In the past two years, the Sonics are 77-87, ending a 15-year run of .500 or better. This season Coach Nate McMillan faces a tough, but not impossible, challenge to get Seattle back to its wining ways.
McMillan's biggest misfortune is a lack of players who play like Nate McMillan did, but his collection of long-range bombers will keep them in a lot of games. The Sonics' total of 1,936 3-point attempts was third in NBA history.
One of the Sonics' notable off-season signings was Ibrahim Kutluay, who is -- of course -- a 3-point specialist. The 6-6 Turkish shooting guard will attempt to fill the role of departed Brent Barry, the league's second-leading 3-point shooter last season.
If not, the Sonics can still rely on a trio of players who can bury the trey: Ray Allen (148), Rashard Lewis (145) and Vladimir Radmanovic (140) were all among the NBA's top 20 in three-pointers made, and all shot better than 37 percent from downtown.
Barry was also the team's leading assist man (5.8), so Antonio Daniels, Ronald Murray and Luke Ridnour will compete for the starting point guard spot.
The interior players aren't stoppers. The Sonics hope 7-0, 245-pound rookie Robert Swift and 2003 first-rounder Nick Collison come along quickly to provide help for Jerome James, Reggie Evans and Vitaly Potapenko down low.
Danny Fortson joins the Sonics after a disappointing year in Dallas. He's only two years removed from averaging a double-double at Golden State. He'll attempt to help the Sonics offset a weak rebounding margin (-3.33).
The trend is troubling in Seattle, where two straight losing seasons are already in the books. A third could arrive in '04-05 if the shots don't fall and the big men don't improve.