Last nights win against Golden State was a good one for the SuperSonics. It isnâ€™t as if it makes preseason games mean any more, but frankly it makes my "in progress" article on the irrelevance of the preseason seem a little less relevant itself. A win just felt good.
During the preseason I try to look less at records (donâ€™t think the San Antonio Spurs are terribly concerned about their 1-6 start) and more at trends and individual performances. This is made even more difficult because the games are not televised locally so I rely a lot on radio commentary and statistics. So far this preseason has yielded some real concerns for me and last night's win brought cause for optimism. Here are my game notes and some preseason thoughts to date:
Sonics 108, Warriors 95
The lineups in this game just all seemed to click. Starting Vladi Radmanovic alongside Johan Petro created a lineup that was physically superior to the opposition and was able to really get in a groove. Unlike past years we were essentially starting our best players at their 5 respective positions. The substitution patterns of Collison, Murray, and Wilkens also seemed to be much more effective than in past games. It may have just been a good night but the rotation deserves another look.
Left out of the rotation was power forward Reggie Evans who would Rapidly lose his role if Radmonovich could consistently rebound like he did last night.
Johan Petro has the team abuzz. Iâ€™ll get my first chance to witness a practice scrimmage on Monday but I understand that he has been extremely impressive on the practice floor. Granted he was matched up against 20 year old Andris Biedrins but so far he has stepped up to every challenge and at this point may in fact be the favorite to start at the center position. This will have a spillover effect on the power forward spot by forcing Reggie Evans out of the starting lineup and replacing him with either Collison or Radmanovic.
Speaking of Collison I am extremely happy to see both him and Flip Murray get off the snide. I have high hopes for Nick Collison not only to see more minutes this year, but to establish himself as an upper echelon PF. So far in the preseason he simply had not shown it and I was starting to get concerned. Nick Collison is not a guy you need to worry about and based on radio commentary his 17 point, 10 rebound performance (in only 19 minutes) was a thing of beauty. He needs to keep this up for us to be successful this year.
Flip Murray is the other key piece for us this season. KJRâ€™s David Locke had some great halftime commentary about how essential Flip is in filling the void left by Antonio Daniels and through 5 games he had been completely ineffective. Last night that was not the case. My feelings with Flip are that he does some things really well and others not so well. He needs to be directed to play towards his strengths and struggles greatly when trying to play a different game. Last night he was in his game. He took the ball aggressively to the rack rather than settling for a jump shot, drew fouls, and directed the offense as a point guard by pushing the ball and slashing rather than by trying to set the offense from the top of the key. It worked and the results were 16 points in 27 minutes. The 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals on the night possibly made it the most well balanced game of his career.