has dwarfed his accomplishments as a basketball player with his accomplishments as a man.

Where is Sam Perkins Now? From what I can tell, he’s right where he wants to be.

Stern and Bennett: Get a room!

"I now pronounce you Duke of Douchebagia!"

The Love fest continues.

As Nussbaum pointed out earlier, NBA commish David "Step Stool" Stern and Sonics Stealer Clay "Big Boy" Bennett have been rather chummy of late. The Stern One even took time out from his busy schedule of crushing the dreams of children to bestow some sort of evil medallion on the over-stuffed Okie.

Ain't love sweet?

Honestly, has there ever been a more disgusting pair of evil doers? OK, besides those guys. This whole thing has got me this close to tuning out the NBA for good. Where's the ABA when you need 'em?

At least Art Thiel hasn't given up hope. My favorite Seattle sports scribe was on KPLU this morning and talked about how the Sonics might stay in town after all.

Make up your mind, peoples — I'm dying here!

Monday, November 5

Where Are They Now: Jimmy Mac

Saying the words “Jim McIlvaine” to a Sonic fan more than twelve years of age is tantamount to saying “Dick Cheney” in front of a democrat – them’s fightin’ words, bud.

Ah, McIlvaine: So hated by so many for so little. So little performance, that is. His $5 million a year contract sounds like peanuts now, but it was that contract which contributed to the downfall of an entire roster, ushering in more than a decade of organizational ineptitude (thanks, guys!), that only now appears to be clearing up.

But that is, thank goodness, the past. What does the present hold for the man who made an entire region so angry?

Broadcasting, for one. McIlvaine is the color commentator for Marquette’s men’s basketball team, and also writes a blog (“Chronicles from the bizarre world of Jim McIlvaine”)for the ESPN affiliate in Milwaukee. He even weighed in on the Sonics’ situation in one blog entry (and, thankfully, he doesn’t take Clay Bennett’s side).

Photography, for another. The former center has done work for Popular Hotrodding and GM High-Tech Performance, and even wrote a piece for

And, as if that wasn’t enough, McIlvaine hosts a summer camp for children called Camp Anokijig, located about an hour north of Milwaukee. Oh, and he had a bit part in the movie, “Shallow Hal.” Yes, I know, I missed it, too.

So, there you go. Jim McIlvaine: broadcaster, photographer, writer, actor, summer camp president. I guess it shows that you can make alot of your life even when things get tough. Of course, it helps when you make $5 million a year for half a decade, but still.

Before I go, here’s a quote from McIlvaine I found especially enjoyable (taken from Is there any college player out there right now that reminds you a lot of yourself?

Jim McIlvaine: Not really, they're all better than me.

Can’t say the man isn’t honest.

Sonics + A-Rod = Greedy Mofos

Fox Sports has a great article about the A-Rod-Boras-Bennett Axis of Evil:
Over the last decade Seattle dropped $6.2 million dollars a year to watch the Sonics. Talk about getting hosed. Does Bennett want more seats? Nope. More luxury boxes? Nope. He wants Seattle to shell out a whopping $220 million for new restaurants, shops and a practice court. All essential tools to building a championship caliber team. Especially the shops. One question remains, where will Clay park his yacht in Oklahoma?

Read the rest here.
You're preaching to the choir, my friend!

Friday, November 2

Bennett makes his move

KIRO radio just reported that Bubba Bennett has released a press release that (big surprise!) he's moving the team to Oklahoma. This, of course, comes on the heels of the other big announcement today that there is a group of local businessmen who want to buy the team.

Read the entire press release here.

More updates as the day goes on . . .

Thursday, November 1

Plans for tonight?

OK, so the Sonics lost their opener last night. Big whoop. Tonight's another night, and we here at Supersonicsoul are hoping everyone goes out to support the team tonight in what may be the last Sonics home opener in Seattle history.

In case you missed it yesterday, Chunkstyle thoughtfully provided us with a good way to help celebrate the Sonics without celebrating the evil men who own them. Print them. Wear them. Make us proud.

And after the game, come across the street to Mainstage Comedy (across from the Team Store), where I'm headlining a great comedy show.

See you tonight, kids!

Wednesday, October 31

Opening Night Cartoon: Ooh, SCARY!

Print and clip your choice of Vanilla or Lime Flavor!

I know, it's too easy. Halloween, Clay Bennett, arena deal deadline, general creepiness... The story and pictures practically make themselves. Although, after looking at/working on this into the wee hours, it started to look like frickin' Greg Nickels to me.

Anyway, we hope you enjoy this, whether you think it looks like Clay, Greg, KOMO anchor Dan Lewis, or whoever. Happy Halloween and GO SONICS!

Tuesday, October 30

Artest Determines Sonics' PG

Whaa? Yes, you read that right. According to PJ Carlesimo (gleaned from Kevin Pelton's blog at, Earl Watson is in the lead to be the starting point guard for the Sonics on opening night, and one of the main reasons is the mask Luke Ridnour is wearing after Ron Artest boffed him in the nose in the first pre-season game of the season (wow, that sentence was waaaaay too long).

Anyhow, as was evident in the Suns game, Frodo is having trouble getting used to the mask, and it's inhibiting his play. Pelton also muses that Damien Wilkins will likely start as well, meaning the first lineup of the year could look something like

C - Nick Collison
PF - Chris Wilcox
SF - Kevin Durant
SG - Damien Wilkins
PG - Earl Watson

Of course, Durant's slightly injured left ankle could play a role, and it's possible Bob Swift will have recovered enough to merit a start, but that's the five I would expect to see, with West, Wally, and Thomas the first three off the bench.

We've got a load road to hoe (ho? heaux?), but it appears that's how it looks like it will start.

Thursday, October 25

Sonics Lose (Again)

Stop me if you've heard it all before ...

As in the previous loss to Golden State, the Sonics led or were close the entire game, then came up short at the end. This time Brandon Roy played the assassin, but it all added up to the sixth loss in seven games.

Of note, Earl Watson sat out (no injury reported, and Eric Williams at TNT figured it was due to getting more time at the point for Ridnour and West), Petro got some run, and, as always, showed some talent and more frustration, Mo Sene collected dust on the bench, Ridnour put up good numbers (8 assists, 0 turnovers), and Mickael Gelabale had one of his best games this pre-season with 15 points on 5 of 6 shooting.

On the Kevin Durant front, he will definitely miss the Friday night affair with Phoenix, and his status for opening night against Denver is up in the air. Some reports say he'll play, others say he'll sit. For the sake of all the folks who bought tickets, I hope he can be there. In what promises to be an uncomfortable season for Sonic fans off the court, it would be nice if a few things fell our way on the court.

Wednesday, October 24


Thought you might be curious to see what expects from the Sonics this season. According to their fantasy player projections for the 07/08 season, here’s our roster:

C – Bob Swift, 5.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.5 blocks
PF – Chris Wilcox, 11.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg
SF – Kevin Durant, 19.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.5 assists, 2.7 turnovers, 1.1 steals, 1.2 blocks (“His field-goal percentage will be poor as he will be asked to take so many shots and defenses will key on him.”)
SG – Damien Wilkins, 7.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.6 assists
PG – Delonte West, 10.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.8 assists, 1.0 steals (“West's defense and ability to play under control will earn him minutes on a young Seattle team.”)

Luke Ridnour, 9.9 ppg, 5.2 assists, 1.9 turnovers, 1.2 steals (“While he is the best passer (or at least the flashiest) of the Sonics' three point guards, he is by far the worst defender. P.J. Carlesimo replaces Bob Hill, who had a poor relationship with Ridnour, but he will not go easy on Luke's open-door policy on defense.”)
Earl Watson, 8.4 ppg, 4.7 assists, 2 turnovers, 1.1 steals (“As you all know, King Ghidorah was the three-headed arch-nemesis of Godzilla. He was nasty, destroyed cities and benefited no one. Except for the destroying cities part -- though Seattle fans may disagree if the team bolts -- the Sonics point guard situation is very similar.”)
Wally Szczerbiak, 14.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.3 3fgpg (“If, as promised, it keeps the recurring sprains at bay, we could have a great value pick here.”)
Jeff Green, 12 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.1 apg, 2.2 turnovers
Nick Collison, 8.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg
Kurt Thomas, 5.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg

And some other former-Sonic-related projections:

Ray Allen, 22 ppg, 7th best shooting guard
Rashard Lewis, 21.5 ppg, 6th best shooting guard (behind Gerald Wallace; ouch)
Flip Murray, 6.8 ppg

Some observations: This is definitely fantasy-land, because I can’t see Ridnour, Watson, and West averaging a combined 40 points per game this season. Just seems unlikely to me. Also, I think the Green projections are a bit too optimistic, and Wilkins’ numbers should be higher, considering he may wind up being the starting small forward and that Szczerbiak will wind up getting hurt at some point this year.

Interesting to see how they projected Swift; can’t say I can disagree too much. The Wilcox numbers are much too low; I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t average closer to 13 ppg and 7.5 boards.

Durant Injured, Sonics Lose

Ouch. The only thing worse than (another) Sonic loss at this point is a Sonic loss combined with an injury to Kevin Durant.

Fortunately, it appears Durant's sprained ankle isn't serious (he tells Gary Washburn that he'll be ready for Opening Night). He suffered the injury with a couple minutes to go in the fourth quarter of last night's OT loss to the Warriors, a loss which dropped the Sonics' pre-season record to 1-5. However, Percy Allen notes on his Times blog that Durant will miss the final two pre-season games, including the game in Vancouver that I get to go to. Thanks alot, Marco Belinelli. I hope you wake up with a horse head on your pillow.

On a brighter note, the insertion of Nick Collison into the starting lineup seemed to help the team's tougness. Granted, the Warriors are not the Rockets when it comes to size (heck, they might even qualify to play in a Filipino league with some of their lineups), but when Collison and Chris Wilcox combine for 21 boards, I'll take it.

Oh, and you can't miss this quote from Don Nelson, brought to you from Percy Allen's blog:

"Seattle is not a good team and they almost beat us tonight so I don't know where that puts us. They're kind of a fun team. They're so young, they're going to suffer early until these young guys learn how to play. ... PJ has a tough job in front of him."

Normally, you'd be angered by reading something like that about your team, but I totally agree with Nelson. As these pre-season games drag on, I am more and more getting the feeling that we could be in for a really l---o---n---g season. I'm talking less than 30 wins kind of bad.

In fact, before I had read Nellie's quote, I had thought about how much money you could make this year by betting the over on Denver and/or Utah's total wins. Portland, Minnesota, and the Sonics are all going to suck royally this season, and the Jazz and Nuggets will be able to reap the benefits over and over again.

Finally, in a sign of how far off the radar Mo Sene, Johan Petro, and Mickael Gelabale have fallen with this coaching staff, the three imports combined for 0 minutes.

In a pre-season game.

With at least two teammates injured.

In overtime.

Au revoir, mes amis.

Tuesday, October 23

Sonics waive Jermaine Jackson, world mourns

The Sonics waived Jermaine Jackson yesterday, prompting basketball fans everywhere to say "Jermaine Jackson plays basketball?".

In tribute to the fallen Sonic, here he is singing that one song from the 80's. You know, the one they used to show on Friday Night Videos? Anyone? Sigh . . .

Friday, October 19

Where Are They Now?

I’ve realized that if I want to continue writing a weekly “Where Are They Now?” piece, I’m going to have to limit the number of folks I look at each week. Otherwise, I’m going to have to run out of people in a couple of months, and by April I’ll be running stories on whatever Sonic is on the disabled list. So, with some prompting from the comments, here is Friday’s Where Are They Now?

HERSEY HAWKINS – If you think of Hersey Hawkins, you either remember him for winning the NBA Citizenship Award, for being traded for Brent Barry, or for being the quiet guy in the background on the great teams of the mid-90s.

The Hawk has been quiet in his retirement, not surprising considering the understated way he played in the NBA. After spending a couple of seasons post-retirement as a color commentator for the Grizzlies (where he served as the predecessor to Michael Cage), the former shooting guard spent 2006-07 as the Varsity Assistant Coach at Estrella Foothills High School in Goodyear, Arizona. A role he will continue this season as well.

Hawkins has two sons on the team, Brandon and Corey (note that this Brandon Hawkins is not that Brandon Hawkins). Interestingly, Corey was not only first-team all state in Arizona as a freshman, but he also found time to be number 2 on the golf team. Brandon is expected to play at the NCAA level, and is rumored to be choosing among USC, Bradley, Tennessee, and a couple of other schools.

Lakers Top Sonics

With less than two weeks before the first game of the season, the Sonics look to be fulfilling the expectations of prognosticators around the country:

That is, they won't be very good this year.

A 20-point loss to the Lakers in Bakersfield last night highlighted: 1) the Sonics lack of an inside presence to stop bigger, stronger big man, especially with Bob Swift still recovering from his injury last year; 2) inconsistent play from young players; 3) some absolutely awful 3-point shooting.

It's ironic that a team known the past few seasons as a chuck-em-up group has totally transformed. Think about it: With whom on this team would you feel comfortable on a last-second 3? Durant? Wilkins? Quite a difference from year's past, when Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, or even Vlad Radmanovic were capable of sinking 5, 6, or 7 threes on a given night.

It's not all gloom and doom, though. Starting this weekend, if Percy Allen's intuition is correct, we'll be seeing more of the regular rotation and less of the free-for-all typical of pre-season games. I'm guessing that means more Nick Collison and Kurt Thomas and less of the French Connection. Seriously, whatever French fans of the Sonics remain, they might consider rooting for another team come November, because it does not appear Mickael Gelabale and Johan Petro are long for this roster.

Thursday, October 18

Viewing Pleasure

Just a reminder that tonight's Sonics-Lakers game will be broadcast on TNT at 7 pm. If you'd rather watch Bob Swift make his triumphant return to Bakersfield than see the Red Sox lose to the Indians, set your viewing plans accordingly. In all honesty, as much as I love baseball, the idea of sitting through 3 hours of Tim McCarver's horrific puns and Joe Buck's daily "Watch How Indignant I Can Get!" spiel is too much. I'm leaning heavily towards an hour of Sonics-Lakers, followed by "The Office" when I start remembering why networks almost never broadcast pre-season games.

Paranoid Bennett hounded by "disturbing fringe elements"

Just when you thought things couldn't get any weirder in Sonicsville . . .

Yesterday, the American Arbitration Association ruled that any arbitration hearings would be held in Seattle instead of Denver, as the Sonics had requested. Hooray for us!

Here's where the weird comes in.

While arguing their case with the AAA, the Sonics filed papers citing "disturbing fringe elements" surrounding the case, and even claimed the team's lawyers had "received threats and other highly charged communications" after taking the case. Wow! Were there threatening calls in the middle of the night? A flaming effigy of Slick Watts?

How about "two anonymous e-mails from the same address".

Now, I don't mean to make light of threatening emails, but C'MON! Nussbaum received more than that after making fun of Steve Nash! These scumbags are trying to steal our freaking team, and they only get TWO NASTY EMAILS?!

I am an avowed pacifist (and registered coward) who would never condone violence or illegal acts of any kind, but frankly, I'm surprised this is all this city could muster up. Couldn't someone at least mail them some sort of legal annoyance, like a lifetime supply of Kenny G albums or something? Where's your passion, Seattle?

Just ask yourself: What would Danny Fortson do? Disturbing fringe elements indeed!

Former Sonic Update

A quick recap of how some former Sonics are faring in the pre-season:

The pre-season hasn't gone as expected for the Magic's big free-agent signing this summer. A bad ankle, cramps in his leg ... it all adds up to two games played and an average of 5 points in those two contests. Ouch.

Like Lewis, Allen has spent much of the pre-season overseas. While Lewis has been in China, Allen's been in Europe, where he's averaged 17.3 ppg in three games. So far at least, the ankle trouble he experienced last season has been a distant memory.

Brown has hooked on with the Grizzlies, where he's contributed 6 ppg and 3.5 rpg in two games. It appears he has a fan in coach Marc Iavaroni, who says he sees a bit of himself when he looks at Brown, who, like Iavaroni, had to get his career started overseas before returning home.

It seems like ages ago the Sonics were frustrated by the 3-point-shooting big man, but it hasn't been that long since his bizarre hairstyles were coasting up and down the court. Radman has had a banner pre-season for the Lakers, leading the club with 16 ppg to go along with 5 boards a night. Will he be pumped to put on a show in Bakersfield in front of his old club? As always, the answer is "Who the hell knows with Radman."

Murray is still in Detroit, and appears to have found a home there. His 8.5 ppg and 4 assists are respectable for the minutes he gets, and perhaps he has begun to accept his future as a 6th or 7th man on a good team.

Wednesday, October 17

Lineups, More

Contrary to previous reports, it turns out Mo Sene will not be starting tomorrow night against the Lakers. Both Kevin Pelton at and Percy Allen at the Times report that the lineup for Thursday night's game in Bakersfield is:

PF Nick Collison
SF Damien Wilkins
C Robert Swift
SG Kevin Durant
PG Earl Watson

Personally, I like the look of that lineup, and it certainly ties in with the defense-first mentality we keep hearing about for this year's club. Interesting that Carlesimo would make a point of mentioning how he was trying to get everyone a chance to start in the pre-season, then shelve the idea of Sene starting. Maybe Mo's chance will come later in the exhibitions.

On the injury front, Gary Washburn reports that Kevin Durant's minor injury (he got smacked in the head above his right eye) is nothing to be concerned about, and that he attended practice Wednesday none the worse for wear; likewise, Johan Petro was back in action after the heart palpatations had him resting for awhile. Delonte West, however, will not be making the trip because of a bad back. West will be checked out by the team doctor. GW's blog also mentions that Carlesimo sees Wally Szczerbiak as more of a forward than a guard.


All the news from Los Angeles is about Kobe Bryant these days (at least, the news that isn't related to SC dropping a game at home to the Stanford Cardinal), and with the Sonics playing the Lakers tomorrow night in Bakersfield, could this be the last time Kobe suits up in a Laker jersey against the Sonics? (This is, of course, assuming he makes the trip).

Why do I care? Well, because Kobe is one of a select group of players who are almost universally hated in the NBA. With the exception of those twits who live in the 206 and own a Kobe-8 jersey, most folks around these parts would sooner wax their unmentionables before donning a Laker jersey, let alone a Kobe one.

And, being that this is the 41st season in team history (and, to be accurate, the true 40th anniversary of the team), I thought we could reminisce about the top ten most hated players in team history. I've only been a fan of the team since the early 80s, so please add your suggestions for the 60s and 70s in the comments. In reverse order:

10. Rick Barry (I'm just assuming this to be the case, being that everyone hated the Rickster)
9. Charles Barkley
8. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
7. Clyde Drexler
6. Vlade Divac ("The NBA, it's Floptastic!")
5. Kevin Johnson
4. John Stockton
3. Jim McIlvaine (zing!)
2. Kobe Bryant
1. Karl Malone

I'll take arguments on the other 9, but no opposing player in the history of the Seattle professional basketball ever received as many boos as Karl Malone. Sorry, but that one is in concrete.


It’s somewhat surprising considering he’s coaching a young team coming off two straight losing seasons, but one of PJ Carlesimo’s biggest problems this season may be how to divide up the minutes amongst his charges.

After all, a team which struggles to win has one or two decent players and a host of scrubs, so distributing minutes isn’t so difficult. But look at the competition at each of the positions:

C – Kurt Thomas, Bob Swift, Johan Petro, Mo Sene. Obviously, Swift and Thomas are the upper-class in this group, but Petro is at least as talented as most of the backup centers in the league, and Sene has potential. In a perfect world, the Sonics would have two or three guys competing for minutes, and either a rookie or a older player who would have to be content with sitting. But sitting Petro or Sene all season isn’t a great idea. Unfortunately, it may have to be the option PJ takes, unless GM Sam Presti manages to nab a draft pick for either Sene (possible) or Petro (more likely).

PF – Chris Wilcox, Nick Collison. Carlesimo admitted to the beat reporters (from Eric Williams at TNT: “Carlesimo said it’s a tough situation for both players because he believes that each player deserves more than 24 minutes each.”) this isn’t an easy situion. The key to the whole thing may be this quote from Carlesimo, also from Williams’ story: “There’s not enough minutes there for the two of them unless we give one of them time at (center), and I don’t want to do that initially.” The key word being, initially. To my way of thinking, Swift is going to miss at least a quarter of the season with injury-related problems, and that leaves a big hole for Collison to fill. Don’t forget, also, that Jeff Green would normally get more than a few minutes here.

SF – Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak, Damien Wilkins, Mickael Gelabale, Kevin Durant. Phew, that’s a lot of names. How do you divvy up 48 minutes into four or five guys (four, if KD takes up residence full-time a SG)? The key will be the fact that SF and SG are interchangeable positions in this new NBA era. Just because Durant starts at SG doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be a SG for all 30-odd minutes he’s on the court. Same with Wilkins or Wally W. However, someone is going to suffer and that someone appears to be Gelabale. Luckily for Gelly, he’s backing up one of the most injury-prone guys around in Szczerbiak.

SG – Kevin Durant, Delonte West, Damien Wilkins. Wilkins has looked solid so far in the pre-season, but West and Durant are two of the best players on the team, if not the two best. D-West will likely spend 5-10 minutes a night playing point guard, and Wilkins could be ameliorated with splitting his time between SG and SF. It’s still a crowded spot, though.

PG – Earl Watson, Luke Ridnour, Delonte West. The mother of all distribution problems for this team. Watson and Ridnour had trouble sharing the starting spot last year, and while they’ve said the right things so far, if this team gets off to a crappy start (and that’s entirely possible when you look at the November schedule, which calls for a five-game road trip and home games against Phoenix, Utah, Detroit, New Jersey, and San Antonio), the good ship Point Guard may begin to spring a leak.

The bottom line is that this is a year of transition for the Sonics, and it seems more and more likely that the new management wants to spend the regular season as an extended exhibition for the future of this franchise. Watson or Ridnour? Wait and see how it plays out; heck, OJ Mayo might the actual answer rather than either of those two guys. Can Green hack it as a starting 3? Well, we’ve got five months to figure that out. Is Swift ready to contribute 8-10 points and the same amount of rebounds on a nightly basis? Again, check back at the end of the year.

Honestly, that’s the best way to approach it, and as a Sonic fan you have to have some reassurance knowing that Rick Sund or Wally Walker aren’t the ones driving the ship anymore. Presti – at least so far – has been all aces on his decision-making, and knowing he’s the one deciding which players are the ones to keep makes this Sonic fan feel much better.

Tuesday, October 16


After his surprising 15-rebound game against Indiana over the weekend, the Sonics' resident Senegalese center, Mo Sene, found himself featured in not one, not two, but all three of the Seattle dailies today. Usually that sort of coverage is reserved for, oh, I don't know, a guy who might have a chance at being a starter, but, well, it's pre-season and everyone's got stories to fill.

Unfortunately, one game does not a season make. If you watched Sene in the summer league, you know there are holes in his game as wide as Danny Fortson's now-departed backside. For every athletic block, there are four missed assignments. Those misses don't show up on his stat sheet, but they show up on the final score, and that second number is much more important.

But enough negativity; let's give credit to Sene for his ability to shake off the D-League expectations he's facing this fall and show that he can play with the big boys. Does it merit a start against the Lakers in Bakersfield? No, I don't think so, but apparently PJ Carlesimo does. Personally, I'd rather see more minutes for Bob Swift or Nick Collison.

Monday, October 15

Monday Report

We read plenty about Kevin Durant in the local dailies, so it's interesting to see what the papers from the towns the Sonics are visiting have to say about the phenom. Here's Brian Windhorst's opinion about KD, and, as you can imagine, it's focused on the LeBron-KD similarities.

Elsewhere, it appears the injury bug bit Damien Wilkins, but his ankle is not broken (it's a sprain) and he should be able to participate again soon. Bob Swift is still taking it easy after perhaps going at it too hard earlier in the pre-season, and Delonte West is suffering from a mild back strain.

On a side statistical note, Durant is averaging 20 points per 33 minutes (a random number I picked as a best guess at his per-game average this season) to go with 6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 2.4 turnovers. Oh, and he's shooting almost 50% from behind the 3-point line.

Yep, just another 6'9" shooting guard who hits 50% beyond the arc.

Friday, October 12

Where Are They Now

First a quick update on Sedale Threatt. If you read this blog and TrueHoop, you already know this story, but in case you missed it, here’s a quick recap.

Not only is Threatt teaching basketball in Australia (as we noted last week), he’s also the father of 14 children, as this New York Times story from Michael Weinreb explains (including this chilling quote from Sedale Threatt, Jr.: “The No. 1 lesson my father did teach me is how not to be a father.” I’m guessing Hallmark won’t be including that in their cards next June). It’s a great story, though, and makes you want to nominate Threatt Junior and his mother for political office, or at least a daily talk show, because they’re just good people.

That said, what are the odds that Shawn Kemp did not father the most kids in Sonic history? Would you have even thought that it was possible he’d rank behind somebody else, let alone Sedale Threatt of all people? Come to think of it, Threatt and Kemp were joined on the 90-91 Sonics with Quintin Dailey – how may kids do you think ol’ Q had? I’m almost at the point where I expect to read that Warren Jeffs was the assistant trainer for that team.

But enough of that, on with your Friday Where Are They Now:

OLDEN POLYNICE – The 7-footer from Haiti who lasted an astounding 17 years in the NBA is now, even more unbelievably, a head coach. Granted it’s with the Long Beach Breakers of the ABA, but if you could have made a teaser bet in 1987 that OP would 1) play 1,000 games in the NBA and 2) eventually become a head coach, I think you might have made a fair bit of change. (Bonus note: the Breakers’ web site doesn’t have a roster yet, but they do have a dance team. At least they’ve got their priorities in order).

SCOOTER MCCRAY – McCray only lasted in Seattle for two seasons, and in the NBA for three, but the former Louisville standout hasn’t let that stop him from being a success off the court. McCray currently runs a number of La-Z-Boy stores in the Louisville area. I can think of at least one former Sonic who’d be a natural endorser.

– I always think of Conlon as having played 30 years ago for the Sonics, but he just retired last year from pro ball, spending the past half-decade in Europe. In addition, Conlon captained the Irish National Team, and currently lives in Manhattan where he does some coaching for prospective players.


It’s been strange so far for Sonic fans waiting for Kevin Durant to blossom. Everything we hear about the guy is so flattering, you half expect him to take off from half court and dunk.

And yet, after summer league and one pre-season game, well, he hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire, has he? His summer league numbers were excused because he was surrounded by less than NBA-quality talent, and the way he wowed everyone at the Team USA trial kind of amped up the excitement. His first pre-season game was less than thrilling, though, and it got me to wondering: Do pre-season stats really matter at all?

The received opinion has always been that pre-season numbers are as relevant as a politician’s promises on the campaign trail. Whether they’re good, bad, or indifferent, they don’t tell us what’s going to happen during the upcoming 82-game marathon. In fact, you can almost hear the cliches organization’s trot out when things don’t go as planned:

“He’s getting his feet wet. We’re confident that as he adjusts to the speed of NBA games he’ll feel right at home.” (We don’t know what the hell is the matter with this kid. Let’s just hope he figures it out before my contract is up.)

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised with what he’s given us.” (Thank God the Knicks picked the 6’11” Lithuanian I wanted, because this kid’s definitely better.)

“We’re sure his shot will start to fall as soon as he gets used to our playbook.” (Crap, we’re paying this bum for the next three years, and he can’t hit an open 15-footer?)

Well, I decided to take a look at last year’s crop of rookies and see how their pre-season stats compared to their regular season ones. I looked at 16 players who played regular minutes in both the pre- and regular seasons and tallied their numbers in four categories – field goal percentage, 3-point field goal percentage, points per 48 minutes, and tendex rating per 48 minutes (thanks to for the information, and to RJ for pointing out in the comments where I could find the info). Here’s some rough data, then interpretation:

Field Goal Percentage: Almost a 1:1 relationship; the players shot an almost meaningless 0.8% better during the regular season than during the pre-season.

3-Point Percentage: An exact 1:1 relationship.

Points per 48: Players scored 13% better in the pre-season than in the regular season.

Tendex per 48: Almost a perfect relationship, as players put up merely 3% better numbers in pre-season than in the regular season.

As you can see, with the exception of points per 48 minutes, there is a strong correlation between the pre-season numbers and the regular season ones. If you looked at the numbers as a whole, you might wonder why I’m not jumping off a bridge because of Durant’s middling play. Here’s why:

There’s a huge difference between top of the first round guys and bottom of the first and second round guys. For some reason, high draft picks – at least in the 2006 class – did much better in the regular season than in the pre-season, and the opposite was true for the lower class folks. There are a number of possibilities as to the cause – perhaps the lower-picked guys worked extra hard in the pre-season to wind jobs, maybe the higher guys knew they had roles already and they didn’t feel the need to over-exert, who knows. And, again, this is a small sample size. If I can find data on previous pre-seasons, I’ll run that as well just to see if this is an isolated occurrence or a regular one.

For the time being, though, I would suggest you resist the urge to worry about Kevin Durant. The fact he hasn’t exploded for any huge games is likely not a big deal, and the odds of him being a Olowokandi-esque bust are slim. (Right? Right?) Just as we can’t expect Javaris Crittenden to average 18 points a game this season, don’t expect KD to be wallowing in the lower teens.

Thursday, October 11

Rookie Report

A quick look at what’s happening to the draftees of 2007:

1. Greg Oden – Ouch
2. Kevin Durant – 12 ppg, 3 rpb, 0 apg
3. Al Horford – 8.5, 7, 1
4. Mike Conley- 4, 1, 3
5. Jeff Green – 6, 2, 2
6. Chairman Yi – 7.5, 2, 1
7. Corey Brewer – 2, 2.5, 1
8. Brandan Wright – 0, 0, 0
9. Joakim Noah – 6, 4, 4
10. Spencer Hawes – Ouch
11. Acie Law – 7.5, 2, 3
12. Thaddeus Young – 7, 1, 0
13. Julian Wright – 5.5, 9, 2.5
14. Al Thornton – 13.5, 8, 0.5
15. Rodney Stuckey – 15, 1, 0
16. Nick Young – 2, 1, 0
17. Sean Williams- 0
18. Marco Belinelli – 8, 0, 0
19. Javaris Crittenton – 18, 1, 1
20. Jason Smith – 7, 7, 0
21. Daequan Cook – 7, 2, 0
22. Jared Dudley - 0
23. Wilson Chandler – 9, 6, 1
24. Rudy Fernandez - 0
25. Morris Almond – 10, 5, 0
26. Aaron Brooks - 0
27. Arron Afflalo – 9, 3, 2
28. Tiago Splitter - 0
29. Alando Tucker -
30. Petteri Koponen – 0

That’s just a down-and-dirty look at only two games or less. I’ll try to keep it updated as training camp progresses, as well as throw in a few 2nd-rounders as their play merits.


Looks like the idea of Luke Ridnour donning a mask will come to fruition. All 3 dailies report today that the young point guard has a "non displaced fracture of the nasal bone," which means for the next 4 to 5 weeks he'll be sporting a mask. Ridnour was hurt about halfway into the first quarter of the Kings game the other night when he got an up close and personal interview with Ron Artest's elbow, and it's unknown if he'll play in both, either, or neither of the back-to-back games coming up on the road this weekend. Considering the importance, or lack thereof, of training camp games, is it really necessary to risk any more problems?

More importantly, what will Frodo's mask look like? There's always this possibility, or this one, or even this one.

But, heck, Halloween is right around the corner, right? And the Sonics are hungry for money, right? So wouldn't it be a perfect tie-in if Ridnour were to emerge on the court at the next Sonic home game with, oh, I don't know, something that looks like this?

Wednesday, October 10

One in the Books

The big news out of last night's loss was Luke Ridnour's broken (?) nose, suffered at the elbow of Ron Artest in the first quarter. Ridnour will have a CT scan today to determine if indeed the nose is broken. It remains to be seen if he will sport a Rip Hamilton-style face mask. Perhaps he can borrow Nick Collison's from a year or so ago.

In other news from the game, it appears that Bob Swift played well before tiring down the stretch, Johan Petro was a foul machine, Delonte West played pretty well, the Sonics turned the ball over waaaaaay too much, Damien Wilkins made the most of his starting nod with 18 points in 27 minutes, Jeff Green was a non-factor, and Chris Wilcox did well.

Oh, and what's that rookie's name again? Right, Kevin Durant. Well, The Franchise wasn't exactly earth-shattering in his debut, only picking up 12 points, but he showed a nice touch on the jumpers I saw on the news, and he was poor at the line for some strange reason. As all the reporters said, chalk it up to a first-game learning experience.

Tuesday, October 9

The Omen

Looks like Damien Wilkins will get the call for the Sonics' first pre-season game, and not Jeff Green.

Percy Allen reports in his Sonics' blog that the starting five for tonight's game with Sacto are:

Ridnour, Durant, Wilkins, Collison, and Swift

Wow, I've got to agree with Allen that Bob Swift in the starting lineup is not something I expected to see, and likewise with Collison replacing Wilcox, although the recent minor injury troubles for Weezy might have played a role. And The Omen? Who saw that coming?

And, it's entirely possible that Carlesimo is just interested in seeing how certain fit together. As he and the rest of the coaching staff have said repeatedly, this is just another version of practice and we shouldn't read anything into who starts or gets the most minutes. At this point, it's a case of the coaches getting a better feel for their roster.

Nancy, With the Laughing Face

In case you've forgotten, at SuperSonicSoul we've got it bad for erstwhile Va Tech guard Zabian Dowdell. After his failure to latch on with an NBA team in either round of the June draft, Dowdell drifted to France, where he now takes up residence with the Nancy Cougars (and, no, I don't know if that's really their nickname, but it appears to be).

Thus far, Dowdell has registered an average of 13 ppg through two games. Interesting or no, you've got to be intrigued by the first piece of artwork you see when loading up the Nancy team page.

I honestly have no idea what it says, but kudos to the folks designing the team website for throwing something onto their page that includes: 1) a cross-dressing moose and 2) French General Joseph "Papa" Joffre from World War I.

Pre-Season Begins

So, the long haul kicks off tonight in Sacramento. You know Sacramento; it's the place David Stern pays attention to.

(Sorry, how about a moratorium on arena- and owner-bashing for the rest of the pre-season. At least until Clay Bennett's inevitable press conference the day after opening night).

Anyhow, PJ Carlesimo has yet to release a starting lineup for tonight's affair at Arco Arena, but from all reports it sounds as though the game will be even more pre-season than normal, and that the coaching staff is looking at it as merely another form of practice.

As Kevin Pelton points out at the blog, Gelabale, Szczerbiak, Swift, and Thomas will likely all sit out due to minor injuries.

One minor thing I'm trying to find information on: pre-season stats. I can't seem to find info anywhere on pre-season stats from previous seasons, and I would like to do a comparison of highly touted rookies in the past few years to see how their exhibition stats stacked up to their regular season ones. It might be illustrative for Durant and, to a lesser extent, Jeff Green. Any help would be appreciated.

Go Sonics!