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Luke Walton is running out of excuses

The loss to the Pistons highlights the flaws in every excuse that's been used to defend Walton this season.

For the last two years we've heard nothing but excuses for Luke Walton.

It started with the India trip last season. That trip was such a distraction, and didn't allow Luke Walton time to implement his system. We were told THAT was why the Kings had such a disappointing start last season. That excuse ignored the fact that several other teams had international games in preseason and those teams weren't impacted like the Kings were. Well anyway, the Kings had no such trip this preseason, and yet nothing changed.

Last season injuries were blamed for the team's struggles. And there's no question that the Kings had some unfortunate injuries last year, but that's life in the NBA. This season the Kings have been overwhelmingly healthy, with Marvin Bagley being the team's only major injury. Yet last night the Kings lost to a 15-win team that was missing its best player to injuries.

This season the early excuse was Covid. Of course, that has impacted every team this season. Everyone is living under the same disrupted conditions, and the Kings have lost far fewer players than most teams due to contact tracing or quarantines. So we can cross that excuse off the list.

"But there's been no practice time this season!" Well, once again this is the case for every team in the league, and yet plenty of teams are playing well. This includes teams with first-year coaches. And, of course, the Kings actually had a practice day before this Pistons game. Extra practice didn't seem to help.

Let's see, what other excuses have we heard? Ah yes, roster construction. Monte McNair got rid of the bench from last year, so we couldn't blame Walton for the results when the bench unit was so bad. And yet after the trade deadline we all agreed that McNair's moves improved the bench. McNair brought in Delon Wright, Terence Davis and Maurice Harkless. Since they arrived, the bench has been better. Not a championship bench, but that's not the standard of success for a bench that just wants to pretend it can make the 10 seed. Walton got a better bench, and the team still struggles. Walton even went so far as to move Tyrese Haliburton back to the bench to strengthen it, and yet the team looked as lifeless as ever last night.

De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Delon Wirght, Terence Davis, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Richaun Holmes, Hassan Whiteside, Chimezie Metu, and Damian Jones. That's 10 players on the roster who have shown themselves capable of being rotation NBA players. As a third string point guard I'd argue you could also add Kyle Guy to that conversion. Luke Walton can't claim he doesn't have NBA players. So let's cross off the "lack of bench" excuse off the list.

So what's left? Some of the local media is now blaming the players. I'm not going to say the players are blameless, nor am I arguing that a player like De'Aaron Fox is above being questioned. But the team has made a lot of changes to the roster over the last year and a half. De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley and Richaun Holmes are the only players who have been here for Walton's entire tenure. Nobody has ever questioned the effort of Richaun Holmes, so that excuse it out. Nobody questions Barnes' professionalism or effort. Buddy's performance is inconsistent but his effort is never in question. Bagley isn't with the team. So now we're seeing fingers pointed at Fox because he's the last one left. Every single other player is new. Some came in the offseason, some came at the deadline, but the team has gotten rid of starters and bench players and yet we still see a team that is unmotivated and unprepared for their opponent.

We keep hearing a list of excuses for Luke Walton. And every time one excuse gets invalidated a new excuse pops up. How much longer before we accept the simplest answer is likely the correct one?

 

 

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MichaelMack
April 9, 2021 8:15 am

I have rarely seen a coach in my 43 years of watching NBA basketball have less feel for the game. He rarely understands when to call time out, he doesn’t seem to understand match ups nor how to create effective lineups throughout 48 minutes. His weaknesses here are the exact same as they were in LA. I watched quite a few of those games, as I thought their collection of young talent was very interesting, but it was the same thing we are now used to: odd lineups, unmotivated players, inconsistent play, poorly defined roles, no identity. Just fire him. This is bad for the fans and bad for the players who will be on the roster next season. Alvin Gentry is not going to lead us to any great heights, but I bet there will be a better offense than watching players shoot a contested three pointer after one or two passes in the offense.

Last edited 2 months ago by MichaelMack
andy_sims
April 9, 2021 8:57 am
Reply to  MichaelMack

My unscientific analysis of Walton’s timeout usage is that he calls one any time the other teams dunks the ball after going on a 4-0 run or longer.

sonny
April 9, 2021 8:15 am

Occam’s razored.

sonny
April 9, 2021 8:17 am

Oh Kings waltoned.

RobHessing
April 9, 2021 8:18 am

The eye test says that the Kings have been on the overwhelming good side of the injury ledger this year. It seems that they miss marquee opponent after marquee opponent while being pretty healthy in comparison. This was probably the softest schedule that the Kings have seen in the past decade when you factor in how many top level players they avoided.

The old saying is that you can’t fire the team, and as much as we might like, we can’t fire the owner, either. The coach gets the axe, fair or not. Based on the results under Walton, I have a hard time swallowing that his dismissal would be unfair, but if it is, so be it. But it sure seems as though a change is in order, and the most realistic option is the coaching staff.

And 1 – Kyle Draper was pretty unforgiving (and accurate) in his post-game assessment last night. He questioned the team’s heart and wondered if Fox is a leader. But one thing that he said that I take issue with is that he doubted that any other NBA coach could do better with this team. Draper need look no further than the opponent’s bench last night. Dwane Casey had his team (sans Jerami Grant) hungry, engaged, and ready to play. Now, if Draper is arguing available coaches, that might be slightly different. But that’s not what he said, and to intimate that Casey, Pop, Snyder, Spoelstra, Rivers, McMillan, Carlisle, Malone, Stevens, Budenholzer, Thibs, Williams or Stotts (among others) could not get more out of this roster is ludicrous.

Marty
April 9, 2021 8:24 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Over-and-over we question whether or not Fox is a leader, but if he actually were a leader we wouldn’t be questioning it.

Last edited 2 months ago by Marty Marty
RobHessing
April 9, 2021 8:36 am
Reply to  Marty

He’s still young, but this organization’s penchant for pounding square pegs into round holes is certainly a cause for concern. Buddy’s a ball handler, Bagley’s a small forward, and so it has gone for years, under various GMs and owners. So it is very possible that they are trying to make Fox into something that he simply is not. Tough position to be in – not too many non-all stars are the face of their respective franchise, and that next step up for Fox will have to be a huge one.

I wonder what the accountability is for the players. Pure speculation as I am not behind the door, but these guys seem to like Luke in the same way that we used to love substitute teachers, in that substitutes really could not hold us as accountable as our regular teachers. And while it’s true that the hard-arse coach of yesteryear might not play in this day and age, there has to be a clear set of goals, effort and accountability. And I’m just not seeing it here.

Again, pure guess, but I think that Fox would flourish under a stronger coach, one that demanded better performance and aided in that goal.

Marty
April 9, 2021 8:48 am
Reply to  RobHessing

So it is very possible that we are trying to make Fox into something that he simply is not.

(Fify)

I want my teams to compete for conference championships, and I hope a title comes from it. That’s the goal. My other team, the Sixers, are there right now.

Fox would be the fourth best player on that Sixers team. Think about that for a moment if the goal is to build towards titles here in Sacramento. Really think about it.

I’d flip him for sure. Absolutely no question about it.

andy_sims
April 9, 2021 9:08 am
Reply to  Marty

I’m not sure that noticing that Fox would be the fourth-best player on a team very likely to make the conference finals at a minimum is the sick burn that you think it is.

Embiid & Simmons are all-stars, and Harris should absolutely have been one. Fox has been on the cusp this year, and continues to improve. But because he’d only be the fourth-best player on a loaded team, you feel it’s smart to flip the best player on the Kings?

Think about that for a moment.

Marty
April 9, 2021 9:15 am
Reply to  andy_sims

 But because he’d only be the fourth-best player on a loaded team, you feel it’s smart to flip the best player on the Kings? Think about that for a moment.

I’ve already thought about it, which is quite simple to understand. I’d want as many elite ping pong balls over a two year period as possible. I need Fox for that. I don’t need him to help win enough games to keep me out of the lottery.

It’s called A PLAN. I know it can sound like a foreign language to some, I get that. It’s easier for some fans to just think a good player is actually great.

Last edited 2 months ago by Marty Marty
andy_sims
April 9, 2021 9:36 am
Reply to  Marty

Fox is here because of ping pong balls. I don’t think that dumping a known quantity, who has an excellent chance to be an all-star one day for the opportunity to select someone who may end up not even being a rotational player isn’t so much a plan as it is a tantrum.

Marty
April 9, 2021 9:50 am
Reply to  andy_sims

isn’t so much a plan as it is a tantrum.

Ahhhh. So a two year plan I’ve talked about for over a year, which includes the standard practice of flipping your most valuable asset, is a tantrum.

As I said, this is a foreign language to some. I’ve tried to translate it as best I can.

Last edited 2 months ago by Marty Marty
BBIQ4U
April 9, 2021 10:16 am
Reply to  andy_sims

And here you go either with some type of name calling or a disrespectful dig. I think the guy who championed Bagley for 3 straight years should look in the mirror.

andy_sims
April 9, 2021 10:36 am
Reply to  BBIQ4U

I had to make sure that you were responding to me.

It’s called A PLAN. I know it can sound like a foreign language to some

Perhaps you could explain what this word plan means for those of us who are too dumb to understand?

For what it’s worth, there is something of a difference between championing a player, and suggesting that paying a high lottery pick to go away isn’t going to be helpful. Although given that this, uh, plan, was it? is to get rid of your best player in order to move from 11th to 7th in the lottery, perhaps the latter is all part of doing the same thing over and over while hoping for a different result.

PhutureKings
April 9, 2021 12:59 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Agree. Also, I’ll add that Fox isn’t the problem w this franchise. He’s one of the few good things we have going. As far as his leadership, I’m not worried about it, mostly because I think Haliburton ends up being the leader and de facto PG of this team.

Fox just needs to keep doing what he’s doing.

oshima9
April 9, 2021 2:15 pm
Reply to  Marty

Fox is a very good player who is inconsistent and displays disinterest in playing defense. Life here is comfortable for him. Max contract without the demands that he fulfill the expectations that come with one. I see no reason to expect him to change, except that his offensive efficiency will continue to marginally improve.

So, if the Kings want a leader, to hold others accountable and lead this team to the playoffs, Fox isn’t that player. Maybe, Haliburton will become one, or maybe, the Kings will draft one. Keeping him long term runs the risk that he demands a trade and blames the organization for his own deficiencies.

Otis
April 9, 2021 2:42 pm
Reply to  oshima9

Best case scenario, the Kings draft their 1A guy this year, and Fox/Haliburton are 2A/2B.

RikSmits
April 9, 2021 8:56 am
Reply to  RobHessing

This brings me back to something Jerry said on one of the podcasts. Why did they have to give Fox the extension prem,aturely? The whole CBA was structured so that a team could wait until the final year, and re-sign him as a FA, giving him the opportunity to explore the market.

RobHessing
April 9, 2021 10:16 am
Reply to  Greg

This. There is what the CBA allows, and then there is the reality of who wields the power in the NBA. And make no mistake, the power belongs to the top 60-90 players and their agents.

RikSmits
April 9, 2021 10:22 am
Reply to  Greg

Why would it create a strain? For allowing the new GM to do his due dilligence on a guy they are planning to give a shitload of money to, in accordance with the rules of the CBA?

I mean, it’s funny that Monte has a gap year to evaluate, but took the biggest decision at the start of his tenure without any in-depth investigation on how Fox comports himself on a day-to-day level, without really knowing and understanding his personality, strengths and weaknesses.

And “the team’s best player” currently isn’t able to steer his healthy team to the 10th play-in spot.

Counting stats are nice, and Fox is a very good player, but is he really worth being paid as a franchise player? I have my doubts.

andy_sims
April 9, 2021 10:43 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Your assumption that only franchise players are receiving max contracts isn’t borne out by reality. It’s not really a stretch to say that there are teams that don’t currently have a franchise player, regardless of what they’re being paid. I think Fox could be a franchise guy, but that’s a nebulous distinction, and I’m not really prepared to say whether he currently is or is not.

The notion that McNair walked in here knowing nothing at all about De’Aaron Fox and just threw a max deal at him is beyond ridiculous. I’m not sure what your conditions are for an executive to perform due diligence on a player, but I’d wager that McNair covered all of them, and then some.

Last edited 2 months ago by andy_sims
RORDOG
April 9, 2021 9:55 am
Reply to  RikSmits

To be fair, Fox is basically a top ~12 player on offense already. He was always getting a max deal. The only real decision was to trade him or sign him to an extension.

Otis
April 9, 2021 10:16 am
Reply to  RORDOG

Yeah, I think this is right…Fox was going to get a max deal regardless, so extending him early doesn’t hurt his trade value (if that’s the direction the team decides to go).

I think it’s ok to have Fox on that deal if he’s your third best player. But he needs to be your third best player (IMO) if you have ambitions of getting past the lower tier of Western Conference playoff teams. The question remains – how will the team find that superstar player?

Last edited 2 months ago by Otis
Gregoryl
April 9, 2021 10:23 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Another question would be Monte’s decision to re-up Bagley for another year before he had to.

RobHessing
April 9, 2021 10:25 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

I would double check that – I think that they have to pick up rookie options a year in advance, though I may be mistaken.

Kingsguru21
April 9, 2021 10:42 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

Another question would be Monte’s decision to re-up Bagley for another year before he had to.

This isn’t true. I don’t know where this narrative started, but it’s patently false. Bagley, like Fox and Hield, had his option picked up in accordance with the terms of a rookie scale contract. The same terms that apply to Tyrese Halliburton and his rookie scale deal. With the same time frame applying (all options must be picked up by the team a year before they kick in) as it has happened before with other 1st rounders.

Simply put, ALL 1st round picks are subject to this deal. If you are saying that the Kings would be better off with Bagley being a FA like Harry Giles was this past offseason, fine. But I don’t get the sense that’s the thrust of that argument.

Last edited 2 months ago by Kingsguru21
MillersCornrows
April 9, 2021 11:51 am
Reply to  RikSmits

The Kings extended Buddy early as well.

richie88
April 9, 2021 4:27 pm

Buddy’s contract is the early contract extension that has hurt the Kings.

Last edited 2 months ago by richie88
Kosta
April 9, 2021 9:26 am
Reply to  RobHessing

“Hey kids, My name is Mr. Walton and I’ll be your substitute teacher today. And you know what that means, right? We are going to watch the tape! So you’ve got two choices today: Air Bud or Teen Wolf?”
comment image

Last edited 2 months ago by Kosta
andy_sims
April 9, 2021 9:37 am
Reply to  Kosta

“All right! Who’s Dick Hertz?”

Hamlet1989
April 9, 2021 9:46 am
Reply to  Marty

It sounds as though you are making excuses for Luke. Luke has done nothing right. Fox is a good player. How we should handle Fox is another conversation. Luke has failed, not just his team and us as fans, but management cannot ignore Luke failing their own mandate to get them to the play-in. They never spoke that mandate in the media, as far as I know, but actions speak louder than words. Luke has not won a game since they “up-graded” the bench. Can Luke use the excuse that the bench isn’t in fact better? Can he point the finger at McNair? That’s about the only spineless thing left for him to do at this point, that he hasn’t already done.
Your Sixers are my pick to go all the way. That said, Fox would be, at least, the third best player on that team. Same could be said of my T-wolves. You can’t expect the players to do it in spite of the organization. That’s why the Sixers hire professionals.

Marty
April 9, 2021 10:08 am
Reply to  Hamlet1989

It sounds as though you are making excuses for Luke. 

no sir. To me Luke doesn’t matter. He’s gone this off-season.

We don’t have superstars and I’d flip everything to try and get them. Luke is just a time filler.

Fox is not better than Embiid, Simmons, or Harris. Sure, Fox gets to the basket better than all three, but that’s where it ends.

Otis
April 9, 2021 10:19 am
Reply to  Marty

He’s gone this off-season.

Not sure I have similar confidence here – by all indications the team (and more importantly, the team’s best player) likes the guy. And just as this team is losing games to shitty teams right now, they may well go on a hot streak, get to the play-in game and this stretch will be forgotten/ignored by the decision makers.

andy_sims
April 9, 2021 10:46 am
Reply to  Otis

I think when it comes down to it, Fox would rather win games working for a ballbuster than lose them under the tutelage of someone who couldn’t find his own ass with both hands and a roadmap.

Otis
April 9, 2021 10:55 am
Reply to  andy_sims

 Fox would rather win games working for a ballbuster 

comment image

Carl
April 9, 2021 5:41 pm
Reply to  Otis

Agreed. I see no guarantees Walton is gone. The only thing I’ve seen is that McNair said Walton was great in an interview or presser, and then qualified it to Walton has been great with the players (or something like that) with Carmichael Dave. I will not be surprised if Walton is coaching this team again next year.

My theory is that all of McNair’s chips are on a superstar trade, so he doesn’t necessarily need to get rid of this bad coach until that unicorn trade happens.

Carl
April 9, 2021 1:01 pm
Reply to  Marty

We don’t have superstars and I’d flip everything to try and get them. Luke is just a time filler.

This is why I was so pissed off at the deadline. This is the year to maximize the team’s draft chances. There was clearly an opportunity to move Barnes, which would have led to a better draft spot. Same with Holmes, who they seem likely to lose for nothing in the offseason. The opportunity to move up in this draft is lost, and it’s made worse if either or both of those players are moved in the offseason. At that point, we’ve gotten a higher pick for no reason. I also think the Kings front office is overvaluing the net rating of the starting group(s).

Here’s what I think is going on: Vivek wants a playoff team. McNair is enamored of the Harden to Houston , Irving to the Celtics or Kawhi to Toronto scenario, so he’s not going to tank, and instead will put all his chips on that happening. This is what McNair means when he talks about maintaining flexibility.

This means we’re not going to see a lot of meaningful movement of players on this team, unless an individual trade is a clear personnel or asset upgrade. I don’t see any veteran deals like Vlade would have made, because only players on bargain deals are fodder for a superstar trade. In other words, McNair must win every trade to build assets for a future Kawhi, Kyrie or Harden-type deal. That means we’re not going to see a lot of players for picks deals, and we’re not going to see any tanking at all.

It also means that no one is safe, including Haliburton or Fox, because everyone and all draft picks are on the table for a Harden, Kyrie or Kawhi deal.

It also would explain why he got the job. Vivek seems very much like a short term thinker and clearly does not want to tank for long term success. McNair believes that a superstar deal (and not tanking) is the way to success, which fits Vivek’s need to compete. The problem here is that if that kind of trade doesn’t come to pass over several years, and the team makes trades and signings that only provide incremental improvement, McNair risks looking like a do-nothing GM.

Where I think we will see player movement, and where the “value buyer’ thing comes into play is that McNair is going to churn through second round picks, GLeague and bench players trying to find the next Christian Wood, to either serve as a compliment to his planned superstar deal, or as part of the deal itself.

I really believe this is where we are. At most, expect incremental deals in the offseason and at next year’s deadline. If McNair is lucky, eventually he’ll be able to move a set of players for superstar player. If he’s not, we’ll more or less tread water for three or four years and McNair will eventually get fired having accomplished little.

Edit: Where the rubber meets the road is Bogey was not retained because his deal was not a bargain, so has no value in trade for a superstar. I think Holmes is likely to suffer the same fate. If they can keep him at a bargain, they will, but much past what Montrezl Harell got (2/$18m) he’s gone.

I do expect Buddy to be moved if possible, just to get out of a bad deal that’s in the way of a future superstar trade.

tl;dr
Every move the Kings make is in anticipation of trading for a superstar later. Tanking is not going to happen.

Last edited 2 months ago by Carl
andy_sims
April 9, 2021 1:31 pm
Reply to  Carl

And again, the details of the potential trade for Barnes that McNair walked away from are…?

Don’t worry about it, I’ve been asking the same question for two weeks.

oshima9
April 9, 2021 2:21 pm
Reply to  Carl

“In other words, McNair must win every trade to build assets for a future Kawhi, Kyrie or Harden-type deal. That means we’re not going to see a lot of players for picks deals, and we’re not going to see any tanking at all.”

I don’t necessarily disagree that McNair and Vivek are thinking this way, but all superstar deals require agent cooperation. What agent of a player of this caliber would allow their client to end up in Sacramento?

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
April 9, 2021 8:33 am
Reply to  RobHessing

It’s nearly 100% coaching, IMO. Just look at what Thibs has done with the Knicks. They’ve been basically Kings East for the past decade and they now have one of the best defenses in the NBA and are looking to make the playoffs.

Last year we clearly had the worst GM and Coach in the NBA, I’d argue we still have the worst coach and the GM is undetermined.

keith_kar
April 9, 2021 8:51 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Monte McNair is definitely in the yet to be determined category, 100% agree. Halliburton may have fallen into McNair’s lap, but his lack of boldness at the trade deadline leaves a lot to be desired.

We still have (pretty much) the same motley crew starting, and if McNair thought this bunch would even sniff the play-in tournament, I believe his judgement of talent now becomes very questionable.

andy_sims
April 9, 2021 9:21 am
Reply to  keith_kar

McNair selects who may end up being the best all-around player in the draft, who, it’s important to note, eleven other general managers took a pass on, but Haliburton just fell into his lap? There were certainly still a number of players whose selection would have made sense at twelve, but NcNair succeeded on dumb luck?

The sample size for McNair remains too small to properly assess, but thus far, his moves in regard to talent have been almost uniformly on the nose, The bench is considerably improved, and I have serious reservations that he or any other intelligent observer ever thought the Kings were making the playoffs. The play-in is not the playoffs; it’s only a second chance to get into them, and a bone the league is throwing to appease networks and advertisers. It’s a cheap gimmick, and further diminishes a tournament that already included more than half the teams.

McNair going on television and not expressly saying that this is another lottery year seems like the prudent stance for someone in his position.

Gregoryl
April 9, 2021 8:59 am
Reply to  RobHessing

First, it was refreshing to see Draper be honest and blunt and not let Kayte shill for 30 mins. That being said, I agree with Draper to an extent. The team has no heart and are soft. Vlade built this team. He signed a vet “leader” in HB who has never shown flashes of true leadership. He signed Buddy to a big contract after Buddy complained to the media about not having a big contract. He picked Bagley over Luka.
Could another coach pull some wins out of this team? Possibly in the short-term, but these players are who they are.

Marty
April 9, 2021 10:17 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

Could another coach pull some wins out of this team? Possibly in the short-term, but these players are who they are.

Nailed it.

RobHessing
April 9, 2021 10:22 am
Reply to  Marty

So you don’t think that this team would be better under Pop or Snyder or Spoelstra, and that they would not be able to maintain a higher level? Man, I strongly disagree with that.

Not saying that this roster is upper echelon NBA, but under a top flight coach I could easily see them over .500, which would place them at 15th in the league instead of 22nd.

Put another way, swap Pop for Walton and make no roster changes and the Kings are in the thick of it for the 8th seed while the Spurs are somewhere in the 12-15 range in the West. It doesn’t solve everything, but it is an important incremental step.

Marty
April 9, 2021 10:29 am
Reply to  RobHessing

So you don’t think that this team would be better under Pop or Snyder or Spoelstra, and that they would not be able to maintain a higher level? 

holy cow where did I say anything like that?

ok, 15th in the league with arguably the best coach of all time. Still leaves us with the same roster that’s going nowhere.

Buruskeee
April 9, 2021 5:42 pm
Reply to  Marty

You need a coach to show the potential of each player in a system in order to analyze what players to keep and move. In Walton’s “system” of pick up basketball, you basically will only see natural creators excel and role players falter. How can you assess the pieces with inadequate data? Walton is the biggest move to make to get a real sense of direction Monte can take with this team.

Hamlet1989
April 9, 2021 11:32 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Swap Pop for the Kings coach and the Kings are right in the thick of it Period. Now and for the last twenty years. Exactly! And no Gm in the league would trade Fox for Tobias Harris. Lol!

Otis
April 9, 2021 12:58 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

Probably not, but not because Fox is a better (or more valuable) basketball player right now.

Hamlet1989
April 9, 2021 12:20 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

The team is soft because they don’t have a starting caliber center. Holmes is a great back-up. We don’t know what’s in these guys hearts anymore than we know what’s in yours. They lack leadership because the coach sucks. Sacramento knows better than to go Philly-fan on our best player like they were doing to Embiid just a couple seasons ago. Remember when he called in sick with a tummy ache for a playoff game? The NBA isn’t judging players for their performance in Sac and hasn’t in years. They leave here and go back to becoming play-off contributors for other teams. We won’t truly know who any of these guys are until we see them under competent NBA quality coaching.

Gregoryl
April 9, 2021 2:06 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

The team is soft b/c Metu broke his wrist on a dirty play and his teammates did nothing. The team is soft b/c they come out against the 2 worst teams in the NBA and laid an egg. The team is soft b/c they let other teams score at will. This could go on awhile…

RORDOG
April 9, 2021 9:18 am
Reply to  RobHessing

I think he can be (and has shown) he can lead by example, but I don’t know if Fox will ever be the heart and soul of the team.

RORDOG
April 9, 2021 9:27 am
Reply to  RORDOG

And 1: Fox, Hali, Barnes and Holmes all have different leadership qualities that compliment each other well. Fox is the engine, Haliburton is the glue guy, Barnes is the consummate professional, and Holmes is the hustle guy. I really think they’re only one starter away, it just so happens to be they’re missing the leader of the crew. I hate to say it cuz it’s an overused term, but they need an alpha dog.

Otis
April 9, 2021 10:21 am
Reply to  RORDOG

But when only one of those is a “hustle guy”, the ceiling is limited. Detroit is far less talented, but had twice the effort last night.

That “one starter” better be a superstar.

oshima9
April 9, 2021 2:09 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

“The eye test says that the Kings have been on the overwhelming good side of the injury ledger this year. It seems that they miss marquee opponent after marquee opponent while being pretty healthy in comparison.

All the good NBA teams have LOAD MANAGEMENT written in highlighter next to their games with the Kings.

RORDOG
April 9, 2021 8:18 am

A good thing about having a goal of making the playoffs is that you can then make personnel changes based on failing to meet that goal.

Marty
April 9, 2021 8:20 am

test

comment image

RobHessing
April 9, 2021 8:38 am
Reply to  Marty

Dear Luke,comment image

cbrody
April 9, 2021 8:27 am

I’ll have to watch tape.

Jman1949
April 9, 2021 8:35 am
Reply to  cbrody

The tapes?

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SierraSpartan
April 9, 2021 9:06 am
Reply to  cbrody

We need that “You Suck” videotape GIF that (I think) LaBradford did a while ago, just for this occasion.

Kosta
April 9, 2021 9:31 am
Reply to  SierraSpartan

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Last edited 2 months ago by Kosta
TerzoM
April 9, 2021 11:14 am
Reply to  Kosta

Brilliant!

Otis
April 9, 2021 8:29 am

Did Lucy pull the football again?

RobHessing
April 9, 2021 8:40 am
Reply to  Otis

Lukesy. You spelled it wrong.

Jman1949
April 9, 2021 8:29 am

Testing, testing, testing…

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Keyhole
April 9, 2021 8:37 am

I think we can all universally agree that most likely Monte wanted to bring in a new coach but was likely told “no” for financial reasons. This season was never meant to be. Walton will be gone at the end of the year and Monte will be able to bring in the guy he wants. Monté? Monty? Montie? I’m never sure…apologies

MaybeNextYear
April 9, 2021 10:32 am
Reply to  Keyhole

I like this theory. A half-assed run for the ten seed, knowing what’s best for the organization is to miss it. By empowering Luke to win, Monte’s given him enough rope to hang himself.

next year we’ll likely have a good(not great) draft pick and a shiny new coach in addition to whatever other offseason moves we make.

KingsSince85
April 9, 2021 8:41 am

Great article! I agree with everything in it 100%, with one minor exception… IMO one/you can definitely question Buddy’s effort. I hear that he does extra shooting practice which is great, but his effort on defense is not consistently present. If he’s not giving 100% effort on D, It almost doesn’t even matter how many threes he’s making… Walton should have him on the bench.

eddie41
April 9, 2021 8:41 am

I laughed so hard when I saw CoJo was the leading scorer last night.

Kosta
April 9, 2021 9:34 am
Reply to  eddie41

That was a great time to laugh hysterically at our situation.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
April 9, 2021 8:46 am

Hit the road Jack Luke!

Gregoryl
April 9, 2021 8:53 am

Is Luke a bad head coach? Yes. Should the blame be put on him? I say no. Vlade hired him without interviewing anyone else. The Luke mistake falls on Vlade/Vivek.
Every negative article written abt the Kings from now on should be focused solely on Vivek. and specifically the Vivek/Vlade era.

The current state of the team is scary for Kings fans:

  1. No cap space and many long-term contracts that, based on the inactivity at the trade deadline, are unmovable.
  2. If Monte didn’t move certain players at the deadline, b/c he thought the team should push for the play-in, that’s an even bigger problem.
  3. A draft pick much worse than if they could figure out how to tank correctly
  4. This team has been remarkably healthy this season, so we have no reason to be optimistic that the return of ________ will make things better next year. This season is abt as good as it will get with this roster
  5. The only teams the Kings are better than are all actively tanking.
andy_sims
April 9, 2021 9:42 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

I don’t think it’s out of line to lay some blame at Walton’s feet for simply being terrible at the job that he was hired to do. Should he ever have been hired? Of course not! Is there another potential head coach that would have taken an exciting speed-based team and tried to turn them in to the 1992 New York Knicks?

I mean, it’s possible, but jeez, he’d need to be pretty damned stupid.

AmateurNerd
April 9, 2021 11:13 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

By that logic, you can’t blame Vlade for any of the decisions he made, because Vivek hired Vlade. And you can’t blame Vivek for any of his mismanagement, because his purchase/leadership of the franchise was facilitated by David Stern. And you can’t blame David Stern, because….

Where does it end? We can’t blame God, or can we? It is incumbent on mature adults not to accept responsibility they are not prepared for. Accepting an offer of a job means you are accepting responsibility for doing that job competently. If the Constitution was magically altered overnight and Congress offered me the job of President of the United States this morning, there is no way in hell I would take it, because I know I would screw it up badly.

The blame for Luke’s incompetence falls on Luke. Period.

Gregoryl
April 9, 2021 2:14 pm
Reply to  AmateurNerd

Your Stern argument is a little silly as Vivek appeared to be the only guy who could keep the team here, which is what Stern wanted.
After that, all this franchise’s failures fall on Vivek. He is the constant in the current iteration of the franchise. Vivek fired Malone, hired Pete and Vlade, had/has a major say in team decisions, etc.. He has shown zero ability to adequately run a basketball franchise in any way whatsoever.

andy_sims
April 9, 2021 8:53 am

“When you get back from Flingers, we’d like to see you in the conference room, Mister Walton.”
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dropgate
April 9, 2021 10:45 am
Reply to  andy_sims

“Mr. Walton, what would you say you DO here?”

AmateurNerd
April 9, 2021 11:14 am
Reply to  dropgate

“I’d have to watch the tape.”

anan1234
April 9, 2021 9:03 am

Hopefully the Luke Walton era is over after this season. Been so unimpressed with the guy Vlade hired because he didn’t believe Joerger “could take us to the next level.”

https://www.sbnation.com/nba/2019/4/11/18306483/dave-joerger-fired-kings-coach

SierraSpartan
April 9, 2021 9:04 am

Scene…a lovely spring day in DoCo. A solitary figure dejectedly sits on one of the park benches, glumly looking at the image on his phone.

Cut to a shot of the screen of the phone…

[UofArizona AD]: “New phone, who dis?”

Bill2455
April 9, 2021 9:06 am

If you qualify for the playin game and do not win… is your streak for missing the playoffs still in tact?

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
April 9, 2021 9:11 am
Reply to  Bill2455

Yes. Only 16 teams make the playoffs.

RobHessing
April 9, 2021 9:23 am
Reply to  Adamsite

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Last edited 2 months ago by RobHessing
Ialmostmissthemaloofs
April 9, 2021 9:24 am

In my total armchair, non expert, barely paying attention anymore, probably uninformed and worthless observation…(enough qualifiers? ) Luke strikes me as someone who is trying to pattern after one of his mentors (Phil Jackson) but without the required skills and attributes to pull it off. He wants to be all Zen and chill, but the reality is he just comes off as uninterested, low energy, and lost.

I don’t know what Luke knows about basketball. Probably 1000X more than me or even many of you… but he doesn’t seem to get leadership to my eye. Some guys can lead by being your friend, but that is not always (or even often) the case. If as a leader you allow yourself to become a peer, you allow those you are leading to blame shift and shirk their own responsibility. Walton doesn’t seem able to hold the players accountable and is too concerned about them “liking him.”

It’s either that, or they just don’t believe him or buy into his system. It could be a combination of both, but they sure don’t go out and give their 100% effort for him, or even for each other. They are all “ok” with taking it easy. That is on the coach. I don’t like him as a coach. (nevermind as a person, don’t like that either, but it’s not relevant here.) I’ve never liked him as a coach. He just doesn’t have that “it” thing that says “follow me, I’ll get you there.” To the eye test he is outmatched on almost every level by other NBA coaches. He needs to be gone, and Monte needs to be VERY careful and solid in his next selection.

AmateurNerd
April 9, 2021 11:16 am

I wonder if the players have rationally decided that playing extra-hard to get into a stupid made-for-TV play-in game is a waste of time and frankly humiliating, and they want no part of it. It’s like the high school football player who sat on the bench all year because he’s completely unskilled, then the coach puts him in on the last play of the season, draws up a play for him, and then the other team purposely steps aside to let him score because awwww look, so inspiring! It’s humiliating, if you think about it, and I wouldn’t blame the players at all for not wanting to be the pitied kid in this scenario.

Last edited 2 months ago by AmateurNerd
andy_sims
April 9, 2021 1:02 pm
Reply to  AmateurNerd

I would imagine that a portion of them have contract incentives that would plop a nice bag of money on their doorsteps for making the play-in/playoffs.

AmateurNerd
April 9, 2021 1:51 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Yeah, that’s fair. I suppose I’m once again trying to find reasons for this team’s awfulness besides “they just stink,” and that never works, does it?

andy_sims
April 9, 2021 1:00 pm

Next selection? He hasn’t been permitted to male his first selection yet.

Ialmostmissthemaloofs
April 9, 2021 9:28 am

I wonder if after that ass-whoopin the Kangz just took at the hand of a crappy team if he is still not interested?
I wonder more… why would AZ even want him?

andy_sims
April 9, 2021 10:49 am

It’s all old-boy network shit, same as it ever was. Luke Walton would never have even played in the NBA except for who his father is.

HongKongKingsFan
April 9, 2021 9:28 am

Right now…the new lineup is not working with Harkless as the starting SF…

so, I would like to see if Walton is trying to insert Woodard as the starting SF to see if it works…..

We sucks, and please play the rookies more, Coach Walton !!!!!!!!

andy_sims
April 9, 2021 9:45 am

I’m not saying that Harkless replacing Haliburton in the starting lineup is the smart move, but one game in, I don’t know that it can be said with any certainty that “the new lineup is not working.”

HongKongKingsFan
April 9, 2021 9:55 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Mo Harkless is completely washed…………..

I would say move Hield into the 2nd unit, and play Davis / Wright as the starting SG should be a nice try

Otis
April 9, 2021 10:22 am

That dunk was pretty sick though.

keith_kar
April 9, 2021 10:33 am

I agree with you on Hield, but why not insert someone like a Metu for Barnes in the starting lineup? Why does Barnes always get a pass?

I mean, we stink anyway, and Barnes shouldn’t be around next season. At least I hope he’s not, if McNair was shopping him at the deadline.

eddie41
April 9, 2021 10:38 am

I still can’t get the image out of my head of Harkless kicking the ball after someone else’s missed free throw, as if that moment epitomizes him as a player.

Gregoryl
April 9, 2021 2:15 pm

Why are we talking about lineups?? This team sucks! It doesn’t matter!

Kosta
April 9, 2021 9:35 am

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Last edited 2 months ago by Kosta
SMF-PDXConnection
April 9, 2021 9:36 am

Walton is absolutely a great poster child for the power of mediocre white men to attain influence and privilege beyond their abilities and what they deserve.

andy_sims
April 9, 2021 10:52 am

Ah, race was mentioned, so it must be only for effect, and completely wrong.

Legacy hires continue to destroy this country, and no one gets more of them than idiot sons of idiot sons.

AmateurNerd
April 9, 2021 11:21 am
Reply to  andy_sims

In this case, IMHO, it is wrong. Walton was not privileged because of his race. He was definitely privileged because of his dad’s accomplishments. Big difference. Nepotism, not race. Reasonable people may disagree. I’m going to stop here before this thread turns into something the mods need to shut down.

Carl
April 9, 2021 1:22 pm

Nepotism is big here as well, plus Vlade being the dumbest front office executive in the history of sports.

andy_sims
April 9, 2021 1:33 pm
Reply to  Carl

We’d be laughing so hard about it if he’d been hired anywhere else.

NorCalKingsFan
April 9, 2021 6:12 pm

several mediocre white men with unearned influence disagree

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
April 9, 2021 9:57 am

Luke, you can only “not watch the tape” so many times…

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
April 9, 2021 9:59 am

I was all ready with GIF comments last night but the comments for me weren’t working…but it seems like I’m back again!

Hamlet1989
April 9, 2021 10:00 am

You could re-title this article “The Kings are running out of excuses for Luke Walton.” Then re-write it with excuses starting right after hiring him, for his alleged inappropriate conduct, and ending with “Well, we owe him a lot of money now, so we’re not ready to admit the mistake we’ve been refusing to acknowledge all along.”

AmateurNerd
April 9, 2021 11:26 am
Reply to  Hamlet1989

Luke should have been fired 48 hours after he was hired. The fact that he was not, and the team all too willingly stayed mum while he reached an undisclosed settlement with his accuser (translation: he paid her or some victims’ rights group a lot of money and probably gave her a verbal apology), is a black eye on the Kings organization. That, and the hirings of Terence Davis, Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins, Matt Barnes, Darren Collison, etc etc etc. Despite its public stance on social justice issues, the Kings have happily ignored the conduct of their own employees for the sake of a few fewer ping-pong balls each season.

andy_sims
April 9, 2021 1:05 pm
Reply to  AmateurNerd

I don’t think Walton’s situation was a black eye for the organization, mainly because both eyes are already black due to so many other failures.

Walton’s situation is less a black eye, and more akin to blue balls.

ZillersCat
April 9, 2021 10:33 am

It is hard to take this virtual basketball season seriously. I’m a bike racer and there have been virtual races on pelotons to keep some competition. I take these just a seriously as this years basketball season as being real. It feels more like a extended Summer league. I expect the players motivations to make a playoff in a short season without fans as not enough, if you have to take the game in your own hands.. With the rest of the team un-motivated for a 10th seed.

I can’t judge Walton’s coaching of a team that is this un-motivated. He is not a top head coach, but even I could not get up for games this year. I’m hardly watching them.

sonny
April 9, 2021 10:40 am

Hiring Divac is the worst move this franchise has ever done.
So many years have been wssted.

Unretire him.

Gregoryl
April 9, 2021 10:54 am
Reply to  sonny

They should definitely take his jersey out of the rafters.

TerzoM
April 9, 2021 11:25 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

Bought for$540M and now worth $1.7B. Mr “Arrogant and Dismissive Little Chap” thanks for all you’ve done, now please take your profits and GTFO

AmateurNerd
April 9, 2021 11:27 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

That is his player’s jersey, and he earned its ascent to the rafters. His GM suit, however, should be burned in the middle of DoCo.

Gregoryl
April 9, 2021 2:17 pm
Reply to  AmateurNerd

OK, I can live with the jersey stays, but he is not spoken of for the next 25 years. Fair?

eddie41
April 9, 2021 11:17 am

The theatre play “el tuerto es rey” just about sums up being a Kings fan.

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
April 9, 2021 11:32 am

OT: I think there’s something funny still going on with comment posting. I posted a comment in the game recap article and somehow it ended up in this one..

Hobby916
April 9, 2021 12:32 pm
Reply to  Klam

I agree. Seen some comments deleted in this thread. It was at 90 comments, then went back down to the 70s an hour later.

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