COACH: Nate McMillan | 2003-04: 37-45
Seattle SuperSonics

Luke Ridnour and the Sonics will be shadowed by a highly competitive Northwest Division.
Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty Images
Season on the Brink

Allen
Last year was an unusual year for Ray Allen, who missed several games because of injury and was often an outspoken critic of coach Nate McMillan.

Injuries and feedback have never before been characteristics of one of the league's top 3-point shooters, and hopefully he has put both behind him.

At 100 percent, he is certainly the Sonics' best player, capable of scoring in bunches. Not just a long-range shooter, Allen has become a better rebounder and has gotten teammates involved more consistently than he ever did in Milwaukee, where he was a two-time All-Star.

Allen also has plenty of incentive to return to top form in the final year of his contract, if only to prove to brass in Seattle -- and front offices around the league -- that he is one of the league's top players.

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Lewis
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.

Luke Ridnour: Looks like he'll get starting nod at point guard
Vladimir Radmanovic: Despite solid Olympics, could lose minutes to "rookie" Collison
"They added Danny Fortson. He was a malcontent with Dallas. With this team, he hopes he has a chance to play ... They have a really young team. They feel that Nick Collison is going to be a big factor for them this year after not playing last year. They expect major minutes and major production from him ... Ray Allen is their best player, but he wants that maximum contract. It's tough to give a guy a major contract when the team doesn't make the playoffs ... Losing Brent Barry will hurt a lot. He was an underrated performer for them. He's an excellent 3-point shooter ... Luke Ridnour can give them a good lift and they must believe Ronald Murray will be able to step up. Antonio Daniels or Ridnour will handle the ball."
--Western Conference scout
PLAYER/2003-04 STATS
PPG
RPG
APG
PG
5.5
1.6
2.4
SG
23.0
5.1
4.8
SF
17.8
6.5
2.2
PF
--
--
--
C
7.1
4.4
0.8
G
8.0
2.0
4.2
F
2.9
5.4
0.4
F
3.9
4.5
0.2
G
12.4
2.5
2.5
F
12.0
5.3
1.8
C
Draft
G
Draft
G
Free agent
F
Trade
G
Free agent
C
Trade
G
Trade
G
Expansion
PPG
23.0
RPG
6.5
APG
5.8
SPG
1.44
BPG
1.42
Points Scored
97.1
(6th)
Points Allowed
97.8
(24th)
Field-Goal Percentage
.446
(7th)
Opponents' FG%
.450
(22nd)
Rebounding Diff.
-3.33
(26th)
Nov. 3 at L.A. Clippers (10:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Net) | Buy tickets
In what used to be a classic Pacific matchup, the Sonics play their first game as a member of the Northwest.
TV: FOX Sports Northwest
Broadcasters: Kevin Calabro, Craig Ehlo
Radio: 950 KJR-AM
Web: Official site | Inside Ticket