I confess. I left after the third quarter on Saturday night to pursue alternate recreational activities. It wasn't an arbitrary decision because, by the 6:00 mark of the third quarter, both teams had officially tabled their sets in favor of something that resembled a crowded deli counter - shoving, the stepping on feet, and general disorder. Here's what I saw:
- Tim Thomas finally heated up a little, but on nights that he's an absolute snowman from the outside, he ought to scale back his perimeter game and do some other stuff offensively. Now I realize that it's the preseason and Thomas' primary concern is working out the kinks in his shot. But once the regular season rolls around, Thomas shouldn't be exclusively a perimeter player. There are going to be instances when Thomas is on the floor with both Brand and Kaman, which means he'll be matched up with the opposing small forward. This will create a mismatch on the wing and Thomas would be remiss not to take advantage of his size. Though he doesn't utilize these parts of his offensive game as much as he did earlier in his career, Thomas is capable of backing down defenders. When the Clips go small and Thomas is effectively the center, he can take the slower big man off the dribble. And though he'll have trouble doing that against a quicker small forward, he can still drive to the basket when the rotating defender shows up late. If he's hitting from the arc, then great. But he's got other tools in the shed and he shouldn't be reluctant to use them since, for no other reason, it'll create a little more space for him on the perimeter.
- In an ideal world - one in which Aaron Williams isn't banged up - Paul Davis would be best served by some time in the D-League. The D-League was created precisely for projects such as Davis. Right now he's an absolute train wreck. What's most unsettling is that, as bad as his decision-making is in the post, his defense is worse. He's a second-round pick, so I don't want to have unreasonable expectations. But keeping him on the roster to play eight minutes a night is probably not going to help him get to the next level, no matter how productive practice sessions might be - and it's not going to help the Clippers' second unit either.
- With the automatic disclaimer that it's the preseason, Shaun appears ready. I know that Seattle's defense couldn't stop Melrose Larry Green from running a coherent offense provided that he got a couple of workouts in with the team, but Shaun was in charge on Saturday night. While he was lethal in the transition last season, he was visibly tentative outside of a few of the Clippers' bread-and-butter sets. I know he shot only 3-10 from the field, but his command of the offense was impressive, even in less structured offensive possessions. The over-under on Shaun being promoted to starter: the second week in January.
- Some Sonics notes:
Robert Swift's footwork isn't terrible, but he's really horrible at putting himself in position to get a good shot. It makes you appreciate Chris Kaman's proficiency in the half court.
I hit on it last season, but it's worth repeating that the Sonics aren't going to do anything with Luke Ridnour as their primary point guard. We all appreciate Ridnour's David Eckstein-like grit and passion. But do you think it's a coincidence that Seattle was one of the worst defensive teams in NBA history with Ridnour at the point? It ain't all Rashard Lewis. Though plenty of teams can compensate for a bad defender at the point (the Los Angeles Clippers, for one), Seattle doesn't have that luxury, and it's going to get worse with Chris Wilcox. Look, I don't think I saw the Sonics play more than six times last season (and four of those were against the Clippers), so it's possible I don't know what I'm talking about. It just seems that, with all the firepower they have on offense, the Sonics should go with Earl Watson -- who just happens to be one of the three best point defenders in the league.