New Sonics Coach Promises Changes
New head coach Bob Hill has promised big changes for the Seattle SuperSonics.
"I'm firm, but fair," said Hill, who replaced the fired Bob Weiss as Seattle head coach. "I think one of my weaknesses is I'll harbor my feelings for a while and then all at once ... let it go. I'm not proud of that necessarily. ... I'm not afraid of confrontation at all. I don't like to confront players, but I will if I have to."
The Sonics' first game under Hill will be tonight at Chicago.
"I told them that when they signed that contract they were agreeing that they would cooperate with whatever we wanted to do," Hill said. "I expect them to play hard. I'm not going to coach effort, but I want them to play hard and play good."
If players are unhappy with their roles, Hill said, so be it. "We've heard that for years and years and years," he said. "When you start losing, that's what players say. ... They've got to embrace this new way of playing, come together as a team, and I've got to figure out the rotations."
Vladimir Radmanovic figures to see a jump in minutes. After re-signing for one year in the offseason, he made it clear he was not happy in a reduced role. His minutes dropped from 29.5 per game last season to 21.1, and his scoring is down from 11.8 points to 8.8. "The last 30 games, to be honest with you, I don't feel like a basketball player," Radmanovic said. "It's really hard and frustrating, but I tried to stay focused mentally and physically, be ready when I was called."
"If he doesn't start — he probably will — he's going to be on the floor a lot," Hill said.
Another problem is a defense that ranks worst in the league in points allowed (105.2) and field-goal percentage (49.8). "Obviously, we have to tweak our defense and hopefully score points off that," Hill said. "We have the ability to run."
This will be the fourth NBA head-coaching job for Hill, 257-212 overall with previous stops in Indiana, New York and San Antonio. From 1994-96, Hill was 124-58 with the Spurs, winning two division titles and advancing to the 1995 Western Conference finals before losing to Houston.