Tonight the Sonics held the teams annual open practice, this year at Inglemoor High School. Last year the event was held at SPU, moving it out of the city and into the suburbs definately brought more people to the event. The gym was absolutely packed and the Sonics put on a nice show, even though it started almost one half hour late.
Once the team arrived and Weiss gave his quick media session the team began warmups. Last years scrimmage had four ten minute quarters where this year there were five six minute games where you could see different combos work together.
Below I will give a few notes that I gathered throughout the evening. If anyone has any specifics they'd like for either myself or fellow SonicsCentral poster Steve Stearns to answer, we will do our best. I am not going to go through the lineups for each games, instead will just comment on points of interest.
Players who did not play tonight were Vitaly Potapenko, Mikki Moore and Danny Fortson (who may have recieved the largest ovation).
I could go on for hours about just how good Ray Allen is, even in these events where its blatantly obvious he's not playing his hardest he is simply the best player on the court. Rashard looks to be in form for the regular season. Luke's jumper was silky smooth on this evening. In the first game these three teamed with Vladimir and Johan Petro in a possible show of whose looking at starting nods in 8 days.
This was my first extended look at Johan Petro and he reminds me a ton of Samuel Dalembert two years ago. When he's on the court you know he's there, he challenges every shot. Through the games he was mostly matched up against Robert Swift. It's blatantly obvious that Petro looks a ton better when he's on the court with the starters, especially Luke.
For those that made it to last years open practice and this years there is a very noticable improvement in Robert Swifts game. He's a lot more confident out there and seemed to get stronger as the night went on. Because of the changes in teams through the night we were able to get a good look at Swifty and one thing that jumped out at me was that him and Mateen Cleaves work very well together.
Alex Scales deserves a roster spot. At this point if Luke were to go down, I'd trust him as our PG for a short stint. For a long period of time we'd be in trouble. He's not as flashy as Murray but his outside shot is a lot better and he fills his role very well.
Noel Felix will probably not make the team, but it won't be for lack of athleticism or intensity. It's really too bad that theres not a way we could keep him around and send him to the NBDL for a year. He's a player that at some point should make a team. It just seems like he'll get caught in the numbers game here.
Damien Wilkins and Ray Allen have really good chemistry on the court. When those two are on the court together, good things happen. I think through the year we will see a lot of court time with those two out there together.
Nick Collison is just a really solid player. This is not the format where you notice just how good he really is .
The funniest comment of the night was made by Steve when Reggie made a wide open layup. "Even his own teammates don't guard him". Funniest moment of the night had to be Johan Petro snatching an offensive rebound in the middle of the key and dishing the ball to Reggie. It might be the first time in Reggie's career where someone looked to him on the offensive end on purpose.
Overall it was a fun night, but could have been positioned a bit better for a larger number of fans. It was not in the most convienient location for a good deal of fans but it would not shock me to see them have them in these types of locations more often as the vibe from those in attendence was a ton better than last year.