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News » Seattle Supersonics Getting Inside 2008-06-03

Seattle Supersonics Getting Inside 2008-06-03

Seattle Supersonics Getting Inside 2008-06-03
A trail of lottery draft hopefuls was scheduled to trudge through the Furtado Center, the SuperSonics' practice facility, beginning in early June.

According to reports, UCLA product Kevin Love, Stanford big man Brook Lopez and Gonzaga point guard Jeremy Pargo already had scheduled workouts with Seattle. And guards Jerryd Bayless, O.J. Mayo and Eric Gordon also are expected to put their skills on display for general manager Sam Presti and the rest of Sonics brass in the near future.

Along with an opportunity to get measurables from projected lottery picks, Presti also got a chance to watch projected late first-round and second-round picks compete in game action during the four-day Orlando pre-draft camp.

Players like North Carolina's Ty Lawson, along with the Memphis duo of Joey Dorsey and Chris Douglass-Roberts, attended the camp in order to improve their overall draft position and try to earn a coveted, first-round selection -- which means a guaranteed contract in the NBA.

Mayo already seems to be talking like a Sonic. Since their first season, Presti and Sonics head coach P.J. Carlesimo have emphasized versatility, choosing not to focus on a player's position. All during the season Presti and Carlesimo fought off answering when they would move franchise player Kevin Durant from shooting guard to small forward, saying there really isn't much difference between the two positions and that Durant was just a basketball player.

Well, it sounds as if Mayo got the memo.

"Some people say I'm a (point guard), others think I'm a (shooting guard)," Mayo told reporters in Orlando. "I'm just a basketball player. I want to be able to master every aspect of the game. Whatever a team needs, I want to be able to do."

Most NBA observers have the Sonics drafting a point guard with their first of six picks in the draft. University of Arizona project Bayless emerged as the frontrunner to be selected by Seattle. There was even speculation in Orlando that Bayless had been promised the No. 4 selection by the Sonics, but Presti squashed those rumors.

Bayless is fast, can create his own shot and shoots well from the perimeter. He is seen as potentially a nice fit alongside franchise player Kevin Durant.

"We'd play great together," Bayless said. "I've known Kevin since freshman year in high school. The funny thing is, right when the lottery balls were done, he texted me right away and started talking about the whole situation of what it could be."

However, Mayo and Gordon are bigger guards with more NBA-ready bodies who also could step in and help the rebuilding Sonics.

And with all the talk about the guards, Seattle's most urgent need is at center. The Sonics have lacked a true inside presence for at least a decade, and several attempts to draft or bring in a free agent center by previous management never resolved the issue.

Seattle has young 7-footers Johan Petro, Robert Swift and Mouhamed Sene still in the fold. Sene had season-ending, microfracture knee surgery and will likely miss next season. Swift had season-ending surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his already repaired right knee and has yet to prove he can be a productive NBA player.

Petro has shown the most promise, starting at center the second half of last season for Seattle but struggling at times against the league's front-line centers.

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Playing in perhaps the last home game at Seattle's KeyArena in Sonics history last Sunday, the Sonics put on a performance to remember in a 99-95 win over the Dallas Mavericks. Seattle rookie Kevin Durant hit the game winner, a 15-foot jumper from the elbow with under a minute left. Afterwards, Sonics fans stood chanting "Save Our Sonics" for two minutes. Durant said he almost cried after the game.

TURNING POINT: Seattle started the beginning of the season on an eight-game losing streak -- a foreshadowing of the miserable season to come as the Sonics lost a franchise-record 62 games.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: June 3, 2008


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