New Sonics radio play-by-play broadcaster David Locke is Locked on the Sonics. He'll follow all the news, rumors and more throughout the summer and into the 2006-07 season. Locked on Sonics will be updated regularly, break stories and have audio interviews on the biggest stories. E-mail David your questions at AskLocke@sonics-storm.com
Chatting with Wil(cox) and Hill
Posted on August 15 | permalink
Chris Wilcox is listening to his coach already. When I asked Chris today what he needed to make the next leap in his career he answered defense. He said DEFENSE. That is crazy.
It is true, last year Chris’s post defense needed help. Too often he unsquared his shoulders and let the defender have a path to the basket. He mentioned today the need to block more shots. The first part of that is going to be staying between his man and the hoop.
When Chris and I chatted today, I asked if shot blocking was a learned skill or a natural instinct. That is in our one-on-one conversation.
For Bob Hill, he sees the future integration of Wilcox into the defensive principals he instituted last season. Bob and I touched on that in our conversation today after the press conference.
Have the Dunk-O-Meter Ready
Posted on August 15 | permalink
Mission Accomplished. Okay, I should find a different phrase. You get the point - after the fantastic finish to last season the Sonics wanted to reload the same team and let it gel.
With today’s signing of Chris Wilcox, that goal has been attained.
Following last year’s trade deadline, the Sonics were rebuilt. Coach Hill instituted a new defensive philosophy that greatly improved the league’s worst defensive team. Simultaneously, Hill’s open-floor running system took hold on the offensive end of the court with Wilcox converting 68 dunks in 29 games in Seattle. The Sonics won 14 of their final 25 games.
Wilcox was at the core of the running game, averaging 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game after coming to Seattle. Now the Sonics will have an entire training camp with the same unit to build off this success.
The best news of the day is that the contract is for three seasons.
Signing a three-year deal with Wilcox solidifies the Wilcox for Radmanovic trade as a steal. The Sonics traded an unhappy player who was unlikely to be re-signed for a developing, inexperienced athlete who they will now have under contract for three more years - the three years when his skills are most likely to come together into a complete package.
The acquisition of Wilcox is how front offices in any sport are supposed to make deals. Have your scouting department recognize a player that has upside and is being under-utilized. Then find a way to acquire him and let his skills prosper in the new environment. To make it even better, the Sonics traded a player who had maximized his talents and his career path to acquire an up-and-coming talent.
The contract is also a win-win for both sides. For Wilcox, if he continues to show the development he exemplified in the final third of last season, then he will become an NBA All-Star and a free agent at his value’s apex.
Quite frankly, from a Sonics standpoint you can’t afford to pay for potential. Wilcox is not entirely refined. He shows flashes of insanity like his 26-point, 23-rebound game against Houston. On the flip side, he has been known to struggle against half-court defensive-minded teams like San Antonio and Memphis.
Athleticism is at the core of Wilcox’s game. Yet last season he showed signs of a consistent 15-footer and a jump hook to the middle of the lane. In the upcoming year, he must develop a stronger array of back-to-the-basket moves and a better handle with the basketball.
The three-year deal also gives the Sonics a roster loaded with assets. The core of the team is established and if Robert Swift and Johan Petro continue to develop along with Wilcox, the club is on the fast track to fantastic.
Simultaneously, if other weaknesses develop the front office has a roster of ten desirable players that they can mix and match with to fill whatever holes develop.
It is for all these reasons that the signing of Wilcox allows the Sonics to propel forward off of last year’s strong finish into a dynamic training camp that is now just six weeks away.