Cloud of uncertainty over Seattle

Updated: January 20, 2005, 7:40 AM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
Sometimes, winning isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

At the start of the season, the Seattle SuperSonics looked a few months away from condemnation and demolition.

A quiet summer had seemingly failed to produce the type of offseason acquisitions the team needed to move out of the quagmire that the franchise had been wallowing in since Gary Payton left town in February 2003.

With more than half the team heading to free agency in 2005, coach Nate McMillan in the last year of his contract and GM Rick Sund sending out résumés, the future in Seattle actually seemed pretty clear – destroy and then rebuild.

Ray Allen

A funny thing happened on the way to the Sonics' forced extreme makeover – they turned out to be better than anyone, even the Sonics themselves could have ever imagined.

Despite Tuesday's 116-110 overtime loss to the visiting Denver Nuggets, the Sonics are 27-10 and are in line for a third seed in the playoffs. They've routed the Spurs and are beating their opponents by a margin of five points per game. Only four teams in the NBA are better. They are scoring 100 points a game and lead the league in 3-point shooting.

While no one is claiming that the Sonics have the inside track to win it all, most of the early-season haters have no choice but to shut up. The Sonics are more than a fluke, and therein lies the problem.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer