Sonics Update

  • Tuesday, December 12, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

Herald Staff

  • Opponent: Vancouver Grizzlies

  • When: 7 p.m.

  • Where: General Motors Place, Vancouver, British Columbia

  • TV: None

  • Radio: KJR (950 AM)

  • Probable starters: For Seattle – forwards Jelani McCoy (6 feet, 10 inches) and Rashard Lewis (6-10), center Patrick Ewing (7-0), guards Emanual Davis (6-6) and Gary Payton (6-4). For Vancouver – forwards Shareef Abdur-Rahim (6-9) and Othella Harrington (6-9), center Isaac Austin (6-10), guards Michael Dickerson (6-5) and Mike Bibby (6-1).

  • Trade talk: Rumors are afloat that Seattle is pondering a trade or two, and one of the prime suspects to find a new address is guard/forward Ruben Patterson.

    Well, don’t hold your breath, said Sonics president Wally Walker. Or words to that effect.

    “We’re not very serious about doing anything now,” Walker said. “We want to see how we do with this group and with a new coach. Mostly we like what we’ve seen.”

    Still, Walker said, the Sonics have “some areas to shore up.” Highest on his wish list would be “any kind of energy guy who has some quickness inside. But those kinds of guys are pretty popular and not easy to find.”

    Of course, Patterson is the quickest, most athletic inside player Seattle has (albeit, one who is just 6-6), and that makes it even more unlikely that he will be traded.

    The Sonics are solid at both guard positions and small forward, Walker said. “Patrick (Ewing) and Vin (Baker) are both showing signs of improvement, and Jelani (McCoy) is coming on at the (power forward) position. So the ingredients are there. And if the trend in the last two weeks continues, then we won’t need to do much of anything,” he said.

    Of course, the idea that Walker kicks around trade possibilities with his fellow general managers should hardly be a news flash. It happens frequently, though they are usually not serious talks.

    “But it would be a rare day when I don’t have a conversation with another GM,” he said.

  • Staying the same: Sonics coach Nate McMillan says he has no impending plans to change his starting lineup, meaning four-time All-Star Baker will probably stay on the bench for now.

    “I think we have something that’s working,” McMillan said. “We just need to make the plays and not turn the ball over and execute at the right time, and a couple of these games we’d win. But until someone really doesn’t do well in the lineup, the lineup will remain the same.”

  • Not another George: McMillan admits he has been greatly influenced by former Sonics coach George Karl, and has adopted some of Karl’s strategies and tactics. One difference, though, is that McMillan will not rely as heavily on defensive trapping as Karl did.

    It’s ironic, perhaps, since McMillan was such an excellent trapping defender on Karl’s teams of the mid-1990s.

    “I think people get me confused with this being a trapping team,” McMillan said. “I want to play straight man-to-man. Trapping will be something where if we get in trouble we’ll use. But I think people are trying to identify us now that I’m here as a trapping team and that’s not something we’ll do. We’ll do it if we start getting hurt, but I want to be a team that pressures, contains, crowds the ball, and doesn’t have to trap.”

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