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Preseason Thoughts

Preseason Games are what they are and I am well aware that there is not much to be read into them. Furthermore technical difficulties (a cranky 5 year old) kept me from watching the entire Sonics/Suns match up on October 14th so my commentary is limited to the first half action where there really were not too many remarkable observations. Nevertheless here is what I noticed:

The Teen Towers
Probably the biggest feeling I carried out of the game was that Johan Petro is going to be a good player. Statistically he did not contribute a great deal but in terms of presence he affects nearly every play when he’s on the floor. He’s big, physical, aggressive, and really likes to put a body on people. There are some big men who simply do not understand that using your size and weight to “feel out” the soft spots in a defense or when going for a rebound takes a toll on the opposition. I don’t think Petro has that problem.

Petro was, for this exhibition game noticeably more impressive than Robert Swift who appeared robotic and uncertain at times. Swift wasn’t necessarily bad but he did not impress greatly. The biggest concern with him seems to be an inability to block out for rebounds and a sense that he’s just “a second too late” way too often. With rebounding he’s one of those guys that on nearly every play you say “he got a hand on it” but his timing is just not there.

Both Swift and Petro look to be solid to exceptional shot blockers. If we can live with that as their only contribution then either may see playing time this season.

Rotation
I think we’re starting to see some indication of what the rotation will look like this season. Bob Weiss’ decision not to consider Nick Collison as a starter at the PF position has been cause for some controversy. I’m thinking now that this decision has more to do with the center rotation than the PF one. Collison was the first player off the bench against Phoenix and entered the game at the C spot. This makes sense to me as a likely regular season substitution.

Flip Murray saw a good deal of time at point guard which most people expected. He’s going to be given every opportunity to take over the minutes vacated by Antonio Daniels who departed to Washington.

Damien Wilkens was given numerous opportunities to create his own shot while playing with guys who are not exactly dynamic scorers. Given his new contract it looked like they may be auditioning him for a much bigger role than he played last year.

Luke Ridnour
Lets just say Luke is good and getting better. He’ll have a big impact on this season and looked great in preseason action.

Phoenix
Don't read too much into this win, the Suns are not a very good team. Without Amare Stoudamire their lineup just doesn't have too many physically dynamic players. They will live and die by the three pointer on offense and in this game it just happened to fall. Both Kurt Thomas and Brian Grant looked well past their primes.

The Final Spot
The other answer I was looking for was some indication as to who may have the upper hand for the final roster spot. Interesting to me was the fact that Alex Scales was given the chance to play the point guard position and did a very credible job at it. The Sonics need at backup PG is far greater than that at the shooting guard. The decision to show off Scales versatility indicates to me that he is at least in serious competition with Mateen Cleaves and possibly Rick Brunson for a roster spot.