Thursday, December 6, 2007

Gelabale Gets the Point

With the Sonics missing point guards Luke Ridnour and Delonte West last night against the L.A. Clippers, swingman Mickaël Gelabale saw extended action at the position for the first time in his career. Backing up starter Earl Watson, Gelabale played 11 minutes. He did not score and committed three turnovers, but had three boards and three assists. Most notably, the Sonics were +8 during Gelabale's time on the court.

"He more than held his own, which was good," Sonics Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo said after today's practice. "We were positive when he was on the floor. Some of it is always matchups and who's on the floor for the other team too, but the fact remains - had he really struggled, then we wouldn't have been able to keep him on the floor as long as we did. We would have had to get Earl back sooner. Earl would have been more fatigued, would have had to play more minutes. He did good things. I thought he defended well, I thought for the most part he got the ball where we wanted it to be, got us into some sets."

"I thought he was good," added Ridnour. "He's a big point guard out there, but it was fun to see him play. He looked confident."

Gelabale was also pleased with his ability to play the position, though he took exception to his shooting, telling reporters, "Yesterday I was 0-of-5. Today I need to work on my shot."

For Gelabale, the hardest part of playing the position was, "Taking the ball upcourt with the point guard defending hard on you.

"Yeah, because I'm 6-7 and yesterday the guard was like 6-0 or 5-something." [Clippers point guards Dan Dickau and Brevin Knight go 6-0 and 5-10, respectively.]

Reporters asked Gelabale if playing the point was a way to get on the floor more often, and he downplayed the notion, answering with a smile, "I'm working on it, but we have three point guards, so I don't want to be the fourth one."

With three point guards competing for minutes at the position, Gelabale doesn't figure to get time there when the Sonics are healthy. However, it could be part of his long-term future. Carlesimo pointed out that, if at some point Gelabale goes down to the D-League, the Sonics might ask Idaho Stampede Head Coach Bryan Gates to try to get him some minutes at the point.

Gelabale's run as the backup point guard might not be over yet. Ridnour and West are questionable to play against the Bucks Friday after practicing today. I had more on that topic in my story on the Sonics evaluating their point guards.

- With the Sonics about to reach the quarter pole for the 2007-08 season, Carlesimo said he expects to meet with his players individually over the course of the upcoming road trip to evaluate the season so far and have both sides offer feedback.

"Some guys we've already had opportunities," said Carlesimo. "We haven't had real sitdowns. After tomorrow, not that there's magic, but it's 20 games and we're going to be away from home for seven or eight days, so it really lends itself well now in the next week or so to have sitdowns with people."