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Report: Kings adding veteran defensive coach Mike Longabardi to Luke Walton’s staff

Mike Longabardi will be the next coach to take on the seemingly impossible task of improving Sacramento's defense.

Luke Walton's coaching staff has been a bit of a revolving door since he signed on to be the Sacramento Kings' head coach back in 2019. We saw Igor Kokoskov leave the Kings early in his tenure, and as recently as this summer, both Jesse Mermuys and Rex Kalamian have left for coaching staff positions elsewhere.

The Kings already plugged one of those holes by bringing in former Kings great and then-current color commentator, Doug Christie. By all accounts, Christie is going to make a solid addition to Walton's team, but there is a real experience drop to Christie from those coaches leaving Sacramento.

Monte McNair, Luke Walton, and the Kings addressed that coaching staff experience concern on Monday. The Athletic's Sam Amick is reporting that veteran NBA coach Mike Longabardi is joining Luke Walton's staff in Sacramento as a "front-of-bench assistant."

Mike Longabardi has a pretty impressive resume. He started his NBA assistant coaching career in Houston where he may have connected with Kings General Manager Monte McNair who was also working with the Rockets at the time, but the overlapping window there is pretty tight.

After Houston, Longabardi joined the Celtics and a coaching staff that included both Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau. The Celtics won the NBA championship in Longabardi's first season in Boston, and would takeover as defensive coordinator under Doc Rivers when Tom Thibodeau left for his own head coaching position.

Longabardi spent some time in Phoenix under head coach Jeff Hornacek before heading to Cleveland where he was the defensive coordinator for Ty Lue. The Cavaliers won the NBA championship in Longabardi's first season running the show on defense. Scott Brooks brought Longabardi to the Wizards in 2019, and he's been there ever since – until now.

If it appears like I just regurgitated Mike Longabardi's Wikipedia page, it's because that's exactly what I did.

At any rate, Longabardi has the resume of someone that could, in theory, fix the Kings' historically bad defense. I don't know if Mr. Longabardi has future head coaching aspirations, but improving Sacramento's defense would be one hell of a selling point.

Good luck, coach! Welcome to Sacramento.

 

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SMF-PDXConnection
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August 16, 2021 6:32 pm

What’s more likely by 2022: an improved Kings defense or world peace and goodwill toward man?

Good luck, coach. You’re gonna need it.

Henry
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August 16, 2021 7:10 pm

Cheers!

“I like to say a prayer and drink to world peace.”

Friendly reminder that we’ve been stuck in Groundhog Day for 15 years.

RobHessing
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August 16, 2021 6:34 pm

Hope he brings a tape player with him.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
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August 16, 2021 8:52 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

comment image

Amonk81
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August 16, 2021 7:04 pm

It really makes no sense, if your goal is winning, to keep Coachless Walton.

Feels like all these coaches leaving speaks to the fucked up owner and organization.

Vivek-“we have a historically bad defense under a coach who’s had horrid Defensive teams before you say? Let’s keep him on and bring in a bunch of D specialist to make up for my egotistical idiocy. “

Like covering up the shit your dog laid in the corner with air freshener instead of just throwing it out.

PlayoffModeT
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August 16, 2021 7:12 pm

I really like the Monte and crew are trying to create a defensive culture in Sac. It makes me think it will take a lot to pry Mitchell away.

I’m not sure what the next move is and this may not be aligning with the defensive strategy, but i hope we kick the tires on Svi. Ideal size for a backup SF, spacer, youth, and cheap/buy low.

LesJepsen3pointer
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August 16, 2021 7:15 pm

Good luck, we’re all counting on you.

Pistola916
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August 16, 2021 7:25 pm

Can’t wait to read the comments when the Kings give up 120 on opening night

9sac8
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August 16, 2021 7:33 pm
Reply to  Pistola916

🤣 🤣 🤣

AnybodyButBagley
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August 16, 2021 7:44 pm
Reply to  Pistola916

Walton will be talking about the potential of the team to score 130.

BabalooMagoo
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August 16, 2021 8:35 pm

But first he’ll have to watch tape.

AnybodyButBagley
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August 16, 2021 7:41 pm

So……when do we get a real head coach?

NorCalKingsFan
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August 16, 2021 7:54 pm

So as long as the trend continues, we’ll be able to add the following line to Lombardi’s wiki page

“The Kings won the NBA championship in Longabardi’s first season running the show on defense.”

Won NBA championship in first year with Celtics
Coached with Phoenix
Won NBA championship in first year with Cavs
Coached with Washington
Won NBA championship in first year with Kings?

Last edited 1 year ago by NorCalKingsFan
WizsSox
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August 16, 2021 8:56 pm
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

Right!?! Monte just got the Kings a 50/50 shot at winning the title. Who’s taking the big swings now : )
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aplumley
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August 17, 2021 7:48 am
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

I almost posted the identical comment. Good take.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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August 16, 2021 8:50 pm

At least it wasn’t Mike Bibby! Hahaha, LOL, you know what I’m saying?!!
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Last edited 1 year ago by Adamsite
Hamlet1989
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August 16, 2021 9:22 pm

Short of any changes to the core, Monte is clearly focused on acquiring personnel with reputations for defense. I’ll give him that.

BeTheBall
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August 16, 2021 9:33 pm

If he can pull it off, it’s a hell of a resume stuffer. “2021- Sacramento Kings: Took worst defense in NBA history, and turned it into 29th in the league.”

RikSmits
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August 16, 2021 9:45 pm

Well, the only way is up for this D, so he has that going for him.

IIRC, Washington was also a bottom 5 D last season. How were they the year before?

WizsSox
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August 16, 2021 10:29 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Washington’s points given up was terrible, but that has a lot to do with pace, which was fastest in the league. Defensive rating the Wiz were 20th, but teams 15-21 all within .3 of each other…so basically league average/slightly below.

Year before Wizards dead last in defensive rating. So trending up??? 🙂

Frankly, if the Kings could maintain current offensive efficiency and have the 20th ranked defense, they are probably firmly in the playoff hunt.

That said, when opposing team drops 132 first night of season, I will be Googling this guy’s name again.

Last edited 1 year ago by WizsSox
RikSmits
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August 16, 2021 10:59 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

Thanks!

Doesn’t scream Defensive Wizard to me (pun intended). We’ll see.

AnybodyButBagley
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August 16, 2021 11:02 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

How much does playing in the Eastern conference matter here?

Meaning teams in the Eastern conference generally do not score as much.

Wizards are the Kangz of the Eastern conference?

WizsSox
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August 16, 2021 11:14 pm

Not much I would say.

Top 3 scoring teams last year, all Eastern conference. 6 of top 14 scoring teams were in Eastern conference. Same for offensive rating.

I think it’s about the same scoring wise, at least negligible difference. I think the large discrepancy between East and West is starting to shift some.

Last edited 1 year ago by WizsSox
RikSmits
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August 16, 2021 11:09 pm

So Len signed for the MLE at Raptors, got cut, then signed for the minimum at Washington, played so-so, and parlayed that into a two year, fully-guaranteed deal for at least $ 3.7 mio per year with the Kings.

I like Len, but can someone explain me why this is a good use of cap space by Monte?

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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August 17, 2021 7:36 am
Reply to  RikSmits

It’s not.

WizsSox
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August 17, 2021 8:05 am
Reply to  RikSmits

From Hollinger in The Athletic:
14. Alex LenWizards: $3,369,320 (Projected production in salary)…Len’s rebounding worryingly cratered last season, but offensively, he still provides a lot as a huge lob target who can also shoot a little. Averaging 20.8 points per 100 while shooting 64.7 percent on 2s, the 28-year-old offers a clear value proposition as a backup five on a deal for the biannual or room exceptions.

I think if he plays solid and is a clear back up next year (Thompson out for sure by then), 4 mill seems like a reasonable number. I’m not the cap wiz, but it would seem to keep the MLE fully open for next free agency. Room exception is only for teams under the cap, I think.

To me a clear upgrade over Damian Jones, which is the role he is taking as the big bodied back up. The Thompson deal might confuse this, but this signing in itself seems reasonable to me. I do think he and Thompson provide different looks and sizes depending on match ups, but whether both are needed is debatable for sure.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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August 17, 2021 8:10 am
Reply to  WizsSox

I agree he is better than Damian Jones, but then why did McNair just guarantee Jones’ deal last week?

It all just seems odd to me and leaves me thinking that McNair still (hopefully) has plans this offseason. Why trade for TT, sign Len, to more than the vet minimum and use the part of the MLE to do it, draft a 7 footer, while also guaranteeing Jones?

WizsSox
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August 17, 2021 9:24 am
Reply to  Adamsite

All good Q’s

RighteousandHopeful
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August 16, 2021 11:19 pm

Subheadline: ‘Mike Longabardi will be the next coach to take on the seemingly impossible task of improving Sacramento’s defense.’
My take: Placing the entire task of improving the defense on a new assistant is ‘seemingly’ unfair. However, the Kings’ defense should be better next year. How can it be worse?
Clip and save this story for your resume, Coach Longabardi. (Great name, by the way.)

Amonk81
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August 17, 2021 12:21 am

Curios as you why they hired him now as opposed to earlier. You’d think they’d want more time with the team?

is that typical?

rockbottom
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August 17, 2021 5:38 am

Wonder now if Christie was a Vivek hire and not a Mc Nair or Walton one !

Bill2455
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August 17, 2021 8:19 am

To improve the defense add Ben Simmons for Fox and and a number one.

Bill2455
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August 17, 2021 8:21 am

Trade Fox plus a number one for Simmons. The Kings could be top 4 in the west.

WizsSox
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August 17, 2021 9:25 am
Reply to  Bill2455

The Kings could be top 4 in the west.comment image

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