Rain Always Looms in Seattle: What the Benching of Shareef Means for the Supersonics
Is Shareef best suited for the Sonics?
The Seattle Supersonics began the year with very lofty expectations, but due to an injury-plagued season had to settle for a disappointing 4th seed. No Supersonic has been injured more frequently than Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Last season Shareef played all 82 games, averaging 21 ppg, and being named to second team all defense. This season however, Shareef saw his usage rate decline in the 53 games he did play, and looked lost as the offense became more and more perimeter oriented. The Sonics have been red hot the last 11 games in which Shareef was injured, winning all of their games and only one victory by single digits. Ray Allen has even recorded a couple of 50 point games with Abdur-Rahim ailing, leaving the question in everyone’s mind: are the Sonics better without their star forward? The general belief amongst the NBA is a player of Shareef’s talent and caliber should be given playing time when healthy, but the question is where? The Sonics have announced that they will ease Shareef back into the lineup and that he will continue to see time as a bench player until he has seen some more game action. When asked about how he felt coming off of the bench in game 4 Shareef stated, “Our team is playing very well right now, and I am willing to do whatever my team needs me to do to help finish off the Grizz and proceed to the next round.” He’s fine with the benching in the short term, but how will he react if his starting spot isn't there long term? Trade deadline steal, Jim Jackson, is better suited for the Sf spot with floor spacing 3 point shooing to the tune of 20ppg in the playoffs and the Sonics like what all defensive 1st teamer Theo Ratliff brings to the basketball court at Pf. There is a possibility that Shareef may not even be the best bench player on the team with 6th man of the year PJ Brown in the frontcourt. Abdur-Rahim’s name was floating around at the deadline and it wouldn’t be surprising if there are some gloomy clouds over his head that could lead to his departure in the offseason and rain on this bright time for the Sonics.