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The seemingly endless tale of the Sacramento Kangz

The more things change, the more the Kings stay the Kangz.

For more than a quarter century, the Sacramento Kings have served as a rallying cry for everyone across the valley who drape themselves in purple. The fans are faithful, they are passionate, they know the game. They also have become accustomed to heartbreak.

That isn’t unusual in sports. If you follow any franchise closely there are going to be big disappointments.

It comes with the territory.

The Kings, however, come equipped with a rinse and repeat nature of the cycle. The highs happen so infrequently, and for more than a decade those highs even come in low-stake situations.

We are now 20 years removed from the time when the best team in franchise history began taking shape, and since 2007, it’s been a vicious cycle of false hope, missed draft picks, a lack of basketball IQ and a number of “meaningful games” that you can count on one hand. (And a few of those were meaningful only because they were attempts by the fans to show the league that they cared too much to let the team leave town.)

The Kings lost a high-stakes game Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs. With eight games to try to position themselves to make the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, the Spurs, with a depleted roster and a future hall-of-fame coach, put on a clinic in the fourth quarter on their way to a 129-120 victory.

Following the game there were many quotes. If the Kings were a band, the quotes could have been from their Greatest Hits album.

"We put a lot on him." - The coach on the star player

"We have to be able to help him." – A player about the star player who regularly shoulders the scoring load

"You look at the non-box out on the free throw line like those are the ones that as we continue to get better as a team, those are the ones we have to take out altogether. There’re little things that happened like that all throughout the game." – The little things are consistently missed.

"We have to be ready and play better, especially on defense.” – Defense, oh where have you been for all these years?

"We have to start better." – Where have I heard this before?

"We knew they were going to play small at some point, especially the Spurs, they have a lot of good shooters. They changed the game a little bit, they were driving and kicking it. I’m not going to say we weren’t ready for that, but we didn’t execute it." – Not executing the game plan, that’s my jam!

"I’m not going to say we weren’t ready for that, but we didn’t execute it." – Yep

"DeMar was one of our keys to the game and he did a heck of a job in the second half. We knew he was coming, but we weren't able to stop him." – This could be a great chorus

"And then that the fourth quarter they just executed down the stretch better than we did.” – Another classic

"We fought back, but at the end of the day, in the fourth quarter with three or four minutes left, it’s a tied ball game, we have to be able to execute down the stretch." – The hits keep coming

“We just have to want it more." – It’s very true, but also something we have been hearing for years.

"I think we have to be more locked in defensively." – Another!

This isn’t meant to take anything away from De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic – they showed up during the game and after to stand and take questions about the loss. They did what they could to try to get the Kings a victory Friday. They also haven’t been in Sacramento all these years of despair so this isn’t even about them. They want the playoffs for the fans as much as the fans want the playoffs. And this isn’t even really about this individual game. It’s more of a question about why the postgame comments reminded me of how it’s been the same things coming out of the locker room for years – not executing the game plan, no defense, putting too much on the star player, slow starts, breakdowns down the stretch.

The players and coaching staff always seem to identify the problems, but no one is ever able to solve them with any sort of consistency.

Here’s to hoping this changes starting Sunday. The odds aren’t in our favor, and even if things don’t change, the fans will still be there.

They will be there yearning for a quick, first-round exit.

They will be there living the cycle that is Kangz.

It’s all we seem to know anymore.

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Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
August 2, 2020 11:28 am

Nothing changes until the higher ups are no longer in charge.

Sign, release, trade, draft all the different players you want, hire and fire all the coaches you want, it’s rearranging deck chairs. Ideally I wish we had a different owner, but given that will probably never happen, at the very least, an actual GM hire needs to happen or else we will continue to be stuck in no-man’s land as long as Vlade’s in charge.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
August 2, 2020 11:43 am
Reply to  Klam

Yup, 2 GMs and 5 coaches into 7 seasons under Vivek. Does any other NBA team have the kind of mismanaged leadership?

RikSmits
August 2, 2020 12:09 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

#HereWeBillboard

Kosta
August 2, 2020 1:48 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Here, Here!

anan1234
August 2, 2020 12:09 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Yeah the 5 coaches one is particularly embarrassing. We found a good one early in Malone and it still baffles me how they fired him.

RikSmits
August 2, 2020 12:25 pm
Reply to  anan1234

I am not a great fan of Joerger, but Luke does not seem to be an improvement in any shape or form.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
August 2, 2020 12:58 pm
Reply to  anan1234

It still baffles me how they hired Walton with zero other coaches interviewed. When is that ever acceptable? You’d think that a successful business man in Vivek would recognize that kind of ineptitude.

I’ll also add that I don’t think the Kings fired Joerger because they weren’t happy with him, I think they fired him specifically so they could hire Walton. That kind of tunnel vision is inexcusable.

Last edited 1 year ago by Adamsite
Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
August 2, 2020 1:16 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

They literally downgraded with the firing/hiring. Luke’s main resume for the Kings was he was Vlade’s friend and that’s pretty much it. I would bet the over that there were no other teams looking for a new coach that would hire Walton.

NextTimeGadget
August 2, 2020 1:35 pm
Reply to  Klam

It’s the same nonsense that led us from Mike Malone to Ty Corbin. F’ing cronyism

ArcoThunder
August 3, 2020 1:22 am
Reply to  anan1234

I nearly forgot about this one. These are the types of things that kill me as a fan.

firing Malone when all logic points the opposite direction. “Trading” Isiah Thomas who’s arguably your best player and fan favorite for nothing when all logic points in the opposite direction. Passing up on Luca when all logic tells you it’s the most obvious and easy pick for your particular franchise to make. Choosing to not pick up Giles option when all logic points directly at KEEP THIS GUY.

what’s next?

if we could just stop shooting ourselves in the foot we’d be soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much better.

How do you pick Giles, spend millions of dollars and tons of effort trying to get him healthy and then you get him healthy, he shows potential, the fans love him and you don’t pick up his reasonable option? Explain that?

you invested in him. Your investment took time. Your investment paid off. You bragged about this investment for 3 years straight. The logical thing to do would be to reward yourself for that investment when it finally starts to pay off. Nope. Instead we throw it away and hope no one notices. It’s a fucking joke. If I were another GM, Giles would be my top priority this off season. As an opposing GM he’s an incredible risk reward investment pick up. If you sign him and he sucks so what. If you sign him and he plays as an average back up big, it was a solid pick up. If you sign him and he’s anything more than that you just put yourself in the running for GM of the year.

Bbmuteman
August 2, 2020 2:45 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I hate to compare ourselves to the knicks and bulls, but they’ve had terrible front offices too.

Jman1949
August 2, 2020 11:30 am

Meanwhile Igor has left the team a bit early:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Sacramento Kings assistant coach Igor Kokoskov departed Orlando to begin his next chapter as the new head coach of the EuroLeague’s Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul.</p>&mdash; Sean Cunningham (@SeanCunningham) <a href=”https://twitter.com/SeanCunningham/status/1289705122319093760?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>August 1, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

And he seems happy about it:

comment image

Jman1949
August 2, 2020 11:32 am
Reply to  Jman1949

I still haven’t figured out how to post a tweet!

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
August 2, 2020 11:34 am
Reply to  Jman1949

Try just copying the link to the tweet instead of embedding it.

Jman1949
August 2, 2020 11:40 am
Reply to  Klam

Thanks, I’ll try that next time…for sure.

comment image

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
August 2, 2020 11:50 am
Reply to  Jman1949

I know that was a planned departure at some point since he accepted the job, but why did he even enter the bubble if only to leave after the first game? Is this all on the up and up?

Kosta
August 2, 2020 1:51 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Maybe he entered the bubble because of the short lines for the rides at Disney World?

KevinSalvadori
August 2, 2020 1:36 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

As I said on Twitter the other night, Luke played most of his career with two generational talents. He then was assistant, and briefly interim coach, on a team with another generational talent. Then he went to LA and was gifted another generational talent, being fired after he couldn’t find success with him. If Luke couldn’t be a winning coach with LeBron, what in the hell chance do we have?

Walton was never a great pick. It was always about his relationship with Vlade. And the fact he got the job without any other candidates being interviewed suggests Vlade went by hunch, and that says all we need to know about his capabilities.

Kosta
August 2, 2020 1:55 pm
Reply to  KevinSalvadori

Vlade is all about the hunches. This one was a gut-punch:

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
August 2, 2020 2:00 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Hunchbacked?
comment image

Hozr
August 2, 2020 3:02 pm
Reply to  Klam

I think it was a gut hunch for sure.

oshima9
August 2, 2020 11:43 am

Players keep making the same mistakes and displaying the same lack of mental focus. Coaches keep misusing players and making the same errors during games. I think we have seen a large enough sample size to know that their room for improvement is slight.

Kingsguru21
August 2, 2020 11:49 am

Great article Blake.

1951
August 2, 2020 11:59 am

Same as it ever was.
 
https://images.app.goo.gl/HPu1YiMTt6YRYxR98
 
(at least we get a dancing gif!)
 

RORDOG
August 2, 2020 12:48 pm

Love this article Blake. It really captures the a lot of the feelings I’ve had since Friday. One thing I would add is the confident incompetence of the people involved with org adds an extra layer of frustration. It’s almost gaslighting in a way how the organization makes you feel like like you’re the crazy one for seeing the sky is blue. It’s a level of arrogance that just adds insult to injury.

Kosta
August 2, 2020 1:58 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Are you referring to dismissive little chaps?

KevinSalvadori
August 2, 2020 1:24 pm

Great article. I don’t want to pile on, but I was thinking of this the other day and it almost made me gag.

Kings took Thomas Robinson. Passed up Lillard.
Kings took Jimmer. Passed on Kawhi.
Kings took BMac. Passed on Giannis.
Kings took Bagley. Passed on Luka.

4 big misses. 4 moves that would have remade our franchise. I am so sick of seeing these guys on ads, knowing that there were off ramps for the Kings to avoid eternity in suckitude. But here we are. And the captain of our ship, at present, is utterly hopeless.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
August 2, 2020 1:50 pm
Reply to  KevinSalvadori

I posted a long time ago that the Kings are one of only 2 teams in the NBA to have an opportunity to draft two recent MVPs. Minnesota is the other on who took Flynn of Curry and Trey Burke over Giannis. Now if Lillard or Luka ever win an MVP (one could argue both are MVP caliber players) the Kings will be the only team in the NBA to have had opportunity to draft 1 of a possible 3 recent MVPs in the NBA.

Also, the Kings are the only NBA team that had a chance to drat all 4 of those players you listed, yet missed on each one. That list gets even worse when you add names like Bam Abedayo, Donovan Mitchell, Paskal Siakham, Sabonis, Myles Turner, and Devin Booker. Those las few players alone were all in the Vlade era.

Last edited 1 year ago by Adamsite
Wonderchild
August 3, 2020 1:17 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

The entire Kings scouting department should have either been fired or quit the day after the 2018 Draft. Either fired for thinking Bagley was better than Doncic, or quit because Vlade didn’t listen to them.

CurmudgeonKoala
August 2, 2020 3:13 pm

You nailed our collective frustrations, Blake. We fans get upset when the team isn’t acknowledged or downplayed by the national media, but it’s unfortunately deserved. The Kings have been in the Sacramento bubble for so long, and hold themselves in Sacramento standards vs NBA standards. We make hirings or signings that make sense in the Sacramento bubble and living in the past, but not in the current NBA standards.

The team hired Vlade because he’s a Kings legend, and added on Peja because of the same. Their reason for doing so is to “finish what they’ve started.” Which is great in a Kings lens, but a completely nonsensical reason for NBA standards hiring people who have had zero experience in an NBA front office.

We added Walton because he was an in demand coach 3+ years ago. He was able to get some out of his young Lakers team, but didn’t exactly set the world on fire. We hired him for his reputation vs reality.

It’s not a small market problem either. We see OKC, MEM, SAS kick ass. And the reason they kick ass is because they view the whole league in an NBA standard, hiring smart and well connected executives.

We have good players, probably the deepest it’s been since the rebuild. But until they actually succeed, it’s hard to not kick the doubt of Lol KANGZ.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Sacramento and will forever bleed purple (whereas everyone else’s blood is normal red, but that’s because our blood is so oxygen deprived from constantly sighing from disappointment). We desperately want the team to succeed, but 13 years of bullshit and lack of follow through is enough to push a fanbase to insanity.

Carl
August 2, 2020 6:31 pm

I’d only disagree that we have good players. We have one very good player, one potentially good player who has underachieved all season, a couple of average players and a bunch of quality ninth men. I’m not really counting Bagley, and frankly, I don’t think he’s actually going to make anyone else better if he ever gets on the floor at all. This isn’t a good team.

Peja
August 2, 2020 4:55 pm

Before the start of the NBA restart to now…

SierraSpartan
August 3, 2020 9:37 pm

Is it too early for a Groundhog Day gif?

Last edited 1 year ago by SierraSpartan

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