Friday, October 14, 2005


Thoughts from a pre-season Sonics game ………

• Ray Allen is fun to watch any time any place. Nightly he does something that makes the ticket price worth it.
• Robert Swift is not rebounding as well as he needs to. If he doesn’t rebound the team can’t get in transition. In Portland, Swift’s inability to rebound stalled the entire running game and at times tonight the same is true. In addition, Swift’s conditioning must improve.
• Foul trouble is going to be a significant issue for Nick Collison this year. If he is going to develop the way the Sonics hope he is going to have to stay on the floor and that may be tough with some of the match-ups he will have at the 5.
• I can’t believe I am about to type this … it might be momentary insanity ….. I think Flip Murray is going to be ok as the ½ back-up guard. He won’t be AD, he won’t be as versatile. He won’t be able to do the ½ role against every one, but for the most part I think he will be alright. At the end of the 1st Quarter the Sonics called 1-4 flat for Flip and he just crushed his defender and got fouled on his way to pack it.
• Damien Wilkins looks to be playing with a good deal more confidence then he had most of last year.
• Before the game Bob Weiss reminded his team that their motion offense and their flex offense are not equal opportunity offenses. This team will always still revolve around Lewis and Allen and they will create the opportunities.
• Talking to Weiss before the game I got the impression he was hoping to drive his vets hard and have them get fatigued so he could get them back into the mindset of conditioning at practice. These are the subtle ways Weiss will pull strings this season. Don’t forget Weiss is a pool shark – card player and he will work his players in the same manner.
• Michael Cooper will be the head coach of the NBDL team in Albuquerque that the Sonics send their players to.
• For all the talk of a soft Weiss. The Sonics blew a defensive assignment and gave up a dunk to Marion and Weiss immediately called a timeout and jumped the guys who blew the assignment pretty hard.
• Alex Scales looks like Martin Lawerence. Someone else suggested Stephen A. Smith.
• I am concerned that nothing looks easy for Robert Swift. No movement, no action, nothing he does looks like he is comfortable out on the floor. In fact everything looks a bit painful. In contrast, Johan Petro movements and actions look natural.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


The Sonics open there pre-season tonight in Portland. Let me share a few thoughts about what I have seen from the team thus far in camp.

The Bob Weiss lack of discipline angle is being over played. The practices are crisp. The work is getting done. The guy is letting his players wear sweats on long flights. He is letting them have cell phones on the team bus. This is being overblown badly.
Weiss will be different then Nate. That is without question. However, there is as good a chance the players were going turn a deaf ear on Nate as they are to take advantage of Weiss more relaxed demeanor. This team is Ray and Rashard’s team and they will control what the team does.
Furthermore, this staff is fantastic. Bob Hill and Brendan Malone bring an insane amount of experience and expertise. I have been very impressed by Jack Sikma and how hard he has been driving players and Ralph Lewis is going to be a very solid addition.
If they are as good at game preparation will be where they have to match last year’s staff.

Ray Allen is great. How is that for breaking news? Allen got rolling at practice the other day and he was in that Sacramento Game 4 territory.
The one player that has jumped out more then any other is Reggie Evans. Evans has been brilliant in camp. His energy is amazing and the impact he has on every play can’t be underestimated.
Talking to the players they all comment on Luke Ridnour’s increased confidence and that he is nailing the open mid range jumper. The same has been said about Nick Collison.
Flip Murray has looked very good at times in camp. The Sonics are going to give him first shot at the AD combo position. There is a strong belief inside the organization that with extended minutes he will lose some of his negative traits. His one on one skills are remarkable. He took some balls to the rack and finished that most guys in the NBA couldn’t do.
Johan Petro is very good draft pick. That doesn’t mean he will necessarily be a great NBA player. But to get a 7 footer who can move as well as he does, with that size body and wingspan at #25 is a good draft pick regardless of if he makes the league.
Robert Swift has flashed in and out during camp. At times he looks like he is ready. He will grab some two handed rebounds above a crowd and his hands are good inside. However, he doesn’t roll of the pick and roll at all the way JJ could and he will float and get lost for periods of time. He is 19 years old and that is hard to remember.
The one non-roster player I really like is Noel Felix. Felix is 6 foot 9 and has an awesome body. He put on some nice post moves at yesterday’s scrimmage. He guarded Lewis at the 3 very well. He is big enough to play the 4 and his shot looks solid in shooting drills. He was named to the CBA All-Defensive Team after averaging 15.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks for the Yakima Sun Kings. The knock on him is that when the lights go on in a game he disappears. Pre-season games will be vitally important for him. He was not strong in the Sonics summer league.


IF Scott Spiezio was charged by Chicago police Friday, Oct. 7 for allegedly assaulting a cab driver after a dispute about the fare. According to the police, Spiezio was traveling with a female companion who was also charged for battery. Spiezio was charged with criminal damage to property, theft and simple assault.

This leads to numerous questions. Did he finally connect on something? If the chick he was with also got charged does that mean he is hanging with Chuck Finley's ex-wife? Do you think the the incredible shrinking man could actually take the cabbie?
If you are out of the league are you still tested for roids? This more questions then he had hits.


Here the weekly re-cap of the Wednesday Mike Holmgren presser. This will be known as the “THE CYNICS ARE GONE PRESS CONFERENCE.”

I thought the most interesting part of the press conference was when I asked him why he feels differently about this year’s team. He said, “The feeling I get in the that locker-room is different, on the airplane it is different, they are having fun. THE CYNICS AREN’T AROUND ANYMORE. THE GUY IN THE LOCKER-ROOM THAT SAYS DON’T WORRY THAT IS JUST THE COACH TALKING. OR THE GUY TELLING GUYS HE IS GETTING SCREWED ON HIS CONTRACT.”
He also mentioned that they have been able to avoid the “off the field distractions that can tear up a team. These guys have been very responsible.”
This jumped out at me. This is the purge that we have been talking about all off-season and for the most part this is the first time Holmgren has been willing to admit that the locker-rooms of the past were not as cohesive as he tried to make us believe they were.
The question is who were those guys. Some of it is obvious with Anthony Simmons and Koren Robinson. However, you wonder where a Chad Brown, a Chike Okeafor, Rashad Moore and other fit into this mix.
Time will tell if this holds. It is easy to feel good after a win. It is newsworthy that Holmgren has made this admission.
The other news worthy items were as follows.
Darrell Jackson had his knee surgery and he will stay in Florida to see the doctor who did the surgery. Mike Sando, on his Newstribune Hawks Blog, reported this morning that they found a more significant injury and it will be closer to 6 weeks.
The Texans 3-4 defense shouldn’t be a problem since the West Coast Offense was originally designed for the 3-4.
Holmgren said that Kelly Herndon would admit that he didn’t play his best game on Sunday and would expect to see a different player on Sunday. We better hope so. I can promise the Texans watched the film of the St. Louis game and will be going right at Herndon.
Holmgren proudly pointed out the amount of long drives the offense has put together this season.
LeRoy Hill, rookie linebacker, was mentioned as a guy who is pushing for more time on the field.

Locked On Sports: For a real kick, watch Big Walt instead of ball

Locked On Sports: For a real kick, watch Big Walt instead of ball: "The greatest compliment you can bestow on an athlete is that he changes the way you watch the game. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird made fans of all of us in the NBA. Ichiro brought us a new ballgame in the summer of 2001.

Jones has exposed me to a brand new game of football. Compared to watching Jones, watching the ball is so boring.

Spotlight Jones and you will be in awe. He will pull and drive a guy 15 yards down the field. He will flatten him on a crack-back block.

If he weren't on your side it would be unfair. Remember when your older brother would hold the cookie just out of your reach and make you reach and flail. That's how opposing linemen must feel."


New Nate | | Tacoma, WA: "One almost expects McMillan to pine for Seattle, to second-guess his decision to leave the only NBA organization he has ever known, to recognize the challenges of youth on this Blazers team and yearn for the winning ways he helped build with the Sonics last season.

Quite the contrary, McMillan is basking in this new life. He is a visitor to a foreign country, learning the language and customs of a new culture. His drive to work is fresh, his office has new, different walls, his voice is being heard by fresh sets of ears. He is a man in infancy, a man with a new long-term lease on his life."