2007-2008 NBA Season Preview: Seattle SuperSonics

The National Basketball Association’s Seattle franchise, the SuperSonics, is currently in the midst of a storm reminiscent of Seattle’s infamous rainy climate. With head ownership being entrusted to investors from Oklahoma and the departure of one of the team’s most famous players, Ray Allen, fighting against the lightning bolts of franchise relocation and a green roster in experience have long-time fans wondering what the future may be within the next two years. But there seems to be a bit of hope that may make those stormy worries turn into a large rainbow for the city of Seattle.

Kevin Durant, the 6’10” phenom from the University of Texas, is now a part of the Seattle SuperSonics’ present and future. Having become the only freshman in NCAA history to win the Collegiate National Player of the Year Award, Durant has become the city’s own Sandman, bringing fans dreams of victory and potential championships-dreams long since eschewed since the Sonics last chased (and lost) a NBA title in 1996 against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

With Allen and fellow second-tier league star Rashard Lewis having fled to the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic, via trade and free agency, the cast of characters on the team’s roster has been tweaked a bit. In said trade with Boston, Seattle also received big body swingman Jeff Green from Georgetown in the 2007 NBA Draft, along with one-time All-Star Wally Szczerbiak to help fill the role that Allen left at an open wing position. Solidarity, though, may be the team’s best bet at success in the immediate future.

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With promising center Robert Swift returning from an ACL injury, Chris Wilcox in tow to man the power forward position, and either Luke Ridnour or Earl Watson readily available to lead the squad as starting point guards, the Sonics could very well do moderate damage to their fellow teams in the Western Conference as the remaining pieces in a formidable first-unit lineup.

Also, the bench will remain strong with the young developing centers in Johan Petro and Mohamed Saer Sene, guards Michael Gelabale, Damien Wilkens and Delonte West, and veteran power forward Nick Collison as muscle. With dedication to a solid rotation, the continued experience in play from the Frenchmen Petro and Gelabale, and a commitment to the development of Durant and Green’s stamina and strength over the course of the 82-game season and the Sonics could very well become the 2007-08 version of the Golden State Warriors…but more dangerous.

Below is a potential starting lineup of the Seattle SuperSonics for the 2008 season (note the length of the players and three-point threats at the wing positions (shooting guard and small forward):

At power forward is Chris Wilcox (6’10”, acting as scorer/rebounder/defender); the small forward is Wally Szczerbiak (6’7″acting as shooter/scorer); at center is Robert Swift (7’1″, acting as rebounder/shot blocker); as one of the league’s tallest shooting guards would be Kevin Durant (6’10”, acting as shooter/scorer/defender); and point guard: Luke Ridnour, 6’2″ (acting as distributor/penetrator).

With the team as assembled, the only thing that can stifle the team’s improvement is the team itself. If Ridnour and Watson argue over who starts and gets minutes at the lead guard, if Wilcox and Collison become disgruntled with potentially having to back up one another, and if Swift, Sene, and Petro don’t break through as productive post players, the SuperSonics could easily see their future pot o’ gold dissolve into yet another rain cloud to gray a dreamy clear sky of glory.