Monday, November 07, 2005

B. Jones: Sonics Early Report

It's obviously too early to truly cast aspersions and worries to the wind all higgledy-piggledy...so...these are niggles.

These are the early signs of possible problems for the Sonics, these are the seeds for refusing to believe at this point in the season.

1) Coaching

After only two games, I can't really call for Coach Weiss' head on a platter, but I fear that time will come this season. Why? Well, let's say his team looks kinda scattered.

I mean, despite Nate McMillan's current record, one thing that could always be said about his style was that the Sonics were tight during his reign. Defensively above average, and when the pistons were running full gear, their style of offense was fast, fun and unpredictable. (Though, let's be honest, it wasn't until last season that his style really gelled with the players, and the players had the will to stick with his plan.)

Even at their worst, though, you could tell that Nate had more than a good notion of what he was doing.

So far, the Sonics have only played two games; they lost to the Clippers in a close one, and won against the T'wolves, in another tight one. They should've won both and handily...

There are many reasons why I believe this, but I'm just going to stick to the main points:

2) Defense

Gone are the days of fierce unrelenting trapping and the pressure that McMillan specialized in (which, in turn, he emulated from Coach Karl). Instead, what I've seen so far, is something of a sloppy rotation, where, typically, a man would be left open that really shouldn't be. For example, Sam Cassell of the Clippers, and Wally Szerbiak of the T'wolves.

Not that these guys will kill you every time they touch the ball, but their outside shooting percentage and history makes them worthy of more than a little worry.

I mean, yes, this defense kept Kevin Garnett to 23 points, and made the role players do the bulk of the work, but it's not like the T'Wolves are the Suns, the Spurs or the Mavericks.

Also, the number of defensive naturals on this team dwindled over the summer (Antonio Daniels, hope you enjoyed your stay). Now it's down to Evans, Collison, Wilkins and Fortson, though Cleaves made an impression on Friday (Petro also shows some promise). Allen, Lewis, Radmanovic and Ridnour aren't exactly known for their defensive fierceness. Though McM & Casey had them looking fierce last season, indeed.

This could be a matter of stressing the importance of defense, or simply people not being familiar enough with Weiss' defensive scheme, but so far, nothing he's laid down looks remotely like a scheme. McMillan was adamant about his defense, and maybe adopting his credo would be of some help: Defense leads to offensive opportunities for the Sonics.

Which is important because the Sonics'

3) Offense

really thrives when the defense is going crazy. The team seems to live for the fast break, and barring that, a half court offense that is in perpetual motion; people moving off the ball, using the pick and roll to create mismatches, and passing passing passing.

You watch the Sonics today, and will find none of that. Watch the Sonics after a timeout, and it's like watching kindergardeners playing soccer for the first time. Are there set plays for players?

And beyond this, you still have Luke "The Paperboy" Ridnour trying to find confidence in the pro league (buddy, do you need a magic feather? Man, why do I have more faith in you than you do? Re-fucking-lax, man. I remember you from your college years, you can do this). You have Petro getting used to the NBA's style of play. You also have Flip Murray still figuring the game out.

What I'm trying to get at here is that the elements are there, but it's gonna take some putting together to make this team thrum.

It's all reasonably possible, but I refuse to believe until I see it happen on a game to game basis.

All I'm saying is that it's gonna take more resolve and thinking than Weiss seems to possess at this moment. Take a look at this quote:

"How did we win a game with 23 turnovers and shooting 16 percent on 3-pointers?" Weiss wondered. "We must be doing something right."

Uhm...

6 Comments:

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Missuz J said...

Huh?

 
At 10:29 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

This just in...

VladRad pain in the ass, wants to be third scorer and a starter shooting 1-for-14, whining with a Bosnian accent super annoying.

Y'know, it ain't too f-in' hard to RTB this year, Beigey.

 
At 12:00 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

Missuz J, I'd advise watching a game, but the closest thing you got is the misnomered Jazz...The crap I wrote does make sense, though.

JJ, I can see an argument to be made for making Vlade more of a regular part of the rotation, he was pretty key in the win over Minnesota. It starts with having a rotation, though, and one that makes sense.

Actually, it'd start with more consistent numbers, for which he'd need consistent time...

But, yeah, RTB'ing hasn't been that much of a challenge thus far.

 
At 4:43 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

Update:

CLE 112 SEA 85

Two 25 point losses in a row for the Sonics, featuring the very problems I wrote about on Monday. Weiss is operating like a deer in headlights.

Thankfully, I've got Karl's Nuggets and Payton's Heat (He's got more minutes and Shaq at this point) to keep me entertained.

 
At 12:31 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

Dude.

They suck.

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. Real bad.

 
At 4:56 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

yeah, though the question is why?

As has been discussed in the world at large, this is essentially the same team from last year, with different coaching positions...

Personally, it's more than just Weiss (though he's the easiest to target).

hmmm, I sense another alienating entry coming up.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home