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.