And Now For Something Completely Different — A Game

Kurt —  October 18, 2007

Today we are taking a break from the “Bryant/Jackson/Buss Full Employment For Sports Columnists Act of 2007” to watch some honest to goodness basketball. (If you can’t get enough Kobe saga — or just want an insightful look at the drama in the front office — read the latest from Roland Lazenby over at True Hoop.)

Lakers versus Sonics. In the beautiful city of Bakersfield. Man, can you imagine living the NBA lifestyle — free trips to Bakersfield. With spending money. Damn.

I think we’re all pretty curious about seeing Seattle golden boy Kevin Durant, who is playing the most minutes (26.3) and scoring the most points (16) per game of any Sonic through three preseason games. But that doesn’t mean he has found his way yet — he is shooting an unimpressive 43.2% (eFG%). To be fair, that’s better than Kobe’s 33%, and Durant is shooting 46.2% from three. Still, I think Durant is probably still adjusting to the speed and athleticism of the NBA game, plus the team is figuring out how to use him best and adjust to his style. I still am pumped about watching him.

The Sonics also have been getting good play out of former Clipper Chris Wilcox, who is averaging 14 points and 7 rebounds in 22 minutes and is shooting 64%. Wilcox falls into the category of players I have always liked more than most, a guy I think would thrive in the right system. As a side note, Delonte West is expected to sit this one out.

As for a starting lineup for the Sonics: Earl Watson (PG), Kevin Durant (SG), Damien Wilkins (SF), Nick Collison (PF), Robert Swift (C). I got that from Kevin Pelton’s Sonic Beat blog, which you should be reading.

As for the Lakers, plenty has been made of Kobe sitting out three practices and there are numerous theories as to why, but I like Paul’s from the comments — Kobe played a lot of basketball this summer, he should be taking it slower in camp. After the hard work of the summer Phil needs to think about keeping Kobe’s minutes down during the season as well, as much as that is possible (meaning we need a few laughers, ideally ones that are Lakers wins).

Also tonight, Kwame is not expected to play but he might this weekend, and Lamar Odom still will sit out.

In LA you can catch the game on KCAL (channel 9) starting at 7 pm. Nationally you can get your Barkley fix on TNT.