The well chronicled inability of the Sonics defense after 30 games surely got Bob Weiss firedâ€”or reassignedâ€”but the final straw that broke the camel down was inserting Damien Wilkins at point guard.
That move showed there wasnâ€™t a plan and that desperation prevailed in Sonicsland.
Iâ€™m as ambivalent as the next person because I wanted the good guy to finish first. Somewhere deep inside I wanted to believe guys like Bob Weiss, Keith Gilbertson and Bob Melvin could parlay their immense knowledge of the sport and good-guy demeanors into winning programs.
But, apparently, multi-million dollars athletes will have none of that.
Iâ€™m fine with the fact the Sonics made a change. I think it was courageous to concede that this thing was not only broken, but the only ones really capable of fixing itâ€”the playersâ€”werenâ€™t interested in being part of the solution. Itâ€™s easy to heap blame on the organization for going the â€œcheapâ€ route and hiring from within under the mantra of continuity, but I understand the move from the standpoint that Weiss knows the game, knows the players and was part of last seasonâ€™s success.
But I remember back to the summer when I was more exciting about the hiringâ€™s of Hill and Ralph Lewis because their bioâ€™s implied hard-nosed, no-nonsense kinds of guys. They seemed more likely to climb in the cranium and yell rather than give a friendly pat on the back and say, â€œthat didnâ€™t work that well, letâ€™s try again.â€ I donâ€™t know why negative management style is so effective, but it is and you have to plan for it as an organization/business.
I like what Iâ€™m reading so far from the papers. Hill believes Radmanovic is part of the answer to this rudderless ship and I would tend to agree. Not the bad Vladi weâ€™ve seen thus far, but the guy that needs to drop the potential tag and start vying for all-star recognition. I know, from where we currently are, that that last statement sounds stupid, but he has the talent; basketball skill is not Vladimirâ€™s problem. Vladi with a bit of an edge or chip on his lackluster could easily change the make-up of this team. I would disagree that itâ€™s about Radmanovic being able to spread the floor with his offense (we know heâ€™s a capable offensive player). I think his length and athleticism to defend the other end of the floor should be his calling card.
Luke is the point guard of this team. I know people want to look at his size and think he canâ€™t defend his position, but he does fine. Mark Price, Kevin Johnson, Kenny Smith, and others were/are not big guys , but they had special skills that didnâ€™t include lock-down defense and they enjoyed success. Luke QBâ€™s an offense like few can and he cares enough about defense to give a solid effort. Heâ€™s never beat for trying. Put a shot blocker behind Ridnour and everyone will love his play.
The insertion of Petro is mandatory. Outside of missing all his free throwsâ€”which Dale Davis made a living doing in the early yearsâ€”Petro brought the length and activity this team vitally needs. But just like teaching an overly excited young, large puppy to live in the house without destroying it, he needs the opportunity to make mistakes along with the flying blocked shots and slams off nice finds by Luke. The young guys should get a chance to play.
Iâ€™m not sure what Hillâ€™s going to do about the backup guard positions, but it will be interesting to see. I think heâ€™s a Murray fan, but time will tell. I hope Sund isnâ€™t done with yesterdayâ€™s changes because it would be a mistake to think the problems stopped with the Weiss removal.
I hope itâ€™s a new day for the Sonics because itâ€™s been a sketchy start to the season, to say the least. The nice part is that the season is still salvageable and hopefully task-master Bob succeeds where be-nice Bob didnâ€™t.
Weâ€™ll seeâ€”starting tonight.