Seattle is a franchise searching for its future. Two years removed from a 52 win season, a Northwest Division Championship, and a trip to the Western Conference Semifinals, the Sonics have new ownership, a new front office, and their 3rd head coach since Nate McMillan
went south to Oregon as they try and right the ship after back to back disappointing seasons. Seattle's disappointment on the court has actually been exceeded by the outrage the locals have with the planned departure to Oklahoma City. With General Manager Sam Presti imported from San Antonio the Sonics, have decided to take the good fortune of getting the 2nd overall pick in the 07 draft and not just change locations, but also change their identity.
Gone are All Stars Ray Allen
and Rashard Lewis
, and in are 2nd overall pick Kevin Durant
, 5th pick Jeff Green
, as well as 4th year guard Delonte West
. These three add to an already young core of players that Seattle has accumulated over the past several seasons.
Through the first 3 games reserve Wally Szczerbiak
, acquired in the draft day deal of Ray Allen
along with Green and West, is the only player in the rotation over 30 years old. To start the season, Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo has followed the recent trend in the NBA with young and inexperienced teams, and has looked to push the pace, which has suited Durant just fine, as he has made quite a splash in his first week in the NBA.Kevin Durant G/F 3 games 23ppg, 6 rpg, 2.3 apg, 3 topg
With a knee injury prematurely ending 1st overall pick Greg Oden
s rookie campaign, the attention has fallen on the 69 University of Texas product. Durant is a unique and versatile package of size and skill that almost has to be seen to be believed. Through his first 3 games, he is shooting 44% from the field, including 37% on 3pt attempts. Due to his extremely thin frame and the makeup of Seattles roster, Carlesimo has chosen to start Durant at the SG spot, though he rotates to both forwards spots as well. The first thing that strikes you about Durant on the court is how quickly and effortlessly he moves with or without the ball.
Equally impressive is his shooting stroke and quick release, as the NBA 3pt distance has not proven to be a challenge. Durant does have deficiencies in his game, specifically when it comes to defensive awareness and physical strength, but he consistently seems to be ahead of the play, in good position to get the ball and attack offensively.
For a player his size, he has done very well handling the basketball, especially on the perimeter against smaller players. In the 3 games this week, only during his 27 point night against Phoenix did he have turnover trouble, matched up against All NBA defender Shawn Marion
. Even at that, almost half of his turnovers have been on offensive charge calls.
As impressive as Durants first week has been, he really is only scratching the surface. He frequently is settling for the first look on offense, and has been a non factor on the offensive glass as he is often positioned out on the perimeter.Jeff Green F 3 games, 9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.3 topg
The former Georgetown Hoyas first week in the NBA was far more than what is usually expected of a rookie stepping into the NBA. Green struggled from the field, at 38%, but that was skewed by a 3-12 effort against Phoenix and he had some turnover trouble against the Clippers on Sunday. But overall, Green has shown signs of being able to make a quick adjustment to the NBA game.
Green is more developed physically than Durant, and his combo forward skills were on display. Green has the ball handling and passing skills of a guard as well as the size and strength to play inside. While not always successful, he has shown a desire to attack the rim, off the dribble as well as the offensive glass.
Green is looking more and more comfortable each game, and his defensive instincts are also coming through as he did a nice job against Amare Stoudemire