I had a few minutes to speak with 2nd year Sonics center Robert Swift about recent reports of a hip injury, his performance, as well as the seemingly unending infatuation the Celtics have for the young 7 footer.
Swift did in fact confirm that he has struggled with a hip pointer through most of camp as well as the preseason. His performance during this period has clearly not met the expectations of the fans or coaches.
â€œI got hit early during training camp and the hip started bothering me. Then I got hit again right before the Houston game. I pretty much couldnâ€™t walk, couldnâ€™t jump. It basically 100% healed now though.â€ Swift said regarding the injury.
In some ways an injury will be welcome news for Sonics fans that are looking for some indication that he can develop into a dominant center. So far he has appeared out of sync and somewhat robotic in preseason play and it would be nice to think that he will be more effective when injury free.
Also partly to blame for Swifts performance could be nerves as he continues to make the transition from High School to the professional game. I asked Swift if nerves were a problem for him at game time.
â€œA little bit.â€ He acknowledged, â€œIts one of those things you get used to.â€
Each home game the Supersonics allow one player to speak to the fans, taking a moment to thank them for attendance and welcome them to the event. At the first home preseason game against Phoenix Swift was given the opportunity to address the fans. I would hazard a guess that the organization is making a conscious effort to get him adjusted to the crowds.
Nothing to the Celtic Rumors:
Swift didnâ€™t seem terribly interested in discussing the constant internet speculation that the Boston Celtics are trying to acquire his services. Although he smiled a bit when I asked him if he was related to Boston GM Danny Aingeâ€™s wife he had little to say about the topic. According to Swift he has not followed the rumors and has no relationship with Ainge.
â€œI met him once. Weâ€™ve never really had a chance to sit down and talk.â€
In addition Swift flatly denied that he had any type of promise to the Celtics on draft day last year.
â€œNo promises. I had heard they were going to take me. Nothing more than heard from a guy who heard from a guy.â€ Swift said.
Swift continues to impress coaches in practice and seems to have the solid support of his teammates. Whether he can improve his performance enough to make an impact this season remains to be seen.