Tonight at Hazen High School the Sonics held thier annual open practice. First and foremost every Sonic with the exception of Danny Fortson suited up and I'll try to remember a little bit about each players performance. The way they handled things this year was three seperate 12 minute games mixing up the teams at each break. I'll leave the professional writeup to Kevin Pelton to tell you who was on what team and when and whom scored what, instead I will focus on how each player looked and things that impressed me.
Ray Allen only played in the first game and like normal he's simply amazing to watch on the court. In that first game they broke out with what looks to be the starting lineup on one side and the reserves on the other. In the only position battle seemingly left open by Coach Hill the starting slot went to Robert Swift. I'll say this right now, Robert was the best player on the court tonight. He had solid post moves, he grabbed rebounds but what impressed me most was his calling out defenses and helping his teammates on that end of the court. I watched Petro and Sene and neither came close to being as vocal as Robert was. Petro was solid but not spectacular in any form. For a couple minutes him and Swift ran together interchanging to have each play the PF slot. Tonight was not one of Mo Sene's better nights, but his length is something you've got to see to believe.
From the PF's Wilcox was his usual ball of energy self getting a couple very solid dunks in transition. I'd still like to see more hustle from him on the defensive end. Nick's just a solid player, there's no faucet of his game that IMO has not improved from last year. He hit a couple nice 15-18 foot jumpers and battled hard for position. I was also impressed with Kenny Adeleke, who probably is on the outside looking in at a roster spot but is a guy that gives 100% effort when he's on the court. I can see why the Reggie Evans comparisions were made.
Rashard has improved his handle quite a bit, either that or guys were trying to not strip him. They gave him the center of the court a couple times and he took full advantage. On a couple of occasions he made drives and converted while getting fouled. This is not something he could have done two years ago. Damien didn't have his best night, but much like Ray he sat most of the time after the first game. Three quick notes on Gelabale, first is that he's really -really- skinny (I mean tooth-pick skinny), second is he's very smooth on the court and third being he's got the coolest hair I've ever seen. I can't figure out who to compare him too, he's very solid on the defensive end but because of his size not overly physical. He covers a ton of ground with his long strides and his handle is a bit better than I thought it would be based upon Shawn's description.
SG's outside of Ray are a mixed bag. Each did things right and some areas where they definately need improvement. Farmer has a great looking outside shot, and well that's about it. Kareem Rush really didn't show me much, probably because I was more focused on Gelabales awesome hair (have I mentioned that yet), but there were no really glowing errors he made. Denham Brown made a nice steal on an inbounds pass in the third game and takes the ball to the rack hard. I'm not sure his shot is ready for this level at this point.
Luke does a great job of setting the floor with the starters and didn't get ahead of himself trying to maket he showtime pass. THis is the kind of situation where what he brings really doesn't show through. Watson played solid for the most part, his defense is always great but his shot wasn't really falling tonight that I can remember. Palacio and Wilks were there. I can't say that much they did really stood out.
Bob Hill's pregame speech ended with a chant. One we all hope becomes a reality within the year.
SONICS IN SEATTLE, YEAH!