The dailies basically carrying over the same conversations from yesterday.
Second verse, same as the first.
Even though all the obvious things were said in training camp about focusing on play and ignoring the tumult, Hill now thinks some of his players have been affected.
"I believed early that this was such a young group focused on establishing themselves that, although they'd like to stay in Seattle, they weren't going to lose any sleep over it during the season," he said. "Having said that, when you monitor the team, I think maybe it has been a distraction to some, although I can't be specific."
Hill defends himself by pointing to the teamâ€™s multitude of injuries, from Robert Swiftâ€™s season-ending knee injury to the nine games Ray Allen missed to the two months that Rashard Lewis is going to miss following hand surgery.
â€œTake me out and I donâ€™t know what a coach does about 100 player games missed in 46 games,â€ Hill said. â€œI donâ€™t know what to do with that, except you have to keep working and figuring out rotations and do the best you can. We only have a minus-2 (scoring) differential. With a team with our record you would think it would be a lot worse. That should be considered.â€
There are examples to refute Hillâ€™s contentions about injuries. The Houston Rockets have lost Yao Ming and his 25 points and 10 rebounds for more than a month, and they have gone 13-6 in that span, including three four-game win streaks.
Bah, that's easy. Houston has something the Sonics don't. Quality depth. The Rockets can lose their two best players and replace them with vet guys like Bonzi Wells and Juwan Howard. The Sonics can replace their two best players with ... a second year player and a rookie.
Good blog entry by FH in which he writes what most of us have been saying for a while, it does not matter who the coach is, this roster is broken.
I have talked to a few people in the organization and they feel the same way, that while it is not out of the question that Hill gets fired, it would be surprising given that the team has not quit on him. I think have written this previously, but somebody brought this up to me and I thought it was a good point: If Nate had to have everything come together with this core group for them to get to the playoffs, and Bob Weiss and Bob Hill have not been able to make it work, when does it become obvious that it is the mix of players who are not working and not the coach?
I am really wary of all this talk about Lenny being put in charge next year. Seriously. This team needs a virtual complete rebuild in culture from the top down and I just feel a younger guy from a different org with a culture of winning is the way to go. Give Lenny whatever title you want, let him put his two cents in but I cannot emphasize enough how strongly I feel that this could be a repeat of the Bob Weiss hiring. It's the easiest move to make but it's not the best move to make. If they go through the same non-job search this year that they did two years ago then the team deserves whatever fallout comes from that. Successful organizations do their due diligence when looking for CEOs. This org hasn't really done anything like that since the Ackerley days and the proof is in the pudding folks. Don't make the same mistakes again and again. Lenny is part of the solution but he is not the total solution and that's the sense I'm getting from fans and some media members.
"Our thinking coming into this season, if we could get them playing well at the same time, we could have as good a tandem as anybody," Hill said. "It hasn't worked out that way for whatever reason. We got to a point where we were getting off to slow starts. I had to make a change and I did."
The change did increase the ball movement and reduce turnovers, but Watson is no more of a scoring threat than Ridnour and is more erratic with his outside shot. While the Sonics consistently get burned by talented point guards with solid inside-outside games, Watson and Ridnour pass up open shots.
It's all about the enforcers in today's Times.
"That's probably why we don't get any calls," Allen said earlier this season, talking about Sonics opponents being whistled for the least amount of fouls in the league. "We need to be like thuggish ruggish. That's why we need Danny [Fortson] out on the court. It lifts perception. When you rebound the ball and have a lot of dunks, then the league says that you're an aggressive smash-mouth team. Because we're shooters and don't have a big-man presence, that takes away the perceived aggressive nature."
That's a good quote, and in essence I agree with what Ray is saying, but before everyone goes on a thug love fest understand that the NBA has essentially legislated that player type out of the game, which P wisely brings up later in his article. The reason why there's no Oakleys, Masons, and X-Men in the league today is because the league doesn't want thug ball, they don't want another Knicks-Rockets Finals series on their hands. Oh there's still a Bruce Bowen or two in the league but Bowen is growing old and the rules these days simply do not allow you to body up on guys any more. That is the simple truth.
Enforcers were stripped of their final rights in the 1997-98 season, when a new rule prohibited players from using their forearms to impede the progress of a player facing the basket inside, and the "no-charge" halo under the hoop was added.
Kelley steps into the wayback machine for an interview with Tom Meschery
"It was very interesting to me that I was pretty violent and got into a lot of fights," he said. "Fighting was an extremely spontaneous thing to me. I never felt that I had to be an enforcer.
"For me it was just action and reaction. I took everything personally. You step on my toe, or you step on my turf, and I kind of went off my rocker. I would become completely insane."
Memo to Jayda and Squirrel Boy ... you left John Brisker off the list of all time tough guys. Nice to see the Nutcracker on the list of new guys although I don't consider him in a class with Bowen and Big Ben.