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The Great 8

Shortly after Percy Allen broke a story detailing the Sonics workouts 2 weeks ago the team issued an official press release confirming the attendance of 8 players in their pre-draft workouts. According to the team those players were:

May 31
Randy Foye 6-3
J.J. Redick 6-3
Mohamed Sene Saer 7-0
Sidiki Sidibe 7-0

June 1
Sheldon Williams 6-9
Alexander Johnson 6-9
Patrick O’Bryant 7-0
Paul Millsap 6-9

Upon receiving this mail I was of the opinion that we would be receiving frequent updates regarding the status of workouts in Seattle. My strong hunch is that this could become an every Friday event for the next several weeks and other workouts may have occurred, just not yet been announced.

That being the case it was with some surprise that I read this morning’s piece by Gary Washburn of the Seattle-PI which seems to indicate that the Sonics talent evaluators have headed to Orlando for the pre-draft camp with only these 8 player workouts in the books. While Gary may have just been writing based off the team’s official announcement I know him to be a thorough and well connected guy who I assume placed a call regarding additional workouts. It raises the possibility that these 8, of which only 5 are legitimate first round prospects, are the only players worked out to date by our team.

This seems to contrast greatly with some other teams reported workout schedules. The web site seems to have the most inside information regarding draft workouts. Their list of workouts is compiled not only from newspaper reports, but also direct correspondence with both agents and players. With the top lottery prospects it appears that they have steady and regular updates regarding workout and travel schedules.

According to this site many teams are significantly more active than the Sonics with their individual player workouts. The Houston Rockets, selecting #8 have 20 reported workouts to date while the Warriors and Jazz, #9 and #13 respectively have each brought in 16 players.

This may simply be the result of a difference in styles. According to last season the team had only worked out 21 players as of June 17, compared to the Rockets 20 already this year. In 2004 the team had only 11 players work out by the first week of June and wound up selecting Robert Swift whom they had never had a chance to meet with. I also know that the Sonics did not even begin player workouts until after the NBA Draft while some teams focused on player evaluation from the moment the regular season ended. Foye for example worked out for the Rockets on May 19, 4 days prior to the draft. Several potential second round picks recorded workouts as early as May 1.

What is interesting is the concept that the Sonics are focused on one or several of the players whom they chose for an early invite. Reddick, Williams, and Foy are all consensus candidates for lottery selection and I continue to hear from both media and sources within the organization that Reddick is the early favorite. He’ll be going to Seattle in my next mock draft if Houston does not snag him first. Other rumors have Saer Sene canceling future workouts shortly after his visit to Seattle, perhaps fueling speculation that he received a promise with the #10 pick. This seems doubtful as the Supersonics are not the type of organization which is likely to make any type of concrete promise, let alone one this early in the game.

Regardless expect the rumors to heat up a great deal as the front offices and media members gather in Orlando this coming week.