For the moment, Nick Collison is the odd man out of the Sonics' rotation.
For the moment, Nick Collison is the odd man out of the Sonics’ rotation.
In their last game, a 112-110 defeat to Phoenix on Friday, he played a season-low two minutes, in which he failed to attempt a shot, grab a rebound or make an assist.
By reducing Collison’s minutes, Sonics coach Nate McMillan has chosen to use reserve guard Ronald Murray over the rookie forward in his 10-man rotation.
Murray, in just his second game since returning from a left quadriceps injury that sidelined him for nearly six weeks, played 12 minutes against the Suns. He, too, was scoreless, but managed to collect two rebounds and dish out an assist.
“It’s gonna take some time to figure it all out and determine who plays when and for how long,” coach Nate McMillan said. “With Nick, he being a young guy, we can be patient with him. He’s got time. In Ronald, I don’t know there. We got to figure some things out.”
Barring injury, it’s unlikely that Murray will play more than 15 minutes in a four-guard rotation that includes starters Ray Allen and Luke Ridnour as well as backup Antonio Daniels.
McMillan wants Allen to play roughly 38 minutes per game and he has grown accustomed to using Daniels in the fourth quarter.
In the past two games, Murray has been given the last two minutes of the first and third periods and the first four minutes of the second and fourth quarters. When he’s on the court, the Sonics offense appears stagnant because the 6-4 guard dribbles instead of passing the ball.
“I’m not sure that’s enough time for Ronald,” McMillan said. “He’s somebody that needs minutes, but right now, it’s just not there for him. He proved last year that the more he plays, the better he gets.”
Murray was the Sonics’ third leading scorer at 12.4 points per game last season, averaging 24.6 minutes. He averaged 19.2 points as a starter in 18 games and scored at least 20 points 15 times.
Meanwhile, Collison, who averages 3.0 points and 3.1 rebounds, is forced to wait. He has shown flashes of exceptional play, but he’s behind starter Reggie Evans and reserves Vladimir Radmanovic and Danny Fortson.
Neither Allen nor Evans shed any light yesterday on a story in Sunday’s edition of the (Tacoma) News Tribune that cited three unnamed members of the Sonics who said former Toronto guard Vince Carter tipped them off to a play during the final seconds of their game on Nov. 19.
“I don’t know anything about it,” Allen said. “I know the particular play that they were talking about. I was guarding him. I don’t know anything about it. I wouldn’t suspect Vince doing anything like that.”
The Raptors trailed by seven points with 29 seconds left when Carter allegedly told the Sonics that Toronto intended to run a flare screen for him. He received the ball on the play and passed to Matt Bonner, who scored. Seattle still claimed a 101-94 victory.
Several Raptors told Toronto media yesterday that the assertion that Carter would do such a thing was a lie. Carter, who was traded to New Jersey last week, has been unavailable for comment.
“I never heard Vince say that, so I can’t speak to it,” Evans said. “How my name got caught up in this, I don’t know.”
A (left) ankle sprain and sore knee caused Rashard Lewis to sit out of yesterday’s practice and Daniels stayed home because of the flu. Both are expected to play tomorrow against Denver.
Ridnour and members of the Sonics dance team will help serve hot meals to the homeless at the Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission’s men’s shelter located near Pioneer Square this afternoon.