Hawes gets warm welcome

SEATTLE -- On this night, Stephen Gordon was among the masses, just part of the Spencer Hawes fan club that gave the Seattle SuperSonics a much-needed boost in attendance.

Between the rented suite and scattered supporters in the stands, the Sacramento Kings rookie center and Seattle native drafted 10th overall out of Washington had a group of nearly 70 people on hand in what was his first NBA game back home.

But Gordon was far more than that last summer, when the former skill and development coach for the Sonics was Hawes' point man in preparation for the draft.

In all, Gordon said he had worked with Hawes in some capacity since the 19-year-old was 14. Not until a then 6-foot-7 Hawes showed his skills against NBA talent when he was 16, however, was it clear to Gordon that he had a pro career in his future.

In particular, it was a performance against center Robert Swift, who had recently been taken 12th overall by the Sonics out of Bakersfield High.

"He'd come play with us in summer drills," said Gordon, who worked for the Sonics intermittently for a 19-year span.

"It was two on two, three on three, with the (Luke) Ridnours, Michael Dickersons, Jason Terrys. He was always the youngest guy, but he had a right handed hook, a left handed hook.

"(But) the real genesis of determining whether or not he was going to make it was when (he played) Robert Swift."

Entering Sunday, Hawes was averaging just 8.1 minutes per game. Fans were elated in the second quarter Sunday, when Hawes entered play for the first time and responded by hitting two of three shots in nearly five minutes of play.