Friday , Oct , 20 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Seattle SuperSonics 2006-07 Season Preview

(Sports Network) – All-Star guard Ray Allen is still the cornerstone of the
Seattle SuperSonics. Allen, who was acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks on
February 20, 2003 as part of a blockbuster trade, is entering his 11th season
in the league.

The 31-year-old Allen averaged a team-high 25.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7
assists per game in 78 contests last season. A six-time All-Star, Allen is
arguably the best outside shooter in the league and is still considered a
franchise-type player.

Seattle finished a disappointing 35-47 in the 2005-06 campaign, one season
after it captured the Northwest Division and lost in the Western Conference
semifinals to the San Antonio Spurs, who went on to win the championship that
season.

Allen’s main supporting cast of 6-10 forward Rashard Lewis and point guard
Luke Ridnour was solid. Lewis averaged 20.1 points and a soft 5.0 rebounds per
game, while Luke Ridnour netted 11.5 and dished out a team-high 7.0 assists in
79 contests.

Nick Collison, Johan Petro, Robert Swift, Earl Watson, 6-10 Chris Wilcox and
Damien Wilkins are all role players who play significant minutes for the
Sonics. The 23-year-old Wilcox, who was obtained from the LA Clippers last
February and averaged 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds in 29 contests for Seattle,
signed a multi-year deal with the club in the offseason.

Seattle had the 10th overall pick in the 2006 draft and selected twenty-year-
old forward Saer Sene, who is a project and is not expected to have an impact
on the team for a few years.

Bob Hill enters his first full season as head coach of the SuperSonics. He
originally joined Seattle as an assistant coach in August 2005. Hill was named
head coach on January 3, 2006, as he replaced Bob Weiss. The Sonics were 21-29
with Hill calling the shots.

BACKCOURT

Allen and Ridnour are a solid starting backcourt. The 6-5 Allen is a 43.5
percent shooter from beyond the arc for his career, while Ridnour is a pass-
first and shoot-second point guard. Their games complement each other very
well.

Watson will share minutes at the point with Ridnour. The 6-1 Watson, who was
acquired from Denver as part of a four-team trade on February, 23, 2006,
averaged 8.9 points and 4.1 assists in 70 games for the Nuggets and Sonics
last season. Watson is a stronger defensive player than Ridnour.

FRONTCOURT

The SuperSonics need to be more physical up front. As talented as Lewis is,
that fact remains that he is 6-10 and is more effective around the perimeter
than the low post.

Wilcox and the 6-9 Collison, who posted 7.5 points and 5.6 boards in 66
outings last season, will share time at power forward. Both players will also
play together, as both are capable of filling in at center. Seattle hopes
Wilcox is on the verge of becoming a consistent player who will average a
double-double in scoring and rebounding.

The 20-year-old Swift, who was selected by the SuperSonics in the first round
(12th overall) of the 2004 NBA Draft, registered 6.4 points and 5.6 boards in
47 games in 2005-06. The 7-0 Swift showed signs of developing into a solid
center, while the 6-6 small forward Wilkins is athletic and Petro, like Swift,
is still considered a project. The 7-0 Petro was grabbed by Seattle in the
first round (25th overall) of the 2005 draft.

Seattle’s frontcourt has a lot of size and plenty of question marks. If some
of the SuprSonics frontcourt players come into their own, they could be one of
the surprise squads in the 2006-07 season.

OUTLOOK

Allen is one of the best all-around players in the NBA. However, he needs more
help from his teammates. There is too much of the unknown on Seattle’s roster.
The Sonics have too many projects and not enough impact players. A second-
straight season below .500 awaits the SuperSonics’ fans.

SEA