Articles | Commentary | Orlando

The Sacramento Kings will reportedly push the pace in Orlando

The Kings haven't been a particularly fast team under Luke Walton, but that will change in the Orlando Bubble.

Despite employing one of the fastest lead guards in the NBA in De'Aaron Fox, Luke Walton's Sacramento Kings have played notably slow throughout the first 64 games of the 2019-20 season. According to NBA.com, the Kings rank 23rd in the NBA in pace (an estimate of possessions per 48 minutes) at just 99.08.

This is particularly interesting because part of Vlade Divac's reasoning for replacing Dave Joerger with Luke Walton after one of the most successful seasons in recent Kings history was that Walton would better utilize Sacramento's players, and take Divac's team to the next level. To this point, that decision has felt more like a lateral move at best, and a step-back at worst.

Dave Joerger's 2018-19 Sacramento Kings finished the season 5th in the league in pace at 103.1. Speed or pace-of-play isn't everything, but when you have a dynamic speedy point guard like De'Aaron Fox and have consistently drafted in a way that would optimize his speed (like pairing him up with another mega athlete in Marvin Bagley) any sort of regression in pace is worrisome, and there has certainly been pace regression under Walton.

In Walton's defense, the drop-off, while real, hasn't been quite as bad as the numbers or narrative might suggest. When De'Aaron Fox is on the court, the Kings' pace jumps to 102.07 according to NBA.com, which is pretty close to where the Kings ranked last season under Joerger. Considering Fox missed so much time this season, some pace regression can be attributed to that loss, but losing Fox for a significant stretch doesn't make up for the clear philosophical difference between Walton and Joerger.

Fox is a fast player. He will chart well on any pace metric regardless of his coaching staff. The big difference is that Joerger gave his team that identity, where Walton opted to slow things down in an effort to try and fix the halfcourt offense. To Walton's credit, the Kings have improved in that area, but it's not that simple. Walton had the luxury of utilizing a much more complete and talented roster. Replacing Willie Cauley-Stein with Richaun Holmes, for example, has been one of several dramatic improvements.

The good news is that according to The Sacramento Bee's Jason Anderson, Walton is changing his philosophy in Orlando.

Multiple sources have confirmed the Kings intend to push the pace with Fox. The Kings got away from one of their greatest strengths over the first half of the season as Walton implemented his offense and Fox missed extended time with an ankle injury, but they want to play fast in Florida.

There is some reason for optimism. Before De'Aaron Fox permanently returned to the Kings' lineup after recovering from a grade 3 ankle sprain on December 17th, the Kings ranked 30th in the league in pace at 97.47.

From Fox's return on December 17th through the NBA's announcement to suspend the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kings ranked 15th in the NBA in pace at 100.18.

If you want to break the numbers down even further, in the last ten games the Kings played before the league went on hiatus, Sacramento ranked 13th in the NBA in pace at 101.35. They went 7-3 over the course of those ten games.

The Kings were trending in the right direction before the NBA suspended play, and that puts a little more weight behind Walton's reported desire to push the pace even further when the NBA returns in Orlando on July 30.

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Marty
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July 13, 2020 8:44 am

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1951
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July 13, 2020 8:52 am

I wonder how they cracked this strategic puzzle! Brilliant!
 
They should give a nice fat contract to whoever came up with this idea! 😉
 
 comment image

Jman1949
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July 13, 2020 9:32 am
Reply to  1951

Luke finally watched the tape!
 
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Hozr
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July 13, 2020 1:43 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

Yeah, he had it on FF and thought “I wonder if we could play that fast”.

dhackett
Dave Hackett
July 15, 2020 3:45 am
Reply to  Jman1949

He (literally) had nothing else to do

BuffaloDiaspora
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July 13, 2020 9:18 am

Are there pace splits for Fox vs. Joseph vs. Yogi vs. Point-Bogi? By the eye test, they seem to play fairly fast with Fox and Yogi at PG while things just grind to a halt when CoJo is in (and particularly when he is the primary ball handler).
 
And for as much (well deserved) shit that we gave WCS for his rim protection he was also maybe the fastest big man in the league and was able to create a lot of fast break opportunities off the inbound which certainly helped the pace numbers under DJ. That’s not really going to be replicated with Holmes or anyone else on this roster at the 5.

RobHessing
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July 13, 2020 9:37 am

64 games and a four month layoff later, the Kings determine that perhaps the style of play that benefited the team (and roster) a year prior just might work with this bunch. Too bad no one had this thought when Dedmon was still here, since this style of play seemed to suit his game rather well. Oh well. It’s July and the Kings are still playing, so I guess the organization must be doing something right.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
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Nostradumbass 18
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July 13, 2020 9:46 am
Reply to  RobHessing

“You’re telling me I got fired for doing the thing that actually worked?”
 comment image?itok=T7J4t2zZ

ZillersCat
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July 13, 2020 9:56 am
Reply to  Klam

I feel the need for speed ..
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RobHessing
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July 13, 2020 9:59 am
Reply to  ZillersCat

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ZillersCat
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July 13, 2020 10:29 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Be Quick but Don’t Hurry .. ah come on … pick it up!
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Kingsguru21
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July 13, 2020 11:10 am
Reply to  RobHessing

ARE YOU A RACE CAR?!?!?!?!?
ARE YOU A RACE CAR ?!?!?!?!?!
 
No……
 
 
THEN STOP TRYING TO DRIVE LIKE ONE. YOU’RE A GODDAMN SNAIL!!! DRIVE LIKE IT!!
 
There’s your pointless non sequitur of the day….

Hozr
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July 13, 2020 1:44 pm
Reply to  Klam

I’m disin-Kleined to believe that that surprises you.

RikSmits
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July 13, 2020 9:48 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Before you can run, you have to drag your feet, stumble and fall flat on your face too.

~ Luke Walton, probably

CoreyBrewersD
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July 13, 2020 4:27 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Wise words from a wise man.

cbrody
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July 13, 2020 10:06 am
Reply to  RobHessing

I’m sure this insight will be short-lived. I give it 4 possessions before Fox is standing on the wing and Buddy is slow walking the ball up the court. It will be part of the position-less basketball thing we got going. Add a couple more cliques to bounce back and forth between and we’ll be cooking with grease!

ForKingsandCountry
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July 13, 2020 7:51 pm
Reply to  cbrody

Sadly I think you’re probably right.

Kosta
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July 13, 2020 9:43 am

Orlando Pace agrees with this strategy.
 comment image

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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Nostradumbass 18
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July 13, 2020 9:45 am
Reply to  Kosta

comment image

Last edited 2 years ago by Klam
Hozr
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July 13, 2020 1:46 pm
Reply to  Klam

Is this a foreshadowing that we’re getting Sauce Castillo back?

ZillersCat
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July 13, 2020 9:53 am
Reply to  Kosta

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mdeedublu
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July 13, 2020 10:03 am

This might actually give the Kings a small advantage over some of these more veteran teams who won’t have a full camp to get physically prepared. The young guys on this team may be able to hit the ground running.

BestHyperboleEver
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July 13, 2020 10:34 am
Reply to  mdeedublu

Sadly, the two teams the Kings are likely really competing with for the 8th seed are both even younger.
 
If anyone is interested, the Kings rotation was 15th youngest in the NBA this year. They have the 7th youngest rotation in The Bubble.

1951
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July 13, 2020 11:25 am

Wait, do folks still opine that the Kings are a young team?
 

BestHyperboleEver
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July 13, 2020 11:41 am
Reply to  1951

I don’t think so. I think that idea has been roundly dispelled by now.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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July 13, 2020 10:05 am

And there’s another one:
 

RobHessing
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July 13, 2020 10:09 am
Reply to  Klam

Yeah, about trying to start the league back up right now…comment image

Timmy_13
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July 13, 2020 10:31 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Disney World — closes with 3k confirmed cases
Also Disney World — Open with 3M confirmed cases.
 
Big Brain Time

RikSmits
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July 13, 2020 10:12 am
Reply to  Klam

Damn. Get well soon, Russ.
 

Last edited 2 years ago by RikSmits
ZillersCat
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July 13, 2020 10:18 am

Well do basketball in a bubble .. Yeah that’d be great!
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RORDOG
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July 13, 2020 11:06 am
Reply to  ZillersCat

To be fair, he was tested outside of the bubble, which prevented him from entering the bubble. This is an example of the bubble system working as planned.
 
Also has anyone reported on testing results inside the bubble yet? One would hope that they’d be as transparent as they can be about the daily positivity rate for the folks in the bubble.

BestHyperboleEver
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July 13, 2020 11:13 am
Reply to  RORDOG

Didn’t a few teams suddenly cancel workouts in recent days without giving much reason? I agree that you would think they’d be pretty transparent since having a bubble outbreak doesn’t serve anyone.

RORDOG
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July 13, 2020 11:43 am

I think Jason Anderson just jumped to conclusions on that. He quote tweeted his own tweet afterward, and said the teams actually had scheduled days off. To my knowledge, there haven’t been any reports of positive cases within the bubble.

1951
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July 13, 2020 2:03 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

You ask:
 

 
Two so far tested positive INSIDE the bubble.
 
Drip, drip, drip …

RORDOG
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July 13, 2020 2:46 pm
Reply to  1951

I wish they would provide a little more detail. Did they test positive while in the initial 48-hour quarantine? Were they on the same team? Are they doing contact tracing that includes Disney staff that came in contact with the players?
 
From a bubble integrity perspective, I assume the NBA is cautiously optimistic about the initial results (unless these two weren’t identified until recently). That’s a manageable number, and not all that surprising based on the positivity rate from the TBT in Chicago.

CoreyBrewersD
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July 13, 2020 4:32 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

“2 have returned positive tests while in quarantine”
I am not sure that there is any other quarantine they would be in except the initial quarantine??

RORDOG
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July 13, 2020 5:53 pm
Reply to  CoreyBrewersD

Lol reading is hard! So teams have been there for about a week, and there hasn’t been any instances in which a player contracted the virus in the bubble yet.

Timmy_13
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July 13, 2020 10:29 am

I love you guys here. Honestly, so much talent covering such a shit franchise. Not just the writers but also the posters making every little bit of humor out of the trash that is the Kings. Every single day I try to be optimistic about the Kings, but every single day I’ve been proven wrong.
 
Social Justice notwithstanding, it’s like they’re trying to test the resolve of every Kings fan. 80% of the news that come out about the Kings were already discussed and dissected by the excellent people over here — even pre-KH. It’s like management is living in a goddamn bubble pre-COVID-19. It’s Insane. They fired Joerger so we can take a step back with Walton and then apply his strategy after 2/3 of the season. LOL. I just can’t man.
 
The funniest part about this whole ordeal is that Dedmon would’ve fit well with that sort of style. Don’t quote me on that.
 
Edit: Formatting

Last edited 2 years ago by Timmy_13
BestHyperboleEver
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July 13, 2020 10:36 am
Reply to  Timmy_13

Yeah, the concept of Dedmon being a good fit was based on two basic preconceptions:
 

  1. That the Kings would be playing fast.
  2. That Bagley would be, well, present.

 
Neither of which came to pass.

Last edited 2 years ago by BestHyperboleEver
Timmy_13
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July 13, 2020 10:49 am

Yeap. I already learned that expecting the Kings to have a “good” transaction is like expecting me to have a Ferrari. It is achievable but highly unlikely.
 
Last two years we’ve been ‘gifted’ with incredible luck despite management doing their best to stay irrelevant. Luka draft. Fox falling and actually developing well.

RobHessing
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July 13, 2020 11:17 am

It’s almost as if the front office and coaching staff weren’t on the same page…

Timmy_13
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July 13, 2020 11:19 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Well, to be fair, Walton didn’t have a (play)book.

richie88
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July 13, 2020 6:10 pm
Reply to  Timmy_13

However, he borrowed Igor’s playbook.

Carl
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July 13, 2020 1:31 pm

That Bagley would be, well, present.

 Neither of which came to pass.

I can say confidently that Bagley did not pass.
 
comment image

Last edited 2 years ago by Carl
Kosta
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July 13, 2020 2:10 pm
Reply to  Carl

10 years from now:
 
Doctor: “Marvin, you’ll experience some pain passing a kidney stone.”
 
Bagley (tears in eyes): “You had me at ‘passing'”.
 
 

Last edited 2 years ago by Kosta
Hozr
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July 13, 2020 1:49 pm

And 3. Fox would be healthy

RikSmits
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July 13, 2020 10:50 am
Reply to  Timmy_13

The funniest part about this whole ordeal is that Dedmon would’ve fit well with that sort of style.

Don’t quote me on that.

Don’t tell me what to do!
 
I agree, btw. You can quote me on that.

Timmy_13
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July 13, 2020 11:07 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Don’t tell me what to do!

You have finally grasped what it means to be American!
*Freedom Intensifies*
 
Quoted! Stay safe Rik!

RikSmits
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July 13, 2020 11:23 am
Reply to  Timmy_13

Thanks. You too!//:0

83B0EFDE-F766-4988-A15F-99625715BC21.jpeg
Timmy_13
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July 13, 2020 11:43 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Lol yea I saw this. Embarrassing and fitting at the same time.

Kosta
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July 13, 2020 1:22 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Finally watched Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga last night. Will Ferrell’s character yells at American tourists, “…Why don’t you go to a Starbucks or something!”
 
One of the American tourists turns around and says “Oh–where is it?”
 
 comment image
 

Last edited 2 years ago by Kosta
Timmy_13
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July 13, 2020 4:27 pm
Reply to  Kosta

I have to watch this.

Marty
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July 14, 2020 1:12 am
Reply to  Timmy_13

Thumbs up for bringing your profile pic with you across the void.

RORDOG
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July 13, 2020 10:37 am

There’s all sorts of variables, and unknowns (known and unknown), but I find it pretty humorous that the Kings scored 1.096 points per offensive possession last season, and 1.09 points per offensive possession this season. They allowed opposing teams to score exactly 1.108 points per possession in both seasons. Imagine if in your own job you had the power to change your company’s entire identity, and the company basically performed at about the same level (below average) a year into the process.

BestHyperboleEver
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July 13, 2020 10:52 am
Reply to  RORDOG

“You can’t really judge a coach until their 3rd season.” – probably somebody.
 
In the big picture, Walton took over a team with a theoretically deeper roster with its key players pre-or-mid prime, and made it, to be generous, equally mediocre.

RikSmits
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July 13, 2020 10:52 am
Reply to  RORDOG

With more time to mesh, your key young players a year being more experienced and new reinforcements brought in…

Timmy_13
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July 13, 2020 11:07 am
Reply to  RORDOG

It’s like they regressed and they got better at the same time.

Kingsguru21
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July 13, 2020 11:29 am
Reply to  RORDOG

Pretty clear why Joerger isn’t here. He didn’t play the behind the scenes politics necessary to survive in Kingsland.
 
If the powers that be prioritized process over results (and credit for that matter), things would go alot better.

bjax1
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July 13, 2020 11:39 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Anybody hear anything about who the 4th unnamed King who didn’t get to bubble yet is? I have heard concerning tidbits that Harrison Barnes has not been seen in team videos, and the Kings did have to close their facility last week because “someone” tested positive. We are already down Len, but if Barnes can’t play that definitely hurts the Kings changes. Fingers crossed.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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July 13, 2020 11:57 am
Reply to  bjax1

I’m not even sure the 4th person is a player. Didn’t Walton just say there were 4 members of the 35 person crew scheduled to go to Orlando?

Kingsguru21
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July 13, 2020 12:11 pm
Reply to  bjax1

At this point, I’ll assume a player is available when I see him on the court playing when it matters. I have very low expectations for Orlando.

Carl
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July 13, 2020 1:34 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I have very low expectations for Orlando.

Kingsguru21
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July 13, 2020 3:02 pm
Reply to  Carl

I usually have high expectations for potatoes but fair point.

BuffaloDiaspora
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July 13, 2020 12:17 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Joerger is gone because the players didn’t like playing for him. Period, end of story. There’s really no mystery when a reasonably successful coach gets fired and not a single player talks about how much they enjoyed playing for him or even wishes him well in future endeavors.
 
If a coach is winning 60 games per year and the players hate him, maybe you keep the coach. If he wins 37 games and the players hate him then the coach goes.

Otis
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July 13, 2020 12:27 pm

If a coach is winning 60 games per year and the players hate him, maybe you keep the coach. If he wins 37 games and the players hate him then the coach goes.

Eh, sticking to these types of theories is a losing philosophy, if you don’t consider context (namely, that they improved a shit-ton last season, even though they won “only” 39 games.)
 
If I were running a front office, the players better be pretty damn good to force me to fire a successful coach. These guys ain’t that.
 
And let’s be really super honest here, Vlade was simply pining for Walton and was looking for a reason to move Joerger out.

ZillersCat
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July 13, 2020 12:43 pm
Reply to  Otis

If successful coaches alway stay, then Adelman would still be here? Joeger was suppose to have success with young players. Walton was suppose to be a players coach. The fit with a team chemistry is important. I’ve not heard much from the players, that they can’t play for Walton?

CoreyBrewersD
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July 13, 2020 4:41 pm
Reply to  Otis

I said I wanted Luka…. Not Luke…. Damn Tracphone!
Whats that you say? His dad is big…OK we make work
 

Said Vlade

Kingsguru21
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July 13, 2020 12:40 pm

What were players supposed to say about Joerger? That seems specious at best to argue. If you’re Fox, and you know your shot to get paid is in Sac, are you going to say nice things publicly about Joerger? Probably not.
 
The organization wanted him gone. Period. The ‘players’ was the window dressing the org tried to sell the decision on to the public. Not much more to it than that best I can tell.
 
 

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July 13, 2020 1:50 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Well said.

BestHyperboleEver
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July 13, 2020 12:50 pm

I’m no Joerger fan, but firing the coach is often just the easy way out. We also have to consider that the players may not have loved playing for Joerger because he had high expectations that they weren’t living up to and he wasn’t shy about saying it. Joerger definitely has himself to blame. But probably mostly for not coddling egos enough. It wouldn’t be the first time in the current FO’s history that a coach was fired for not playing the PR game well.

ZillersCat
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July 13, 2020 12:57 pm

If the Head Coach is fighting with the Assistant GM, that isn’t good. How much it effected the organization, I don’t know. I do see that they are both gone. So perhaps that was the required step to move forward.
 

Last edited 2 years ago by ZillersCat
RikSmits
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July 13, 2020 1:52 pm
Reply to  ZillersCat

But the GM who allowed that infighting to happen and fester got an extension and his guy as the coach. Aren’t we lucky?

AmphibiousHandle
July 13, 2020 3:15 pm

The only Joerger-player friction I remember reading about last year was with Hield, and Hield’s been a lot more vocal publicly with his displeasure with Walton this year than he was last year with Joerger.

Jman1949
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July 13, 2020 3:41 pm

Last year Buddy was definitely €œnot throwing away his shot…€
 
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Gregoryl
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July 13, 2020 1:06 pm

Thread Jack: We had a Kings Pass last year. Has anyone heard from the Kings abt refunds, credits, etc. for unplayed games?

CoreyBrewersD
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July 13, 2020 4:44 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

Got mine already season tix though. Think you had to opt in or out or something at the end of MAY we got an email. Good luck

ForKingsandCountry
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July 13, 2020 1:21 pm

Well the good news is, that as long as we have a pandemic every year, Luke Walton will have enough time to watch the tape!

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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July 13, 2020 1:32 pm

Otis
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July 13, 2020 1:36 pm
Reply to  Klam

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RORDOG
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July 13, 2020 1:47 pm
Reply to  Klam

lol we need more info on this. What restaurant did he order from? How did they figure out he crossed the line? How did he accrue 2 days of quarantine time if he didn’t actually maintain a proper quarantine?

cbrody
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July 13, 2020 2:00 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Is it any surprise that we are have the dumbest Covid related incidents in the league? Buddy playing in the Skinz league during a pandemic (not sure that is where he caught it, but still not a good look). Parker out playing tennis instead of staying in quarantine and now Holmes leaving the bubble for food. Bang up job fellas.

Hozr
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July 13, 2020 6:20 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Cabocolo crossed the qurantine line as well and got sent to COVID jail (do not pass GO, do not collect…). I wonder if the special watch they have to wear has a GPS so they can track their location.

RikSmits
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July 13, 2020 1:53 pm
Reply to  Klam

There are certain lines you shouldn’t cross.

Kosta
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July 13, 2020 2:20 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

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Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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July 13, 2020 1:54 pm

And more:
 

RikSmits
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July 13, 2020 2:02 pm
Reply to  Klam

Nooooo!!! Don’t burst my bubble!

bjax1
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July 13, 2020 2:02 pm
Reply to  Klam

What do wanna bet, the Kings have at least one of the two?

bjax1
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July 13, 2020 2:04 pm
Reply to  bjax1

Seriously though 8 more days puts Holmes a little over one week with the team before games start. Welcome to Marvin Bagley, your new starting Center?

bjax1
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July 13, 2020 2:05 pm
Reply to  bjax1

Already Len is a big ? Possibly no Harrison Barnes (rumors I know). I’m not getting good vibes about the Kings chances.

dhackett
Dave Hackett
July 15, 2020 3:43 am

Now that luke slowed everything down and established the defense, we can speed things up and have our maestro coordinate an offensive juggernaut.
 
wait I’m having deja vu…

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