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What Are They Thinking? The Sonics

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It's not that interesting going through all 30 NBA teams after the draft.  I mean, the Nuggets and the Cavs had zero picks.  The Spurs are the Spurs (i.e. boring).  But there are an extraordinary number of teams this year that seemingly took pretty big risks.  Let's look at a few of them, starting with Seattle.

The Durant pick was, as I believe Jay Bilas said, the easiest pick in the history of the draft.  But what's up with the trade?  On the whole, getting younger and shedding some salary is a very good thing.  But Rashard Lewis is a 6'10" perimeter player, Kevin Durant is a 6'10" perimeter player, and Jeff Green is a 6'9" perimeter player.  Lewis is a free agent, and may not remain a Sonic, but that would seem to be a risky strategy as well.  As young and promising as Durant and Green may be, do they really think they're going to keep the franchise in Seattle by getting rid of their two best players and starting over with rookies?  

During the ESPN telecast, Ric Bucher said that he was told that new Sonics GM Sam Presti intends to keep Lewis and play the three of them together.  Now you're talking!  Why not?  Put three completely interchangeable players on the floor, and make the other team react to you.  Defensively, these guys are going to have to be willing to work hard, double team, and rotate, but if they do it effectively, it can be a very effective strategy (as demonstrated by the Warriors in last year's playoffs).  I've long been a fan of putting your five best players on the court, regardless of position, and I also like the defensive versatility that comes from having interchangeable pieces.  If indeed this is Presti's plan, then kudos to him on a daring stratagem.  (You could even play Wally at the two, and add a fourth piece only slightly smaller - if he's healthy he can still shoot, and at worst he becomes a major trade asset around the trade deadline or next off season.)

OK, so I would accept the "3 tall 3's" approach as a viable (if risky) plan.  But why Green?  Ever been to Seattle?  There's a large and vibrant Chinese population in Seattle.  Wouldn't Yi have been a guaranteed draw, not to mention the fact that his ceiling is much, much higher than Green's?  I mean, why roll the dice on the strategy and then play it safe on the draft pick?  If you're going to go for it, don't you have to go all in?  Yi would have been an infinitely better pick with this strategy, imho.

Update [2007-7-3 14:36:45 by ClipperSteve]:  They traded their leading scorer, a seven-time all star, for a draft pick and some salary relief on draft day.  Now, their second leading scorer, another former all-star, has agreed to a max deal with Orlando.  Their third-leading scorer?  Former Clipper Chris Wilcox.  Fourth - point guard Luke Ridnour, whom they have been trying to trade.  Yes, Kevin Durant is going to be great.  But not even Kevin Garnett was able to carry this kind of load as a 19 year old.  And I for one am not completely sold on Jeff Green.  Their payroll will be one of the lowest in the league for the next few years, and they will draw well enough with some young and exciting players.  But they don't have a coach, and they won't have Seattle as a home much longer.