Friday, August 31, 2007

Hear P.J.

Want to hear a little about the Sonics in August? New Sonics Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo will be on KIRO 710 AM tonight at 7:15 p.m.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

FIBA Americas Championship Update

The U.S. National Team has already clinched a spot in Saturday's semifinals of the FIBA Americas Championship, but the most interesting game of the tournament so far has to be tonight's matchup between the U.S. and Argentina. ESPN's Chris Sheridan has a preview of the matchup between the two unbeaten teams.

While Argentina is without many of the NBA stars from its 2004 gold-medal squad, like Manu Ginobili, Walter Hermann and Andres Nocioni, but still has Toronto swingman Carlos Delfino and Houston newcomer Luis Scola, amongst others, on the roster.

I haven't seen much of the U.S. so far from Las Vegas, but their performance has been impressive thus far, including a dismantling of one of the other presumed top contenders, Brazil. Sheridan's fellow scribe, Eric Neel, had a good column on the mindset of this U.S. team focused on domination.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

You Love to Read This Stuff

This blog post by Sekou Smith, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's excellent Hawks beat writer, is ostensibly about Kobe Bryant's dedication, but the point is made in a way that highlights Sonics rookies Kevin Durant and Jeff Green.

Apparently the U.S. National Team held an optional practice on Sunday and only three players showed up: Bryant, Durant and Green. Another version of the story I've heard indicates that Durant and Green got back in the gym later to get up more shots.

That kind of dedication should serve Durant and Green very well during the regular season and beyond.

Michael Lee of the Washington Post was in Las Vegas and has a story about the budding friendship between Durant and Green:

Durant said Seattle already feels like home with Green and another Maryland native, Delonte West, acquired in the deal with Green. "Going through the lottery experience, I thought I was going to be out there all by myself," Durant said. "God works in mysterious ways."
I asked Green about working out with Durant while back home in the D.C. area as part of my Q&A with Green, in Seattle for the day.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pictures and Friday Update

A couple of photos from Las Vegas and the U.S. Senior National Team practice:

Above, Kevin Durant learns from the best as Jason Kidd delivers a comment to Kobe Bryant. At right, Nick Collison shoots a hook shot in the paint. Both photos by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty.

Not a lot of coverage out there, but ESPN Insider's Chris Sheridan does have this nugget in his notebook piece:

Chauncey Billups said he was in awe of Kevin Durant's soft touch from the outside.

"He's going to be special," Billups said.
In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Gary Washburn has an excellent look at the hard work Robert Swift is putting in with his rehabilitation at The Furtado Center.

"The way I look at it, I am back and healthy," he said. "I am going to come back 100 maybe 110 percent by October. This was a major setback and I turned it into a positive. I gained 40 pounds and I exceeded all of my weightlifting goals. I have worked hard to get back here, and I am ready. I'm ready."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Practicing in Vegas

The U.S. Men's Senior National Team has gathered in Las Vegas to practice for the FIBA Americas Championship, which kicks off Aug. 22. Sonics Nick Collison and Kevin Durant are playing for the Senior National Team, while Jeff Green is playing for a Select Team of younger players scrimmaging against the Senior Team that is coached by Sonics Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo. is on the scene for all the action. Here are their blogs from Day 1 and from Day 2.

"At first, it was nerve-racking," Green told on the first day, "because you get invited out here as a rookie to play against Kobe, LeBron, 'Melo ... all the superstars in the NBA. But after a while, you kinda settle down and know that you're here for a reason. So it was exciting for me, a good beginning to my career."

Chris Bosh has been forced to withdraw from the team by plantar fasciitis, leaving the U.S. with 15 players vying for 12 spots and helping the chances of Collison and Durant of making the final squad.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Durant and Green on

A little while ago, I blogged about the NBA's rookie photo shoot. used that opportunity to grab a lot of rookie-related content for the slower part of the summer and naturally Sonics picks Kevin Durant and Jeff Green have been a big part of that.

First off, check out the rookie survey, which saw the league's newcomers surveyed about their peers. Durant was an overwhelming favorite for Rookie of the Year, getting 23 of the 44 votes. No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden was next in line with just five votes. Green got two votes, tying with several other players for second.

Durant was also the clear answer for the question asking which rookie would play in the most All-Star Games before his career is over, getting 24 votes. (Oden, with 14, did narrow the gap.) Green was also a leading vote-getter as the most overlooked rookie.'s John Schumann used the voting results as the lede for a Q&A with Durant conducted in Tarrytown. Durant is all alone in being unable to explain the results:
I wish I could tell you. I don't know. It's an honor for my classmates to think
I'll be Rookie of the Year, but I'm not looking for that. I'm just looking to
get better.

Meanwhile, colleague Dave McMenamin interviewed Green. I'm sure that had to be tough for McMenamin, who has referenced his alma mater (Big East rival Syracuse) several times. Still, he got Green's take on the summer experience:
The first game was more like a learning challenge – learning the speed of the
game, the plays, the players, the tempo. ... After a couple of games I kind of
got situated into the offense, learned my plays more and it kind of made me able
to have a open mind about things by knowing what I can do at each point [on the
court] and where my teammates are going to be. I think over the course of the
summer league in Vegas I got pretty comfortable with my teammates and just went
out and played.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Green, Carlesimo Named to Select Team

As has been rumored, USA Basketball announced today that Sonics rookie forward Jeff Green has been named to the USA Basketball Select Team that will practice against the Senior National Team in Las Vegas starting later this month to help the Senior Team's preparation for the FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas.

The Select team will be coached by new Sonics Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo, who continues a long history of association with USA Basketball. Carlesimo served as an assistant with the 1992 U.S. Olympic "Dream Team" and has been a head or assistant coach of five other USA Basketball teams.

Green will join fellow Sonics top-five pick Kevin Durant, a member of the Senior Team, in Las Vegas. Green and Houston's Aaron Brooks were the only two rookies named to the Select Team, making it an impressive honor.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Schedule Notes

Did you know we're just 89 days away from Sonics Opening Night? We can say that now that the NBA has released the 2007-08 schedule for the Sonics and the rest of the NBA. I looked at 12 games to watch in 2007-08 earlier, but I wanted to share some other thoughts.


Back-to-backs are always one of the first things I look at with a schedule. If I'm counting correctly - always open for debate - the Sonics play 15 back-to-backs this season, which would be their lowest number in some time. Between 2001-02 and 2006-07, the Sonics averaged 20 back-to-backs per season, with a low of 17.

The Sonics will have a monster seven-game, 11-day road trip from March 2-12. All told, the team will go two full weeks without a home game. As best I can tell, the last time the Sonics played a seven-game road trip was March 1-13, 1983. If you need a reminder of how long ago that was, note the trip closed in Kansas City.

The team also has five-game trips in November and December and a pair of four-game road trips in January. Combined, those five road trips account for 25 of the team's 41 road games.

The Sonics make up for their travel with a pair of seven-game homestands, one from Jan. 23-Feb. 4 and another from March 24-April 6.


There are plenty of Washington state products in the NBA. When will they make their return home?

Detroit (Rodney Stuckey) - Nov. 11
San Antonio (Marcus Williams) - Nov. 25
L.A. Clippers (Will Conroy) - Dec. 5, April 2
Boston (Brian Scalabrine) - Dec. 27
Philadelphia (Bobby Jones) - Dec. 31
Dallas (Jason Terry) - Jan. 11, April 13
L.A. Lakers (Ronny Turiaf) - Jan. 14, Feb. 24
Houston (Aaron Brooks) - Jan. 23, April 4
Sacramento (Spencer Hawes) - Jan. 27, March 30
New York (Jamal Crawford, Dan Dickau, Nate Robinson) - Feb. 2
Portland (Brandon Roy, Martell Webster) - Feb. 22, March 24
Charlotte (Adam Morrison) - March 28