The Sonics had media day this evening. Camp starts tomorrow. Here is a collection of the discussion points at Media Day.
As we reported Friday night on 950, KJR Reggie Evans is holding out until he comes to a contract agreement with the Sonics. According to sources, the Sonics offered a 2 year 5 million dollar contract. Evans’ agent is notorious for tough negotiations. The Sonics are not surprised by this development. Head Coach Bob Weiss said he knows what Evans can do, but they will put heavy focus on defense in the opening of camp and the 4 spot will be won by defense. Defensive rotations have not always been a strong point for Evans.
The 4 position will be the most interesting battle in camp. Weiss says he would like to bring Collison off the bench. He really likes the combination of Fortson and Collison on the floor together. However, Weiss did say that Collison will finish games for the Sonics. He also noted that Collison was far and away the best defensive forward on the team last season. According to Weiss, Collison is shooting the ball great.
Weiss also said in some ways he likes the combo of Reggie and Vitaly better then the combo of Reggie and Jerome James last season, because Reggie and James were two non-shooters.
He also mentioned the idea of starting Vlady Radmanovic as the 4 and playing the way Phoenix did last season.
Bob Weiss main point was that last year’s team was within one shot of pushing the World Champs to Game 7 and they did with a terrible defensive team statistically.
In an attempt to change that he will put heavy focus on transition defense and being a more focused defensive unit.
This will be done primarily in two ways. He says every play in the NBA is built around the 1st, 2nd and 3rd option. His design is to guard those 3 with 5. He talked about a concept of contain, help and help the helper.
They have hired Brendon Malone, a long time NBA assistant to join the staff. Malone has worked with both Hubie Brown and Chuck Daly in his career.
Bob Hill, another new assistant, has also with Brown and Larry Brown. They both bring heavy defensive knowledge.
The defense will be much simpler with just 2 ways to play the mid pick and roll and 1 on way to play the side. The hope is that will improve execution.
Practices will be much more 5 on 5. Weiss will take an idea from Jeff Van Gundy. Before each practice the team will hold a “forum” and then go out and practice which should help the flow and conditioning.
Style offensively will be more focused on a fast break. Weiss felt last year’s focus on the secondary break often got players thinking of where they should go on the second part of the break rather then focusing on how to score in the initial break. Weiss wants the basketball skills to be free to show. On the break he wants penetration and then play basketball.