When the Sonics drafted center Robert Swift out of High School with the #12 pick in the 2004 draft many analysts questioned the pick. The consensus seemed to be that the team needed a prospect who could provide immediate help to a lineup that was expected to be near the bottom of the standings. Swift, it was widely assumed would require at minimum 3 years of seasoning before being able to make any type of impact.
Clearly the first assumption was wrong as the surprising Sonics won 52 games while Swift spent most of the season working hard on his game during practice but riding the bench during game time. Swift would also be disappointed if the three year forcast proves to be correct.
â€œYes Personally I would.â€ Swift said. â€œIâ€™m hoping to play this year. I want to come out strong and help the team. I think I can fill some of the role of Jerome James who left.â€
Recent reports out of training camp indicate that Swift is impressing coaches as well. Bob Weiss has indicated that he expects Swift to earn minutes in the rotation this season. However a summer league performance plagued by fouls and low scoring totals provides some cause for concern.
â€œPersonally (the numbers) werenâ€™t disappointing for me. People wanted me to go out and be the leading scorer and everything. I knew that wasnâ€™t going to happen. In summer league the guards go out and show what they can do and control the ball. I went out and looked to play defense and grab boards and do all the small things and ended up second in the league in rebounding.â€
If Swift can come into the season providing a strong rebounding and defensive presence it should be enough for him to earn 10-20 minutes a game and fill some of the void left in Jamesâ€™ absence.