What a weird, wonderful, wacky, wolatile season we just experienced. Unlike most of our recent past seasons, this year actually had some incredible highs to offset the lows. Expectations were blown away and it was not until the day after the season ended that we returned to the land of Kangz. For a few glorious months your Sacramento Kings were not embarrassing.
As I sat here pondering how I once again have reduced faith in this organization, I reflected on how I felt a year ago, and how those feelings changed as the season progressed and culminated. The following is a recap of my Kangz/Kings/Kangz roller coaster ride via selected thread comments throughout the year.
And the question is,
"Which player will light up the comment thread on draft night should he be drafted by the Kings?"
Maybe he’ll be the best of the bunch, but the fan base will be going through all five stages should the Kings take Bagley at #2.
I wouldn't assume that this organization has a clue as to what it is doing
And that will likely be my stance until I am otherwise convinced by the results of this team.
I am not closely tempted to walk away from this team. This team is like the best of a good Netflix tragedy/comedy/drama without having to pay the monthly fee. "House of Vlads." Binge-worthy!
Barring exponential growth from the youngsters and/or a breakout season by our rookie pick, this is going to be a lost season.
Joerger buys (Young Superteam) shirt
Tapes on faces of Randolph, Koufos, Temple, Shumpert and Doug Christie.
Tolliver was a stretch four and Joerger did not seem overly enamored
Skal seems to have the skill set that would call for him to be a stretch four, but he was never really used like that in Joerger’s system.
I’m wondering what changes Joerger is going to make to make a guy like Bjelica worthwhile in his system.
I’m OK with these moves
Fair value signings with no big long-term dollars tied up. I doubt that any of these moves panics Vegas into upping the Kings win total, but they at least vault the low bar of not setting the organization back another decade. And no mug shots!
It sort of depends on what leads one's thinking
If you look at 27-55 from last year, you could lean towards taking the over. But if you look at offensive and defensive ratings as well as point differential, the line screams to take the under.
This team will have to be awfully clutch to sniff 30 wins…I think.
I don't think that Joerger is cause
The question is whether he is cure.
I have always maintained that at any given time there are 3-4 really good NBA coaches and 3-4 really bad NBA coaches, with the other 22-24 coaches being guys that nothing to the win-loss total. I place Joerger in this group, with the caveat that this current Kings team should be about development of youth and not wins, and in that department there is a very real question as to whether or not Joerger is the right man for the job.
Vivek: "Welcome to Harbor Freight Micrometer Night at G1C. Now every Kings fan can measure the success of this organization!
This is your micrometer – this is your team!!!"
Our four seasons:
Fire, flood, earthquake, and Kangz.
Two things that the Kings won't have by the all-star break:
- 20 wins
- A 2019 lottery pick
Play very young and very fast
That’s really all it will take for me call this season a win for Joerger.
By seeing enough from this roster and coaching staff to make me re-consider how I feel about this front office
- Fox has to show signs that he is the real deal, as I am a believer that Fox’s presence was a contributing factor in passing on Doncic. This is not Fox’s fault, but it is what it is. Marvin Bagley will be but one of two Kings players that are measured with the Doncic yardstick for this season and seasons to come.
- Bagley has to draw at least consideration for 1st team all-rookie honors. He was drafted #2. If he is not among the seven best rookies in this young class then something went terribly wrong.
- Joerger has to put his words to action by committing to playing the youngsters and playing up-tempo.
- Giles is the brass ring, but make no mistake – if he excels while Fox or Bagley falters, it is not a "this for that" situation for the Kings. That is, if Giles hits with the #20 pick while Fox or Bagley flame out at #5/2, it does not move the needle forward for the Kings. This is becoming an historically bad basketball team and organization, and there is no room for error if the team/organization is going to pull itself out of the abyss.
I look forward to seeing the youngsters progress, and will be rooting hard for Bagley, Giles, Skal, Jackson, Fox, Hield, and Bogdanovic. I like these guys and I like the Kings and would love to see the kind of improvement that might eventually re-ignite the love affair that this team used to have with this city. I possess a lot more hope than confidence in this regard.
What’s the best record you can imagine? 33-49
• What is the record you expect? 27-55
• What progress do you expect to see? Fox establishes himself as a top 20 PG, Giles competes for 1st team all-rookie honors, Hield becomes best all-around player on team, Bagley merits at least all-rookie 1st team consideration. Those are my expectations, though I will be surprised if even 50% of it hits.
• What struggles do you anticipate? Young team will be young, and head coach will not be prepared to deal with it in a long-term manner.
• Is there an all-NBA talent on the roster? No.
• Who do you think will break out? Hield and the payday-chasing WCS.
• Will the Kings be represented at All-Star Weekend? Maybe Giles and Fox in rising stars and Hield in 3-point contest?
• Is there a hope of sniffing the playoffs? There isn’t even hope in sniffing the panty liners of the playoffs.
• In your mind, what is the best-case scenario? A couple of youngsters develop, but not enough to continue with this front office and perhaps coaching staff.
• What is the worst-case scenario? Extensions for the front office and coaching staff!
Only 624 days to the 2020 draft!
It takes zero effort to root for these guys
Bagley, Fox, Hield, the-soon-to-be-returning Bogi, the shockingly-good Bjelica, the beginning-to-look-like-it’s-not-a-mirage WCS. I find myself pulling so hard for Justin Jackson because I really like the kid. Mason’s hard-nosed play. Shumpert’s contributions and persona on the floor. The pro’s-pro Kosta Koufos, who represents this front office’s best FA signing pre-Bjelica. That’s ten guys without mentioning Harry Giles or Skal or Yogi or Troy Williams, all of whom I like.
My goodness, what a difference in the viewing pleasure of this team from last year, and light years from the Cousins-"led" squads. Being a Kings fan has gone from shitty to giddy in a matter of weeks. Can this be maintained? Only time will tell. But in the meantime…[happy gifs]
I also have reservations about this front office,
but I’m willing to give it credit for blending skill and luck. That is, the front office had alternatives to selecting Fox, so I will give them the same skill points that I dock them for the drafting of Papagiannis. Skill points given for acquiring Bogi, skill points docked for passing on Dejounte Murray three times in one draft. And so on.
I hear what you’re saying. The top front offices in this league combine skill, luck and timing. The Kings have had some good luck in the past couple of ping pong drops, and it looks as though they took advantage of at least one of those opportunities. But because this small market organization has such narrow room for error, their skill in selecting Bagley will ultimately be a huge factor in how successful this version of the Kings becomes. Hopefully their skill in selecting Fox is more fashion than fad.
The front office has moved out of the realm of being the worst in the league, and the Fox pick is the primary reason why
Take Fox out of this mix and this front office is on life support. But as I have noted elsewhere, they deserve as much credit for the Fox pick as they do the Jackson, Giles, Papagiannis, Richardson, Labissiere and Cauley-Stein picks.
What they have done well has been enough to move this team forward (was there another direction), and while one can appreciate how much fun this team is to watch, one also has to ponder how the mis-steps of the past have delayed the forward direction of the organization, and how slippery the slope of improvement is (see Zach Lavine). The vast improvement of Buddy Hield has taken a lot of the pressure off of the payout of the #2 pick this year, but in a couple of years’ time that pick will either be the reason that the Kings are contending at a much higher level or why they are looking up at the Mavs in the standings.
I’m ecstatic that I have this team to watch, and it is nice that we don’t have to flush this front office right now. And it sure would be nice to see local heroes Vlade and Peja succeed. But there is a lot of the story that is still unwritten. The good has been awesome (Fox, Hield) and the bad has been atrocious. No need to over or undersell any of this, as it is the end result that matters. At this point, I would say that I have some limited faith in the front office to recognize young talent, and I have renewed faith in the coaching staff’s ability to coach to its team’s strengths. This summer will show us whether or not this front office has the chops to fill in the holes on the very unbalanced and incomplete roster that they have currently put together (strong and deep in the back court, and very weak on the wing and up front, especially defensively).
Best half-season of Kings basketball since the second half of the 05-06 season
That is simultaneously thrilling and depressing.
It should be easy for professional players to play hard and play well for their coach
It should be. (Checks track record of favorite team since Rick Adelman left). It should be…
I think that all but a small handful of NBA coaches are easily replaced, and while I don’t count Joerger in that handful, I think that it would be foolish for the organization to risk the positive momentum that we have seen this season by igniting a coaching firestorm that could probably be avoided by simply extending the assistant coaches right now to match Joerger’s current deal, and then, barring a total 2nd half collapse, look into extending everyone for 20-21.
It’s the new normal in the NBA. I’m not sure when "lame duck coach" began to be applied to coaches that had a full year left on their contract (maybe the Adelman debacle helped feed that, I don’t know), but for what is spent on a team this little bit of extra insurance seems like small potatoes.
Joerger fans can point to specific instances this season to fortify their opinion that he and his coaching staff deserve extensions, and his detractors don’t need to go back further than this last week to find instances to fortify their opinion that his is easily replaced. I am of the opinion that his team has easily outpaced most reasonable expectations for this season, and he has done that with an unbalanced roster that includes his highest paid player not suiting up. In effect, he has turned out this result without a starting small forward and an effective payroll of under $73m. Much in the same way that the front office has earned the right to stick around, so has the coaching staff.
Sign the assistants through 19-20 now. Review the entire coaching staff for 20-21 extensions this off-season.
Here's a hypothetical:
Your team makes the playoffs at a clip of 30% in a league where 53% of the teams qualify each year. You have not seen the playoffs for 13 years (and counting). You have not been within the same zip code of the playoffs under current ownership or either of current ownership’s front offices. The team is currently 26-25 and more fun to watch than it has been in well over a decade, in 10th place in the rugged WC. The team has made both great and horrific trades, and wonderful and abysmal draft picks, and good and egregious free agent signings.
How much trust do you have in the organization?
Under this hypothetical, I have enough trust in the organization not to make any wild changes in the front office or coaching staff for another year. But I’m nervous as a tick over what they might do next. I have more hope than faith at this point.
Hypothetically, of course.
I give this front office full credit
for having a team contending for the playoffs for the first time in their four year run. I also give them full "credit" for it taking them this long (four years, not two) and I will give them full "credit" if this team breaks or does not break the playoff drought this year.
Hugely entertaining team to watch, thanks at least in part to the bar being lowered and lowered and eventually removed for Kings fans.
I say that this front office has earned the right to stick around for another year. They have not yet earned my accolades or respect. Simply stated, there has been no end result (yet) to garner accolades.
Things sure look better than they did at the end of last season. Still a long way to go for this team to be seen as (first) a playoff team and (second) anything more than 1st round fodder.
Love this team. Hope the front office has the chops to come out of this summer with an exponentially improved team.
The importance of 48 minutes has to be a given for this team after these past couple of weeks
Not every Buddy / Bogi/ Fox buzzer-beater is going to go in. This young team is learning that decisions that you make at the 6:53 mark of the 3rd quarter can have big ramifications at game’s end.
Still a lot of work to be done
For all of the hope that we want to have, this team crested at four games over .500 this year. That was the high water mark. The median for this team has been right around .500, which is amazing when you consider where this team was a year ago at this time. But what I have seen over the course of the season and especially the past few weeks is a team in dire need of more talent if it is going to be a playoff contender next season. Barnes is a nice start (if he stays), but the team still needs length and strength on both the defensive interior and wing.
I think that as a fan base we’re a little guilty of overstating how good this team was at any point this season.
This team is playing like the team that it is. It shows tantalizing potential while also exposing its holes and weaknesses. While last night’s loss can surely be counted among the low points of the season, it is also indicative that there is much more work to be done, and more work than merely banking on exponential growth of the talent that is already on the roster.
With the full self-understanding that this is 100% arse-pulled and has at least a 50% chance of being dead wrong...
These last couple of days just smacks of Vivek’s involvement to me. I’m pretty convinced that Vlade has been and continues to be just a puppet. I’ll continue to make this easy on my sanity and just look at these dealings as the product of "front office."
How I see this team under Walton instead of Joerger:
- No better
- No worse
How many games we get into next season before the fan base begins to question Walton’s play calls and rotations:
How many games I see this team winning with no tangible roster changes:
- 44-45, the same number that I would have had under Joerger
How many games I see this team winning with tangible upgrades to the defensive interior and length/strength on the wing:
- 50 games, the same number that I would have had under Joerger
Is there a reset button for this team due to this change?:
- Not for me, playoffs or bust next season. Anything other than a playoff berth makes this move a big mistake. Making the playoffs does not make this a good move (as opposed to the non-move that I see it as), but it would at least give the organization the semblance of knowing what it is doing.
Luke Walton? Better than Marc Jackson, about the same as Dave Joerger (though the fans will like him more as I’m betting he won’t come off as a big douche in post-game pressers as Joerger did).
Bye Dave. Enjoy the pay next year.
Good seeing you again, Vivek. Nice to see that your Dubs lust has not abated.
Mom always said,
"If you can’t say something nice about someone, you’re probably talking about Grant Napear."