Friday, July 29, 2005
WHY VLADY IS PART OF SONICS CORE?
Last week in the Seattle-pi, I wrote about the Sonics keeping their core together. In response their was a lot of discussion of why I included Radmanovic in the core. I think people are forgetting how valuable Vlady Radmanovic is for the Seattle Supersonics. What has been forgotten in Vlady is what makes the Sonics unique.
Vlady does things that no power forward in the NBA does. He runs like a deer. He is dramatically more athletic then anyone realizes. In fact, he may be the best athlete on the team. He stretches the floor with his three point shooting. His post defense is better then he is given credit for.
His floor presence opens up the game for Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. I would argue that Allen and Lewis’s big years were directly related to their time on the floor with Vlady.
Interestingly enough the player that has to have Vlady around is Reggie Evans. If Evans is on the floor with another big most of his game is negated. His presence clogs the offense when there is another big on the floor and his rebounding dips because the other teams has three or four players around the boards. However, when he is on the floor with Vlady he has one on one rebounding match-ups because the floor is spread.
Numbers tell the dependency on Vlady for Evans. 82games.com charts the +/- rating for playing pairs. (How the team does when two players are on the floor together).
Evans is a negative with every big except when on the floor with Vlady they are the best playing pair on the roster (ignoring the limited time James and Fortson played together only 5 minutes).
Using more of the playing pairs data and Radmanovic’s importance to the Sonics is even clearer. Allen’s best playing pair is Radmanovic. Lewis’s best playing pair is Radmanovic. Ridnour’s best playing pair is Radmanovic. Collison’s best playing pair was Radmanovic. You get the point.
In 59 games when the Sonics had Lewis, Allen and Radmanovic on the floor together they outscored their opponent in 42 of those. That is the triumphant that makes the Sonics a unique team.
Vlady needs to improve on two areas of his game. He needs to be a better rebounder and he needs to get to the free throw line. The rebounding can improve, but I doubt it will ever be a strength. I would envision a Rashard Lewis type rebounder. The increase at the free throw line will come. It is inevitable as he understands the game, improves his ball handling and starts to get a better reputation with officials.
There is no doubt the Vlady is a part of the core of this team. Most importantly he is what makes the team unique.