Coach’s Corner: Lenny Wilkens on Heat at Sonics
By Lenny Wilkens (As told to John Schuhmann)


They have to take advantage of Seattle's frontline. Since the coaching change, they have been paying more attention to Shaq when he's in the game. Before, they wanted to get the ball and get out, which is good. However, too often, if Shaq was getting overplayed or if he got double-teamed once, they were comfortable going some place else. He should be your main focus.

Seattle has not been a great team in defensive transition, so teams have been able to penetrate on them. They've made some adjustments, but teams have been able to penetrate. The Heat need to get to the basket and not settle for the outside shot.

The Heat have a distinct advantage down low.
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images
Defensively, you better cover the shooters because they can make outside shots. They're one of the better shooting teams in the league.


Seattle is starting to double-team and they're doing a much better job of rotating. They took Dwight Howard right out of the game on Wednesday night by double-teaming and rotating. They've got to limit penetration. Great players can get to the basket, but you've got to limit it. It can't be like a freeway and that's been one of their weaknesses. Teams are able to penetrate at will. You've got to stop them because Dwyane Wade is going to take the ball right to the basket.

I'd want to play uptempo because I think Seattle is better suited to play uptempo. I think Luke Ridnour becomes much more effective when he can push it and find people.

In the halfcourt, I would definitely involve Shaq in the screen and roll because he doesn't like to step out. I would put him in that situation and force them to rotate. If Seattle moves the ball, they'll find people and get open shots.


I think the Heat still have some improving to do. They have usually been a very focused team. I know it hurts some with Shaq being out, but they've been pretty up and down this year.

I think that the players on Seattle understand their roles better now. Radmanovic is really starting to play very well now that Bob Hill has put him in the starting lineup. I think that's where he belongs because I don't think he's a guy that come off the bench.

Hill is playing nine, maybe 10 guys now. You can only play 12 guys if you're blowing somebody out. You have to develop a good rotation and I think he's starting to do that. Before the coaching change, the rotation wasn't as set and players didn't know their role.

-- Lenny Wilkins appears courtesy of the National Basketball Coaches Association