Thursday, April 10

Curiouser and Curiouser

Two weeks ago, the Sonics demoted Mo Sene to Idaho, with PJ Carlesimo telling us pinheaded Sonic fans that the reasoning was to get a better read on the alleged “skills” of Francisco Elson and Donyell Marshall.

At the time, I went off and wrote a (in retrospect) overly critical piece about how ridiculous it was to deny time to someone who has a possible future with the franchise so that you can evaluate 30+-year-old players who have already clearly established what their skills are, when clearly those skills are speaking Dutch (Elson) and braiding hair (Marshall).

What happened in the meantime? Well, Mo Sene got hurt playing in Idaho, with an injury that will possibly cost him the opportunity to play in the summer league a couple of months for now.

Oh, and Donyell Marshall, the guy Carlesimo said he “needed to evaluate” in the final weeks of the season? Here are his minute totals per game for the past five games:

0, 10, 7, 0, 0

Marshall is suffering from “right knee soreness,” causing him to miss the past couple of games, but is that really a surprise? And what about the games before that, including the double-overtime game when he played all of seven minutes?

But wait, it gets worse. Apparently, when Francisco Elson was dealt from San Antonio to Seattle in the Kurt Thomas trade, he was told that he would not get much playing time, in that the Sonics were looking to develop their own youngsters (this info thieved from Eric Williams at the TNT). And after getting the start over Johan Petro last night (in the Sonics 103-80 loss to Houston; there’s your game re-cap, folks), this is what Elson told Williams, in regard to receiving the starting nod:

“There’s four games left. I don’t understand it. I mean I didn’t expect [to get regular playing time], but why would you want to do it now? It ain’t like we’re going anywhere.”

I’ve been watching the NBA for 25 years now, and that must be the first time I’ve ever read a player complaining about getting a starting spot. How dumb is this coaching staff, when even their own players think they don’t know what they’re doing?

Honestly, I don’t think Carlesimo is trying to tank the season, and I don’t the think the players are giving any less effort than they were earlier in the year. But this whole idea of giving time to people like Elson and Marshall at the expense of Petro and Sene is just baffling.

At this point, I give up. If anyone can shed light on why the Sonics would go down this road, I’m all ears, because I’m just about done trying to figure out PJ Carlesimo and Sam Presti.


Anonymous said...

HYPOTHETICALLY they could decide to keep Elson as a 5th center (a serious drain on roster spots) given 2 recovering from knee surgeries or there might be a slight chance to do a sign and trade by iteslf or in some complicated arrangement. But the simple answer is playing Elson doesnt mean much and not playing Sene in the NBA hardly at all in a wasted season is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Well, they're definitely not tanking, because Sene is probably (I'm forced to guess due to lack of empirical evidence...) much worse than Elson at this point. If they wanted to lose games, they could trot out a lineup of Sene, Petro, Green, Durant, Watnour. It could "maybe" be justified by using the "evaluating our scrubs" excuse, and would be sure to lose games.

The only reasoning for this that I can think of, is that management thinks that Elson/Marshall are good enough players that given playing time, they can showcase their "skills" to prospective trading partners. Given Elson can play a lick of defense (again, I'm guessing due to lack of actual visual evidence...), I could see some contending teams showing interest in trading for Elson next season to add six more big man fouls to their roster...

PN said...

I can see your point, Howard, but is any team going to make a decision on Elson for the next trading deadline based upon what he did in the span of four games at this point in the season? I suppose it might make sense if they were planning on including Elson in a deal this summer regarding draft pick movement, but, honestly, having seen Elson for the past couple of weeks or so, I think the best way to enhance his value is to not let other teams see him play. The guy is a flat-out gunner and doesn't seem to do much else.

Anonymous said...

He's a "gunner"? Wow, I had no idea (I live in NY now, and don't get to see any games).

Oh, and looks like Sene was named NBDL Defensive Player of the Year.

Past winners include such giants of the game as Mikki Moore, and.... well, his was the only name I recognized...

Generally, I don't trust overly coordinated big men (if that's what Elson is). They're just never worth the trouble.
An 80% free-throw shooting big man prospect? I don't want him.
Any tall guy that can shoot that well has never had to trade elbows, or play hard at any level below the NBA, and there's about a 90% chance that he's a huge pus%% (see, Darko). The only NBA finesse centers that succeeded were the ones that honed their skills AFTER getting to the NBA, a la Ewing, Olajuwon, Oakley, et al.

The qualities that I look for in a good center are:
-Sharp Elbows
-Good fundamentals (ie. boxes out, sets good picks, etc.)
-Plays hard/Maintains good conditioning
-minimal ego

Yes, I am a big fan of Eduardo Najera. (Although he's a bit undersized...)

Hopefully, Sene can develop into this kind of player (he needs to hit the weights!)

Anonymous said...

Obviously, Oakley was not your typical "finesse" center. However, one of his most valuable skills was his reliable 18-footer from the elbow.