Since the Lakers defeated the Sonics in an early-season November battle, little has changed in Seattle from a wins and losses standpoint. The franchise is still in flux and the Sonics’ roster is still lunch meat for almost every team in the Western Conference. At 14-38, the Sonics have the third worst record in the conference.
However, in their last meeting in Seattle, the Sonics nearly shocked the Lakers, losing by a single basket 121-123 after yet another clutch shot by Kobe. In that game, Durant got his usual 19 points, but Nick Collison torched L.A. for 24 points and 18 rebounds. Kurt Thomas and Wally Szczerbiak also scored 16 and 18 points a piece.
The aforementioned Kevin Durant has continued his excellent rookie season, averaging 19 points to lead all rookies in scoring. Chris Wilcox has emerged as arguably the second most important player on Seattle’s roster, contributing 13 points and over seven rebounds per game. Nick Collison’s nine points and nine rebounds also help anchor the Sonics’ front line.
The Sonics were one of the most active players as the NBA trade deadline approached this week, sending Kurt Thomas to San Antonio and Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak to the Eastern Conference for little in exchange other than cap relief.
While the Sonics’ roster is nothing to brag home about—especially after their recent string of trades—they have already shown the potential to play a major role in the Western Conference playoff race as the season winds down, as evidenced by their stunning back-to-back upsets of defending champion San Antonio and the Cleveland Cavaliers in back-to-back games in January.