OH, THE BOYS PLAY, TOO?
Lauren Jackson skirts away from predictions on the 2005-2006 NBA season by claiming ignorance and blaming it on being in Australia all year. LJ, I know that Aussie TV carries ESPN and that you can get NBA League Pass via Satellite, and I even recall an Aussie Sonics fan calling Australian NBA rookie Andrew Bogut a "poor man's Lauren Jackson" on an NBA fan site. You could watch the games if you really wanted to....
Fortunately Sue Bird steps in to bail out the Storm's NBA brethren with a heart-warming but sadly misguided homer vote for the Sonics to win the west, the finals and earn Ray Allen the MVP. Sue, I am a huge Sonics fan, and even I know the chances of that happening are about as high as George Bush taking the podium this January for the State of the Union and apologizing for really screwing up the country.
The Sonics will be competitive, but I haven't seen that they have all the pieces to push past a team like the Spurs or a healthy Suns (the Suns in Phoenix, not Connecticut) in a seven game series to make it out of the west. Additionally, Ray Allen just simply does not have the ability to match the numbers of yearly MVP candidates like Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kevin Garnett. Nash made it last year because he had solid numbers, and his previously underachieving team exploded to lead the league with him added to the helm. Had Ray gone to the Clippers or the Hawks and turned THEM into division champions he would have a chance. Unless the Sonics beat all the odds and win 60+ games this year with Ray averaging 30+ ppg, 5 apg and 5rpg, no one will seriously consider voting for him as their top choice.
If you haven't been to a Sonics game yet, attendance is light in November and early December, the season kicks off on Wednesday (Tuesday for the league) and they have some good games on the early schedule this year. The Clippers, Timberwolves, Bulls and Kings are up in November and Lebron James brings his improved Cavaliers in to Key Arena to kick of December. The Pacers, Knicks, and Rockets are on tap in December along with the much improved Warriors and Wizards. Check out a game, you can get individual game tickets via TicketMaster or game packs online.
WNBA protected lists are due from teams by tomorrow...though we will never know who's on them...and the expansion draft is just around the corner.