Monday, October 8, 2007

Sonics Prepare for Preseason Opener

It's a little more than 24 hours away from the start of the 2007 Sonics preseason. Do you know who your starting lineup is? P.J. Carlesimo doesn't, or if he does, he gave no indication Monday after the Sonics practiced at The Furtado Center. The first step will be deciding which of the 15 players on the Sonics roster will be unavailable for the game as Carlesimo seeks to have a manageable number as part of his preseason rotation.

"We'll come up with a list of three, four or five people who either won't dress or certainly won't play. I haven't even thought about whether they'll dress or not. There will be a shorter (group) - probably 10, 11 or 12 people - available for the game tomorrow night. The other guys will know they aren't going to play, and that will change for Cleveland and Indianapolis.

"I would say I lean toward the guys who have been not healthy being the ones out of the rotation tomorrow night, but we haven't talked about that."

Carlesimo's decision became slightly more complicated Monday, but that was very good news. It meant all 15 players on the roster practiced. Still, players who have missed time recently like Mickael Gelabale (strained left hamstring), Robert Swift (patellar tendinitis, right knee), Wally Szczerbiak (left knee swelling) and Kurt Thomas (left quad contusion) are more likely to sit out tomorrow.

After taking Sunday off, the Sonics returned to the court today. They spent the last half-hour of practice open to the media working on their zone, first walking through it and then going live up and down the court.

"It was a pretty good, hard practice," Carlesimo said. "We got everybody back healthy, which is great. A little sloppy early, which sometimes happens the day after a day off. For the most part, guys came back and had legs. We did a lot of things. We put stuff in. Overall, it was good."

After practice, the team left for Sacramento this afternoon. Just a week after their first practice, the Sonics will play a preseason game.

"I had 23 years of six weeks of preseason and you're ready to play a game (in college)," Carlesimo noted. "Six weeks is kinda nice. To go from that to seven days and you play a game, that still astounds me."

Both teams are in relatively similar situations, because Reggie Theus will also be making his debut on the sidelines for Sacramento tomorrow.

"Two of the three games are like that," said Carlesimo. "That's the same way with Obie (Jim O'Brien) in Indiana. I think our team has probably had more of a shakeup than those two teams, but I may be wrong - I haven't looked closely at their rosters and I can't remember. I'm thinking they may have more starters back, more veterans available to them, so that will give them maybe a little bit of a leg up on us. I do think the fact that for Reggie it's a whole new situation, a whole new coaching staff, I think the two of us, we're not going to win any style points tomorrow night."

Style points won't be the goal anyway.

"At this stage, it's just a lot of evaluating of personnel," Carlesimo said. "A lot of evaluating of what we've put in so far - how quickly we can put things in. There are a couple of areas tomorrow night that we will probably get exposed in - and we'll talk about that after the game - because we haven't put it in. We can't expect them to do something well if we haven't even put it on the floor. The things we have covered, I hope we see tomorrow night.

"I'm joking about it, but it will look decent tomorrow night. It's hard to imagine you can do that in six or seven games, but that's what these guys do."