So much to get caught up with, and I don't have enough time to put it all down ...
Locked on the Bench
Bob Hill had some interesting things to say at practice today. He said that some of the guys are playing angry and this is not a productive way to play. In addition, he talked about guys not bringing their usual level of energy when they come off the bench.
Hill also pointed out again that guys donâ€™t like accountability. He said that, no matter what, it will always be the coaches fault and he understands that. However, he is not going to leave guys in the game to have them find themselves at the cost of losing games.
In regards to the comments about the system and not being able to play in the system, Hill points out that nothing has changed since last year.
Here is my take. Guys are struggling, mainly Watson, and they are trying to find reasons why they are having a tough stretch. It is easier to blame than to look inwards. Also, every player in the world feels as though if they had a few more minutes of run they would get into a better rhythm. There is some truth to how hard it is to play the game off the bench.
Asd Locke states at the bottom, and the Hill haters can't seem to get through their heads -- Collison shooting 39%. Watson shooting BELOW 30%. Damien Wilkins shooting 43%. Bob Hill isn't choosing shots for these guys.
Numbers prove that each of the three primary reserves is not meeting expectations offensively. Watson is a career 41.4 percent shooter and is at 29.7 after Sunday's 1-for-8 effort. Collison is at 38.8, nearly 13 percentage points below his career average, while Wilkins' 42.5 percent clip is just below his lifetime 43.9 percentage.
"Pros hold themselves accountable, younger players have the tendency to point the fingers," Hill said. " 'Well, if you had been out there two more minutes, we'd be down eight instead of six.' It's their job to hold themselves accountable and play efficiently when they're on the floor."
When the subject switched to Wilkins, Hill admitted he's considered benching the disgruntled swingman in favor of rookie Mickael Gelabale, who the coach believes will mature into a solid NBA player.
Coincidently, before Hill could explain why he hasn't made the move to Gelabale, Wilkins, dressed in street clothes, walked out of the weight room and stepped on the practice floor. He had a meeting with the Sonics coach, and Hill asked him to wait in his office.
Wilkins complied, although he didn't look happy. "You see, he's pouting today," Hill said. "He's pouting. How can you do that? He's got a nice life."
Damien has had his share of offensive problems this year. I don't see Jelly Belly being the cure for that. He is probably second on the team in FWOSMs: frustrating wide open shots missed.
According to league sources, if things do not improve with Watson, Sonics general manager Rick Sund will actively pursue dealing the reserve guard, who came to Seattle last February after feeling misused in Denver.
Watson is making $5.4 million in the second season of a five-year, $30 million contract and would like to go to a team where he could get more playing time. The Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies all have issues at point guard right now.
Ah, those league sources. You gotta love them.
There's a whole bunch more stuff from yesterday when the site was down that I don't feel like recapping because I don't want to get into why Lenny Wilkens shouldn't coach this team or doing the whole he said she said thing. The people who want Hill gone will see what they want to see in a quote like this:
â€œThis is a playersâ€™ league, and they have to be held accountable for their play. I am not going to leave a guy out there who is struggling and we are trying to win games and we are losing just so maybe he can find his shot.
â€œThat is his job.â€
And those who feel differently will do the same. I must say that I am disappointed that Hill decided to stoop to this level because I don't feel that a coach is ever going to win battles like this in the papers. That being said, when Sund, Walker, whoever made the decision chose to bring back a lame duck coach, this is the type of situation that it breeds. Players with contracts running longer than the coach's mouth off and more often than not the coach pays the price. Like many fans, I had hoped that Earl would be more professional than this. Hill does absolutely have a point when he says that winning teams hold themselves accountable, losers point fingers. And given the amount of finger pointing going on the past few days I can think of no clearer sign that this team has a long way to mature before they start winning.
Everyone please be careful out there today. It's still icy.
All hail the Brushback.