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The Sacramento Kings were designed to lose

The recent losing streak shouldn't come as any sort of shock.

As the Sacramento Kings dropped their fourth game in a row on Monday evening, a familiar debate euprted throughout the fan base with the same old tried and true questions being asked. Should the Kings sell off the veterans for draft assets and young players? Is it appropriate to enter a mini-rebuild with the way De'Aaron Fox is playing? Would it be wise to push for the playoffs or the play-in tournament to get these kids some postseason experience, break the streak, and hopefully one day become an attractive destination for free agents?

Those questions, while highly relevant and interesting to discuss, tend to fade away when considering Sacramento's plan heading into the season. They were designed to lose - and to lose a lot. That assertion may seem incredibly bold with the Kings having recently come off of a stretch in which they won seven of eight games, and those who vehemently oppose such a strategy may scoff at the idea that Monte McNair would purposefully create a bad team, but the evidence is glaring when studying both the moves that were made this offseason, and those that weren't.

Typically, if an organization really wants to win, they retain all of their best players whenever possible, especially ones who can effectively play multiple positions. The Kings failed to do so with Bogdan Bogdanovic in November. Their aborted trade with the Milwaukee Bucks would have brought back a nice third-year player in Donte DiVincenzo, but that by no means was a win-now transaction, nor was the rumored non-trade with the Atlanta Hawks for a future first round pick. Once the Bucks deal was blown up, Monte McNair allowed Bogdanovic to walk with zero compensation, rather than simply paying a key contributor a slightly inflated $18 million per year. In the post-trade press conference, McNair cited future flexibility as the primary reason for letting Bogi go, not exactly the priority for most wannabe playoff contenders.

Of course, Bogdanovic's departure in and of itself isn't enough to prove McNair's mini-tank. Management had no connection with Bogdanovic, and with Tyrese Haliburton's recent addition, it's certainly not unheard of for new General Managers to unload previous players to open up room for their guys. However, the Bogdanovic decision was just the first of many lose-now moves by Sacramento's new front office over the last few months.

Heading into the 2020 offseason, the Kings were short on cap space after Vlade Divac's half-decade of generous donations to over-the-hill veterans, but they still had two spending tools at their disposal, the standard non-taxpayer mid-level exception, worth about $9.8 million, and the bi-annual exception, which came in at around $4 million. The BAE is only available in years in which a particular team didn't utilize it in the year prior, hence bi-annual, but the MLE renews every season in which the team is eligible. Organizations have the option to drop all of that cash on one player, with a contract of up to three years with 5% annual, non-compounding raises, or the MLE can be split among multiple signees with those same contractual restrictions in place. In November, players such as Serge Ibaka, Montrezl Harrell, Derrick Favors, Jae Crowder, and Tristan Thompson were all acquired through the MLE.

Unlike just about every other team in the league, the Kings did absolutely nothing, other than offer slightly larger deals to their second round selections. Monte McNair left almost $10 million in free spending money on the table, and that exception has no other short-term or long-term value either. It can't be used in a trade. It can't be used to take on salary. It can't be carried over into next season. It's just gone. Contenders don't allow that sort of opportunity to pass them by.

Instead of using the MLE to sign a quality contributor or two, the Kings chose to shop the bargain bin of unwanted players and wound up with Hassan Whiteside and Glenn Robinson III on one-year minimum deals, not exactly world-breakers in the NBA. Whiteside, despite starting the majority of the games for the playoff-bound Portland Trail Blazers last year, took the largest salary decrease in the league and signed five days after the offseason began. Robinson was an even more delayed acquisition, as he wasn't inked to a deal until November 29th, more than a week after the market opened. With their only other relevant free agent situation being the failed Bogdanovic trade and his subsequent exit, the Kings were clearly in no rush to add quality players or to do so quickly.

Monte McNair had no plans to win this season, an understandable stance considering Sacramento's cap situation and present talent level. The only things keeping the Kings afloat thus far have been De'Aaron Fox's All-Star level of play, Tyrese Haliburton's Rookie of the Year type contributions, Richaun Holmes' career year, and Harrison Barnes' hot start, but the latter two factors have already begun to fade, and no one else on the roster is good enough to step up and perform at those same early-season levels. The Kings simply aren't very good, but perhaps some comfort and some answers can be found in the fact that being bad was always the plan.

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1951
February 16, 2021 9:16 am

comment image

“Designed to lose” and the Sacramento Kings. Like Baby Giraffes and bad food takes, like Carmichael Dave and tweeting nonstop while on vacation, like Matt George and delusional positivity, like Kayte and telling fans what they don’t understand, they are destined to be together forever!

Last edited 17 days ago by 1951
Socalpurplecurse
February 16, 2021 9:59 am
Reply to  1951

Monte played his cards right waiting until the deadline to maximize return on assets. Its looking like someone will actually give up an assembly for Barnes now that theres more desperate teams combined with Barnes hot streak, this seemed impossible in the off-season. Buddy buckets is turning it around and it seems as tho we will be able to net a positive asset on him as well, this alone would be a massive homerun! Sell off expiring deals as well as fill-ins to make trades work and we start with a high pick in a top heavy star studded draft and a clean slate next year. Holmes might be the only player worth keeping but if we can get a 1st for him I’d say do it since he doesn’t nessessarily fit our timeline.

Jman1949
February 16, 2021 10:38 am

IIRC Monte had a reputation of working closely with the coaching staff in Houston on game-to-game decisions. I’m a bit curious about whether he influenced Walton’s rotation decisions these last three games—starting GR3 one game, then Jeffries the next, and CoJo last night for instance.

Last edited 17 days ago by Jman1949
Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
February 16, 2021 10:42 am
Reply to  Jman1949

Those last three starting lineups have been odd, but it could also just be Walton’s dumb fuckery.

PlayoffModeT
February 16, 2021 10:47 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I thought with Jeffries starting the other day, he might have the coach’s confidence but then he barely played against Brooklyn smh

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
February 16, 2021 10:41 am

I’m torn on this. Sure, Monte can afford to sit and wait to see what desperate teams are willing to offer, but you also run the risk of players getting hurt or the bus passing you by.

I look back to the Rudy Gay injury in his final year. There were lots of rumors about moving him by the deadline to get something in return because it was very unlikely he would return. What happened…he got injured before the deadline and the time had passed. He walked for nothing in the offseason.

I also fear that a team like Boston, who is rumored to want Barnes, may move on to other options if the Kings hold out for better return. I still feel they are going to go after Otto Porter Jr since he is an expiring and can deo everything Barnes can do.

To use the old phrase, “strike while the iron is hot” may have come and gone. That stretch of good games may have been the best time to get return on investment.

I hope this isn’t a “we had a better deal 2 days ago” situation.

1951
February 16, 2021 10:57 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I get part of that and I can’t believe that GMs get over-excited about a hot stretch from a ninth year vet.

The NBA has a pretty good idea of who Barnes is as a player at this point. Somebody may want him but I doubt they would have paid a premium a week ago based on a stretch of efficiency that was above career norms.

Last edited 17 days ago by 1951
SPTSJUNKIE
February 16, 2021 11:05 am
Reply to  1951

Yeah, I mean, I 100% agree with Adamsite – injuries happen and other players may become available and decrease the demand for Barnes.

However, I think you are correct that these teams have a ton of data, advanced metrics, watch a ton of game film, and really know these players inside and out.

Barring a material change in the player’s performance, I don’t think 95% of modern GMs (and certainly not Ainge) are going to have their views on a player vary too wildly based on a hot or cold shooting streak.

Otis
February 16, 2021 11:18 am
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

I think with Barnes specifically, those additional two seasons matter. If he was an expiring deal (or even just one additional season), I think there’d be a really nice market for him.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
February 16, 2021 11:20 am
Reply to  Otis

Yup, which is why any team wanting Barnes’ services will likely opt for Otto Porter Jr. instead.

SPTSJUNKIE
February 16, 2021 11:25 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Could be, but Porter will also be a FA (could lose him for nothing), has struggled with injuries, and partially due to the injuries has not been the same player the last two years.

I mean, you could easily be right. But my guess is that Barnes has more value around the league right now. But that opinion and $5 will get you a Starbucks coffee, so take it with a grain of salt.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
February 16, 2021 11:34 am
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

But a team like Boston, for instance, is already capped out and at the tax line. Porter Jr. gives them just a one year hit as opposed to Barnes who is on the books for two more years. If either of them don’t work out for Boston, Porter Jr. is better gamble because he won’t hurt them long term.

IMO, Boston has their core, they are just looking to guns for hire to get them over the edge.

RORDOG
February 16, 2021 11:42 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Bill Simmons had KOC on his show, and talked about this a little bit. Essentially, KOC said the goal should be to land Beal. Either by using the TPE in a Beal deal, or by using it on a player that can be used for salary matching purposes once Beal eventually demands a trade. I thought it was an interesting thought experiment.

1951
February 16, 2021 11:53 am
Reply to  RORDOG

Yes. A Bill Simmons trade discussion wherein Boston lands the best player in the deal.

He often has that “thought experiment!”

RORDOG
February 16, 2021 12:35 pm
Reply to  1951

That’s not really what the discussion was about. Esseentially, they were bagging on the Celtics and saying there isn’t a move out there that would fix Boston’s issues this season. So using it on an expiring deal was basically a waste of the TPE. The example they brought up was a trade for Al Horford since the last year of his contract is only partially guaranteed. He’d improve the team marginally, but could essentially give them a contract that can be used like the TPE down the road.

Otis
February 16, 2021 11:43 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Agreed, and I think the exception would be if they could send back similar long-term salary, and I assume that isn’t (and shouldn’t be) on McNair’s radar.

SPTSJUNKIE
February 16, 2021 12:44 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Good point.

J-Fresh
February 17, 2021 2:23 am
Reply to  Adamsite

What about the team that misses out on Porter but clearly in the hunt?

Bluejohn
February 16, 2021 5:44 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

If true only one team is going to get him and where does that put the rest of the teams may be willing to trade for an almost Otter Porter Jr. Boston looks good because they do have some assets to include in a trade.

SPTSJUNKIE
February 16, 2021 11:22 am
Reply to  Otis

Agree. I am hoping Boston is interested in him. Would seem to fit their needs well, as he’s a good team defender and shooter, even if he is overpriced for his contributions. They may see a window to win it all this year.

But between their trade exemption, Nesmith, and their draft picks, there would seem to be room to negotiate a good deal for both sides that would allow us to get some future assets, while immediately opening up cap space. That could be used for to take another player into the space for even more assets or could be used to sign player in the offseason.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
February 16, 2021 11:37 am
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

One thing to not overlook, but I’m also not 100% sure on it either, is if the Kings traded Barnes to Boston and took very little in return, thanks to Boston’s TPE, wouldn’t the Kings themselves create a fat TPE? They’d then have a calendar year to use it.

BestHyperboleEver
February 16, 2021 12:03 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

That’s what I’ve read. Though I can’t remember how big it would be.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
February 16, 2021 12:44 pm

Still, it’s potentially a valuable asset apart from the player or picks Barnes may get in return.

My rough math, if the Kings take on a player like Nesmith or whoever on a rookie deal from Boston, they’d have at least a $16M TPE created. That’s substantial, IMO.

SPTSJUNKIE
February 16, 2021 12:45 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Another good point

J-Fresh
February 17, 2021 2:22 am
Reply to  Adamsite

That is a risk that is also present, however if Monte is planning to clear a majority of the vets by Trade deadline, I would think it would be incredibly unlikley that more than 1 would have a Rudy Gay type scenario. I Personally would stick with Trade Deadline and try to maximize value along the way.

Put it this way, most of the key vets are peaking more now, than when Monte took over (there are exceptions to the rule like NB and Cojo)

RORDOG
February 17, 2021 9:27 am
Reply to  J-Fresh

and the Rudy Gay thing isn’t really that similar. He injured his Achilles in the last year of his contract, and became an unrestricted free agent that offseason. Barnes and Buddy still have multiple years remaining on their contracts obviously. I guess you can say Bjelly playing is similar to the Gay situation, but they’ve been mitigating the risk by playing him sparingly.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
February 16, 2021 9:16 am

We’re like the NBA’s version of a NPC.

Kosta
February 16, 2021 12:12 pm

Or a jobber. I’m tired of being the Iron Mike Sharpe or Barry Horowitz of the NBA.

I wanna be… a Macho King
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Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
February 16, 2021 1:53 pm
Reply to  Kosta

It’s like the Kings are playing a video game that has never been connected to the internets to receive the day one patch from the developer so we just keep running into the same glitches over and over.

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
February 16, 2021 2:31 pm
Reply to  Kosta

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King4life
February 16, 2021 9:17 am

It’s going to take a while to unravel the mess Vlade Divac left behind and it certainly won’t be easy.

I agree with Tim that the team wasn’t designed to win and honestly, this is the perfect year to not worry about wins since there isn’t fans in the building. Walk into next offseason with cap flexibility, no bloated contracts, and another lottery pick. Then we can start to see what a McNair led team looks like.

HopelesslyHopeful
February 18, 2021 10:16 am
Reply to  King4life

Also, if you’re gonna tank, might as well do it in a season with fewer games and a loaded draft.

Gregoryl
February 16, 2021 9:39 am

We’ve been designed to lose since 2007.

ElRonToro
February 16, 2021 9:42 am

Call me a cynic, call me what you will, call me old fashioned……
but if Kings management designed this team to lose we’d be 27-0 right now.

ZillersCat
February 16, 2021 9:47 am
Reply to  ElRonToro

Old Time Rock & Roll? When the Kings have the talent to compete, they will. I am interested in anyone who is inspired about basketball at all this season. I see hope & will buy in more next year.
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Last edited 17 days ago by ZillersCat
Kosta
February 16, 2021 12:33 pm
Reply to  ZillersCat

K-K-K-K-K-K-Kangzmandu
I think that’s where I’m going to
If I ever get out of here
I’m going to Kangzmandu

Otis
February 16, 2021 9:48 am

Nah, not really. If the team were designed to lose, they wouldn’t have retained a lame duck head coach who is trying to win so he can get another job.

This team is no different than last season, frankly. Haliburton has been a fair replacement for Bogie. Say what you want about Whiteside, but he’s a pretty solid frontline player. And Fox really isn’t an All-Star caliber player yet, he’s essentially the same player as last season.

This team wasn’t built to be bad – if they were, McNair would have attempted to fire sale Barnes, would have dealt Buddy for whatever future draft compensation he could get, and would have an interim head coach limiting Fox’s minutes and giving MBIII 30 minutes per game.

As they are built right now, this team is designed to be on that late lottery treadmill. I think that could change, since they got pretty lucky on Haliburton and there’s still hope for Fox to make a jump, but a lot still needs to go right (like getting another nice player in the upcoming draft).

AmateurNerd
February 16, 2021 9:57 am
Reply to  Otis

Retaining Walton absolutely does show the team is “designed to lose.” He’s the Unwitting Tank Commander, trying his best to win and still losing regularly with the worst defense in history. Keeping Walton was a genius way to propel the tank while denying the existence of said tank.

Otis
February 16, 2021 10:08 am
Reply to  AmateurNerd

Walton got them 31 wins last season and has them at 12-15 this season. I’m not sure that’s the genius we were looking for.

This team is in no way tanking, intended or not.

Marty
February 16, 2021 10:23 am
Reply to  Otis

Yes but he could be soft tanking after the deals are made mid-season, hopefully moving up in the draft(s) in the process.

I did use the word hope in that sentence which is probably not smart.

AmateurNerd
February 16, 2021 10:28 am
Reply to  Marty

Yeah, my first comment was semi-tongue-in-cheek. It’s a “soft tank” that avoids the appearance of blatantly trying to lose, while leaving the door open for unexpected magic that could (but almost certainly won’t) happen.

Otis
February 16, 2021 11:02 am
Reply to  AmateurNerd

I think unless you’re getting draft capital back in a deal, this won’t even really be a “soft tank”. The players we get back in a trade will likely be useful enough for Walton to play without losing much on-court.

AmateurNerd
February 17, 2021 10:49 am
Reply to  Otis

You may very well be correct. At the end of the day, I’m at a total loss to interpret what this franchise does on daily, yearly, or decade-ly basis.

Bluejohn
February 16, 2021 5:59 pm
Reply to  Marty

The words hope and smart will break your heart as a Kangz fan

1951
February 16, 2021 11:03 am
Reply to  Otis

And Fox really isn’t an All-Star caliber player yet, he’s essentially the same player as last season.

His 3pt % and volume are not letting me completely agree with this sentence. He is up to about 35% on 5 attempts per game, which is a pretty big jump in his game. As a result, his TS% is at a career high. It’s finally a weapon that teams need to respect, which I think will start opening up drives even more. We shall see.

Now, if he could just hit FTs at above 75%, dognabbit!

Last edited 17 days ago by 1951
Otis
February 16, 2021 11:11 am
Reply to  1951

He shot 37% two seasons ago though (albeit, as you noted, on fewer attempts). More noticeably, defenders still go under the screens…he’s still not really scaring anyone. Fox is only approaching All-Star level if a bunch of guards disappear from the West suddenly.

And I don’t think the FT% should be a throwaway line when discussing this – I’d think a guy who is going to be a good three point shooter wouldn’t struggle to get to 70% from the line.

Dunno, I’m just not seeing anything that tells me he’s going to make the leap to upper-tier in the league. Regardless, he’ll be a nice piece of the puzzle with Haliburton and (hopefully) this next draft pick.

Want-to-be-gm
February 16, 2021 11:59 am
Reply to  1951

Yeah to say Fox isn’t any better is a bit ridiculous. He’s now a borderline all star and all aspects of his game shooting, penetrating, defense, decision making, etc have gradually improved each year. I actually think the Kings are in the best position they’ve been in many years. We have two young solid building blocks and really only one bad contract right now. I would move Barnes immediately to Boston if we can get a first and Romeo Langford. The obvious key going forward is making next years draft count big and secondly not making any stupid free agent over payments. To me, after drafting Haliburton the best thing this management group has done was to not overspend on mediocre free agents like Vlade did with ZZbo, Hill, Joseph, etc.

WizsSox
February 16, 2021 12:33 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

100% agree.

I actually think the Kings are in the best position they’ve been in many years. 

They have two young playmakers (every team wants) who are locked up together for the next 5 years and are already good. Can they get markedly better? I think so, but remains to be seen.

I don’t think they have any albatross contracts and likely the two contracts that might be viewed unfavorably definitely seem moveable. There is no Westbrook/Wall type situation. For all the crap Divac takes (rightfully so) he didn’t sign Demarcus to that 5 year supermax extension that would have kicked in during 2018 and still been on the books for a couple more years. That would have been crippling to this current team.

I see a team that needs improvement, but has pieces and flexibility to be able to do so in the future. Just got to push the right buttons now…which isn’t easy, but not impossible.

Last edited 17 days ago by WizsSox
Otis
February 16, 2021 1:25 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

and all aspects of his game shooting, penetrating, defense, decision making, etc have gradually improved each year.

I mean, I’m willing to listen to the statistical case for this. He’s improved in some areas, but his advanced numbers (and the team’s overall performance when he’s ostensibly the “best player”) don’t tell that tale.

Want-to-be-gm
February 16, 2021 1:54 pm
Reply to  Otis

I’ve been coaching basketball for a couple of decades and before that played 2 years of D1 basketball after transferring from a jr. college. I tend to trust my eyes but if you need numbers to help you out, take a look at the NBA real plus/minus stat where he’s 11th in the entire league. That stat has a good way of exposing the cream of the crop. The top 6 right now is composed of Steph, Lillard, Lebron, Giannis, Harden and the Joker. I wouldn’t run any further with that Fox isn’t any better narrative which you’ve been pitching for too long.

Otis
February 16, 2021 2:08 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

I don’t really mind RPM too much, but right now De’Aaron rates behind Lonzo Ball in RPM. He rates behind Devonté Graham. And he rates behind Patty Mills. Good players all, but there’s a wide gulf between where Fox is currently and guys like “Steph, Lillard, LeBron, Giannis, Harden and the Joker”.

So if that’s your primary point, I’d maybe just stick with trying to impress me with your resume going forward.

Want-to-be-gm
February 16, 2021 2:33 pm
Reply to  Otis

The point which I think you understand that I’ll repeat in case I’m over estimating your intelligence wasn’t to suggest Fox was on par with the top 6 but the statistic itself tends to identify the best players so it has a lot of credibility. Fox ranking 11th says a lot about his overall performance.

Otis
February 16, 2021 3:29 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

You forgot a word, I think.

Fox ranking 11th says a lot about his overall offensive performance.

Want-to-be-gm
February 16, 2021 4:15 pm
Reply to  Otis

He’s also ranked 6th in PER. You can go on finding ways to try make your weak point but I’d doubt you’ll get any takers.

Otis
February 16, 2021 5:03 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

PER? And I’m making weak points?

This team is only slightly better with him on the floor than off (0.4 points per 100 possessions), and the opposition outscores our team by an average of 5 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.

He’s got a ways to go to become an All-Star level player. This is year 4. Most high-end players have started to impact wins and losses at this point in their career.

Otis
February 16, 2021 5:11 pm
Reply to  Otis

And lest anyone be confused on how I feel about Fox, I think the guy is a very good NBA basketball player. Definitely top-75, borderline top-50.

They just need him to be much more than that, if he’s expected to be their best player.

Want-to-be-gm
February 17, 2021 11:27 am
Reply to  Otis

I guess your trying to impress me with your resume which is digging up minutia to prove a ridiculous position you’ve been taking. It’s nothing more than gorilla dust. RPM measures how much a player helps or hurts a team taking on a myriad of factors. This crap your dishing out doesn’t take into account the quality of a players teammates or opponent. Before you laugh at PER which apparently isn’t sophisticated enough for you, take a look who’s on the top 5. I think both RPM and PER are doing a good job confirming what people who actually know something about basketball see with their eyes. Fox is clearly much better than the 50-75 rank you’ve given him. Now run along and dig up some more crap off the internet and claim you know something that no one else does.

RORDOG
February 17, 2021 9:43 am
Reply to  Otis

yeah it’s weird. the advanced stats seem to think that this has been Fox’s best offensive season. They also say that he had a better season, overall, two seasons ago. Weird might be the wrong word for it since it seems like a simple situation in which his DReb%, STL% and BLK% are all the lowest they’ve been since his rookie year. Essentially his defensive decline this season has outweighed any gains he’s made on offense.

RORDOG
February 16, 2021 11:07 am
Reply to  Otis

I think it’s probably more accurate to say “making the playoffs was not a goal heading into this season.”

Regarding Walton, I guess technically most people want to do what they can to ensure that they remain attractive to future employers. I think it’s fair to point out that mention that Walton did bench Bjelly for over a month. That’s not really the type of move you make when you are prioritizing winning over Bagley’s development.

Anways, I’m not necessarily disagreeing with your overall point. I don’t think the goal was to maximize their chances of obtaining a top 3 pick. I also don’t think they tried to put this team in a position to succeed. If I had to guess, they wanted to give themselves time to evaluate things before making any drastic changes.

1951
February 16, 2021 11:09 am
Reply to  RORDOG

 I think it’s fair to point out that mention that Walton did bench Bjelly for over a month. 

I still have many questions about this. Not sure it was a Luke strategy decision due to the smoke about personal stuff and back problems that keeps getting mentioned without explanation.

RORDOG
February 16, 2021 1:58 pm
Reply to  1951

I don’t think teams can come out and say “we benched this guy, so we can maintain his trade value.”

Otis
February 16, 2021 11:16 am
Reply to  RORDOG

Between you and me, we’d see benching Bjelly as a tanking move, but are we sure Walton would? I think the majority of fans probably think Bagley’s the better player, it wouldn’t surprise me if Walton did as well.

Adding, Bagley’s been on a roller coaster in MP most of the season, so it’s not like he’s being prioritized.

Last edited 17 days ago by Otis
Maximus
February 16, 2021 11:18 am
Reply to  Otis

Fox is very different from last year. His shot selection is very different. His offensive contribution is another level beyond.

http://www.espn.com/nba/statistics/rpm/_/sort/ORPM/position/1

http://www.espn.com/nba/statistics/rpm/_/year/2020/sort/ORPM/position/1

HopelesslyHopeful
February 18, 2021 10:28 am
Reply to  Otis

This team wasn’t built to be bad – if they were, McNair would have attempted to fire sale Barnes, would have dealt Buddy for whatever future draft compensation he could get

The point of this article wasn’t that McNair was actively trying to make the team bad, but that he was not trying to improve the team in the present while keeping assets and flexibility to position the team to be good next year.

Holding onto those assets to maximize return is a good strategy to improve the team next year. And moving those guys before the deadline, which a lot of us are hopeful he’ll do, would give the team plenty of time to lose lots of games before the season ends.

Let’s just hope this team can get out of purgatory.

February 16, 2021 9:48 am

i have zero problem losing this year, if that’s the plan. But if we were trying to make the playoffs this year all along, Mcnair’s moves make zero sense.

I believe personally as stated, that the plan was to tank this year. Given that, we did draft a really good player that fell into our laps (can’t fault him for that) and the players still on our roster are all having career years – these three factors contributed to our recent winning streak but are not sustainable long term. We are now showing natural regression and will end up picking in the lottery and (hopefully) going all in on a playoff push next season.

I am ok with all of it

Otis
February 16, 2021 9:51 am
Reply to  dhackett

Problem is, they will have another stretch of good play at some point. This was a bad four games of basketball, but not nearly as abysmal as that bad string earlier this season.

That’s the problem with mediocre (not terrible) teams in the NBA…there are enough stretches of good play that force you to hope for ping pong ball luck in the lottery.

February 16, 2021 10:21 am
Reply to  Otis

true – something I’ve always hated about this team is that they have never been truly horrendous, always just good enough to miss out on the top talent (outside of the horrendous Bagley draft where we got lucky) every damn year

Otis
February 16, 2021 11:00 am
Reply to  dhackett

Yeah, agreed…was rooting for McNair to shoot for “truly horrendous” and clear the roster before the season started, alas.

1951
February 16, 2021 11:06 am
Reply to  Otis

I don’t know. The point differential and other metrics (particularly defensively) suggest that we have over-achieved to date.

Sure, we will win some more games but I don’t see another 7 out of 8 run in this squad.

That said, this roster plus Walton is a recipe for drafting in the 8-13 range, rather than the 1-5 range. Yippie!

Otis
February 16, 2021 11:14 am
Reply to  1951

I think that stretch of abysmal defense actually skewed the expected record a bit too much. And this team also had that 13-7 run last season, so I wouldn’t be so sure they can’t have another hot streak.

But agreed, probably not good enough to avoid the lower third of the lottery.

1951
February 16, 2021 11:23 am
Reply to  Otis

that stretch of abysmal defense 

comment image

Want-to-be-gm
February 16, 2021 12:11 pm
Reply to  Otis

Take a look at what OKC is doing. They have a plethora of young talent, SGA, Dort, Bazely, Maledon, Diallo, Roby, Pukuseski, Williams and they play their veterans just enough to keep their market values from completely tanking. That should be the blueprint for the Kings going forward. It would be nice to know sooner than later if any of these second rounders have any utility. I’d be playing Metu, Guy, James and Woodard more and immediately move Cojo and Bjelica for whatever we can get. I’d also move Whiteside. The goal for this year should be to develop and evaluate our young players, improve our draft position and to create some cap space so we can possibly take on a bad contract for a young piece or future draft pick.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
February 16, 2021 12:48 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

I agree, and I think we will get to that phase sooner rather than later if the Kings continue to play this way. We are going to see all those young guys come post trade deadline.

oshima9
February 16, 2021 2:05 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

Agree.

Chent
February 16, 2021 9:51 am

Trade season needs to see major roster turnover. Forgive me for throwing out asinine trade ideas after a bad weekend showing for the Kings.

Cojo/Bagley for Al Farouq Aminu/Mo bamba

Barnes/Holmes for Saric/Crowder first round pick and future protected 1st that turns into two 2nds.

Bjelica for Romeo Langford.

Not sure where Buddys value is at, but we need a reset so we can all stop having false hope.

Want-to-be-gm
February 16, 2021 2:57 pm
Reply to  Chent

You know I was pitching a trade for Mo Bamba for awhile but I’ve jumped off that train after watching him recently. A 7 foot plus player that can shoot it with range is very intriguing but his reactions are sooo slow and he lacks any kind of physicallity and I don’t think those are things that can be developed away.

GFunkClassic
February 16, 2021 3:24 pm
Reply to  Chent

Magic would take that Cojo Bagley for Aminu/ Bamba trade in a heartbeat. Then they’d all laugh at how dumb the Kings are and enjoy a cigar.

rockbottom
February 16, 2021 4:45 pm
Reply to  GFunkClassic

Bamba is two years away from two years away ! Will never be as good as Alex Len !

AmateurNerd
February 16, 2021 9:54 am

Too Bad to Not Fail

Kosta
February 16, 2021 12:08 pm
Reply to  AmateurNerd

I want to ask Brown if this team is good. or bad.

Last edited 17 days ago by Kosta
AmateurNerd
February 16, 2021 10:00 am

Time to summon unicorns. Bring Woodard and Ramsey back to Sac and give them CoJo’s and GR3’s minutes. In retrospect, the 7-of-8 streak was always a mirage, completed against injury-riddled teams who were themselves in name only.

RORDOG
February 16, 2021 10:09 am
Reply to  AmateurNerd

I don’t know if mirage is the right word for it. They’ll probably win about 40% of their games. Those wins don’t happen in a uniform manner in which they always win 4 out of 10 games.

AmateurNerd
February 16, 2021 10:29 am
Reply to  RORDOG

True. That said, a lot of people here (myself included) got excited that this team had just “woken up” and was going to play consistently competitive basketball and push for a playoff spot. That hope was always unfounded. This is a .400 team in the long run.

SMF-PDXConnection
February 16, 2021 10:04 am

It’s not the wins and losses, it’s how they win and lose.

MyHumbleOpinion
February 16, 2021 10:07 am

I think the team was constructed to minimize expenditures. Bogi was a salary dump. Players signed to minimum contracts. Didn’t use any of the available financial tools to get better players. Didn’t fire the coach because he is under contract and they would have had to pay him as well as a new coach. Not sure about how much the new GM was paid, but I would bet it’s on the low side by league standards. Look at what has happened to the Stockton Kings. The layoffs, etc. Seems to me the ownership is trying to make it through a bad financial time. This season seems to be about saving money, not winning or losing.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
February 16, 2021 10:35 am

This is a solid point. I’m not completely sold on the idea that the Kings didn’t spend to not compete, but they didn’t spend because they couldn’t afford to. There is just as much evidence to this theory as their is to Tim’s piece.

RORDOG
February 16, 2021 11:33 am
Reply to  Adamsite

One thing that doesn’t really fit is there were rumors that there was disagreement over what to do about Bogi. According to Bogi, Vivek and Joe Dumars indicated to Bogi they wanted to keep him. Then there was that whole hullabaloo over disagreement about the decision to match the Atlanta deal. If anything, it appears as though Vivek wanted to spend the money, and McNair preferred to maintain financial flexibility.

RikSmits
February 16, 2021 12:59 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

And that’s the crux here. Maybe this article correctly reflects Monte’s intentions.
But the real question is: what are the intentions of Vivek and Dumars?

CoreyBrewersD
February 16, 2021 11:03 am

I would agree the team wasn’t made to lose, it was made to do the following,

  1. Save money
  2. Escape Vlade’s “plan/mess”
  3. Evaluate the roster pieces.
  4. Create a professional environment.
  5. Add real Assistants and FO staff

The losing is just a product of this, as is the winning, I do think the adds of Whiteside and the retention of Barnes is part of the growth of the backcourt. Can we afford to give them up? IDK it really depends on the return vs the cost to the development of existing “timeline” players.

OK #2 and 5 are supposed to be indented or subs of 1 and 4, upon saving that goes away

Last edited 17 days ago by CoreyBrewersD
SPTSJUNKIE
February 16, 2021 11:16 am
Reply to  CoreyBrewersD

Very well said – I don’t think this team is “designed to lose” though I still understand Tim’s gander point.

I think we need to accept that McNair is not a Hinke clone. He had success in Houston taking their assets and using them efficiently to build over time until they had the assets to get Harden and then CP3.

He was never going to come in here and trade all of our players for future picks and try to win 20 games and hope that we got Cade and he was materially better than Fox.

The good news is he doesn’t appear to be trying to trade future firsts or young players for middling vets to chase the 8th seed either. Or benching our young guys to start and play guys like Bjelica over Bagley.

We are playing games to win them (as teams are supposed to do) and the FO is clearly evaluating our talent and if rumors are to be believed exploring the trade market. They will let us continue to lose at our very natural rate and try to improve the overall talent and value of our asset base.

Maybe doesn’t sound as sexy as trying to win a championship or Crashing for Cade, but it’s also a method a lot of the best teams have used and realistically what McNair appears to be trying to do.

1951
February 16, 2021 11:19 am
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Tim’s gander

Do Giraffe’s keep geese as pets?

Kingsguru21
February 17, 2021 2:53 pm
Reply to  1951

The only pet Tim should be allowed to have is his horrible food takes.

WizsSox
February 16, 2021 12:55 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Yes. There is nothing Monte has done thus far that hasn’t indicated to me that he has a plan and it probably goes along the lines of SptsJunkies take. The full on multi season tank has not been executed very often and the most famous example Sixers seems to have worked. But there was a lot of reason to be skeptical of Embiid after the first few seasons injury wise. Was a monster gamble and it worked out for them…it could easily have not and he could have been Greg Oden. We don’t know what the Thunder will turn out to be with their all out tank job.

There are just way more examples of teams building the way Junkie outlines here and gave numerous examples in the thread from the other day.

J-Fresh
February 17, 2021 2:36 am
Reply to  WizsSox

If Monte is holding off on trades etc, there is probably a reason why. Perhaps this will make more sense by this upcoming off-season?

Either way, Monte has time on his side (this season at least, and hopefully longer than that)

rockbottom
February 16, 2021 4:54 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Actually, Morey had success ! Still do not know if McNair can as the decision maker ! He made zero in Houston ! Wish the best but it’s still a work in progress ! I find it interesting that Vivek has only hired GM’s that have never actually ran a team ! A bit scary !

AmateurNerd
February 17, 2021 10:53 am

Yeah, it may be an Occam’s Razor scenario. A total outsider looking at the Kings’ moves since McNair’s hire would probably conclude the team was trying to spend as little unnecessary money as possible while maximizing the $$ value of its current assets. Hence Bogi’s departure, declining to sell low on Hield and Barnes, declining to sign free agents over the minimum or for multiple years.

February 16, 2021 10:19 am

Optimism is tolerated to consume the reason we are all here…realism which resembles negativity!

I’m here for articles like this.

Marty
February 16, 2021 10:19 am

Watch Fox overuse himself into a serious injury trying to keep their heads above water. Cue the “For who, for what?” video.

Jman1949
February 16, 2021 10:29 am
Reply to  Marty

Yeah, it looked like Fox tweaked his hip again last night at a point in the game when we were already 24+ points behind and showing no signs of making any headway in reducing that deficit. “For who, for what?”

Malrock
February 16, 2021 10:24 am

Kings are top heavy. When the starters can’t play or the rookie gets injured we have no backup players to step in and provide valuable minutes. So anytime you see an injury to a main starter on this squad (with maybe the exception of Bagley) you have to assume it is going to be rough for the Kings.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
February 16, 2021 10:46 am

Man, I really hope Kings brass doesn’t get lured by the false hopes of a 9th or 10th seed play in, because that is about all the Kings could hope for at this point. I almost feel like the NBA created this new system for the sole purpose to prevent tanking. It provides more competitive games as the season winds down, but really just strings along teams stuck in late lottery purgatory.

And before anyone asks, NO, I do not consider making the play in games to be the playoffs. Should they even by some miracle move from 10th to 8th, It’s still a farce for us fans.

anan1234
February 16, 2021 10:47 am

When we have Fox/Hield/Barnes/Bagley/ Holmes starting and Haliburton running the second unit this team is watchable. If any one of these guys are injured for a game it throws off the rotations and the level of execution gets bad.

Ccc
February 16, 2021 10:54 am

Bogdan’s 10 points and 4 rebounds per game does not make the kings a winning team, if he weren’t injured.

No moves would have made this a winning season with current players available. It will take time, and if there’s no progress in 3 years we can start all over again like we usually do.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
February 16, 2021 10:59 am
Reply to  Ccc

The thing is the Kings have never started over. The moves they tend to make (well, Pete and Vlade’s moves) were shortsighted and only intended to “win now.” Giving contracts to players like Rondo, George Hill, Z-Bo, etc were never about the long term investment. They were false scaffolds to prop up bad teams in hopes of lucking into the 8th seed.

richie88
February 16, 2021 12:26 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

So far, it doesn’t look like short-sighted contracts are part of Monte’s philosophy.

RikSmits
February 16, 2021 1:03 pm
Reply to  richie88

Other than his proclaimed interest in cap flexibility, can we really tell what Monte’s philosophy actually is?

Marty
February 16, 2021 1:05 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

IMHO the trade deadline *should* reveal if he’s on an eight seed cycle, one year rebuild, or two year rebuild.

Last edited 17 days ago by Marty
RikSmits
February 16, 2021 1:12 pm
Reply to  Marty

Agreed. We simply don’t know yet. Nor do we know how much room he gets from Vivek, either financially or by meddling.

Otis
February 16, 2021 1:22 pm
Reply to  Marty

For sure, Marty.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
February 16, 2021 1:27 pm
Reply to  Marty

Yup.

rockbottom
February 16, 2021 4:58 pm
Reply to  Marty

Do not forget Vivek !

AmateurNerd
February 17, 2021 10:55 am
Reply to  Marty

“Eight seed cycle” should be the title of Volume 1 of the book on Vivek’s tenure here.

SneakerKing
February 16, 2021 11:00 am

The Fade for Cade must begin at some point. Why not now?

BestHyperboleEver
February 16, 2021 11:47 am
Reply to  SneakerKing

Ughs for Suggs? Play ignobly for Mobley? Drop a sinka for Kuminga? Careen for Green?

RobHessing
February 16, 2021 11:49 am

Bailin’ for Jalen.

Kosta
February 16, 2021 11:50 am
Reply to  RobHessing

CRUSADE FOR CADEcomment image

1951
February 16, 2021 12:00 pm
Reply to  SneakerKing

This is the Kings though, so it should be:

Riding the Fence for Franz.

Okaying for Keon.

Occasional win spurt for Kispert.

Albatross coaching for Alperen.

Kosta
February 16, 2021 12:35 pm
Reply to  1951

I puka when I hear “Luka”

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
February 16, 2021 3:08 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Do you puka in the Bagley?

jlandweh
February 16, 2021 11:25 am

They aren’t good…which is ok. We have seen some great glimpses…and some awful checks to reality. It is very clear the only untouchable assets on this roster is De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and our 1st round pick this year. Other than that-every asset is on the trading block for the right price.

Here are some trades that might work…

Barnes to Boston for Nesmith/Langford and a protected first

Hield to Philly for Kurkmaz/young player and a protected first

Bagley to New Orleans for Lonzo Ball and a 2nd (really just a swap and new situation for 2 kids)…depends on how McNair sees Bagley

Whiteside to anyone that needs a big for a G-League flier…or keep

Bjelica and Joseph could be buy out guys, flipped in other deals, or kept.

Get some playing time for Kyle Guy, Daequan Jefferies, Justin James, Woodard, and maybe even Ramsey…etc.

Top 5 pick on either Mobley or a wing like Kuminga-fingers crossed for Cunningham though.

NickS
February 16, 2021 11:56 am
Reply to  jlandweh

I don’t think we’d get 1st round picks for Buddy or Barnes – just my two cents!