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Tyrese Haliburton needs more minutes to help establish the backcourt of the future

The Kings are 1-7 since Haliburton was benched for Moe Harkless.

On April 8, Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton benched Tyrese Haliburton in favor of inserting Moe Harkless into the starting lineup. The Kings have gone 1-7 since.

Following the King loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area/California asked Walton this question: "With the games dwindling here, is it almost time to start seeing what you have for next season as far as guys like Tyrese Haliburton, which you know long-term are going to be in that starting lineup?"

Walton responded with:

"I know what you're asking James, but for us right now, we're playing these games to win these games and an important part of developing, especially developing winning habits, which is what we're trying to get done here, is playing a certain way, rewarding a certain type of action, rewarding a certain type of play and trying to win some games going into the offseason so there's a little bit of momentum built up and some good energy. So, for now, our mindset going into tomorrow is we're going to do whatever we can to try to win that game."

Haliburton went from playing around 30 minutes a night for the majority of the season to averaging 21 minutes over the last three games. Against the Timberwolves he tallied 9 assists. Harkless has been decent during his time as a starter €“ he had a strong outing against the Timberwolves Tuesday with 20 points and 7 rebounds, and has had a few other productive games. Props to Harkless for taking advantage of the opportunity. This isn't about him though - the veteran is on an expiring contract and trying to prove his value to the NBA. The problem is the switch to moving Haliburton to the bench is doing nothing in the win column or for the future.

Walton (sort of) answered this question by saying having Harkless in the starting lineup is going to develop winning habits. He also insinuated that Harkless is being rewarded for certain types of "actions" and a certain "type of play." A head coach has a job to win games, and he clearly thinks that Harkless starting puts them in a better position to do that. To his credit Harkless has done a serviceable job. Maybe this is intended to be a lesson for Haliburton? The bottom line though is that the change has not positively impacted the win column. (Granted the team had lost four in a row before the lineup switch.)

The Kings are 23-35, which is 6 games behind the 10th place San Antonio Spurs. Any talk about making the play-in tournament is long gone. With just 14 games left this season, the team should be focusing on establishing chemistry between the two centerpieces of this roster: De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. (And if there is someone to bench it might be the guy who thrived in that role last season: Buddy Hield.)

We are almost two full seasons into Walton's time in Sacramento and he is still trying to build "winning habits" that aren't showing up on the floor, and if they do show up, they vanish right before our eyes. On day 1 of his tenure with the Kings in April of 2019, Walton said "defense wins championships" and that he planned to put a "huge emphasis" on it. The Kings are currently dead last in the league in defensive rating and let a team that averages 110 points per game put up 134 Tuesday night.

Those are not winning habits, and Haliburton's whole game is centered on high-basketball IQ - something that this franchise has lacked for 15 years. It's time to get the rookie back in the starting lineup, or at least up to starter minutes, and let him and Fox begin to establish the backcourt of the future.

I'll leave you with my favorite play from last night's game.

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RikSmits
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April 21, 2021 10:42 am

Veteran leadership!
One of the Kangz bingo squares.

ElRonToro
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April 21, 2021 10:46 am

Playing old guys with little chance of being on the team next year in order to establish €œwinning habits€ is as dumb ass a coaching philosophy I have ever heard. It’s €œcoach speak€ for I need wins to not get fired. Playing time for the rest of the season should be young players using the philosophy of €œlearn from their mistakes€! See, I can coach speak too, and mine makes actual sense.

Otis
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April 21, 2021 11:19 am
Reply to  ElRonToro

And 1…those old guys aren’t likely as good as the young players. So I’m not sure how that establishes “winning habits”.

RobHessing
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April 21, 2021 11:47 am
Reply to  Otis

Maybe he said “wincing habits”?

1951
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April 21, 2021 11:50 am
Reply to  ElRonToro

And the biggest indictment on Walton’s coaching prowess is that starting and playing Hali more is the one move he could make that would likely result in an increase in a win or two for the remainder of the season!

He is just so bad at his job … which I suppose is a stealth tank, so yippie?

Last edited 1 year ago by 1951
RobHessing
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April 21, 2021 11:54 am
Reply to  1951

Would a stealth tank be a “stank”?

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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April 21, 2021 1:24 pm
Reply to  1951

What is weird to me is last season Walton felt the need to bring Buddy off the bench and start Bogi. Bogi and Hali are more alike in their playmaking and deep shooting. So how is it good to start a Bogi/Hali type player last year, but this year bring that player off the bench and start Buddy?

1951
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April 21, 2021 3:58 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Buddy has the hotel room tapes now.

KangzofLeon
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April 21, 2021 12:30 pm
Reply to  ElRonToro

It’s the sign of a coach who has no clue how to teach/hold players accountable

Amonk81
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April 21, 2021 12:31 pm
Reply to  ElRonToro

Preach. Thanks for writing what I’ve been yelling for weeks.

Walton and the Kings owner are idiots-egos run amuck. Not developing anything but losing habits.

And what’s this Bullshit Walton is pushing about rewarding a certain type of play? You mean like rewarding Buddy and Bags? I hate this coach, this owner….fuck em

andy_sims
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April 21, 2021 1:35 pm
Reply to  ElRonToro

Could you clarify what is meant by “old” and to whom the label applies?

AmateurNerd
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April 21, 2021 10:47 am

That Walton quote responding to Ham’s question is complete nonsense. Is he insinuating that Haliburton was not “playing a certain way” that is necessary to win? His stats, and the eye test, say otherwise. Is he insinuating Haliburton is not performing the “type of action[s]” on the court that help the team win? The eye test, and the stats, say otherwise. Is he insinuating Haliburton is not “playing a certain way” that is conducive to winning? The eye test, and the stats, say otherwise.

Walton’s answer, shortened and stripped of all gobbledegook, seems to be this: “I have no idea what on Earth I’m doing, and I am too stupid to justify the stupid thing I have done. Here, have some random coach-y quotes I think a real coach might say in this situation.”

2018DraftTimeMachine
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April 21, 2021 10:22 pm
Reply to  AmateurNerd

Well said and that is exactly what I don’t understand … they were winning with Haliburton in the starting lineup. They are not with Harkless. The only thing I can think of is that Luke has been told to tank, so he puts a clearly inferior lineup out there. Otherwise I have no clue.

Hobby916
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April 21, 2021 10:52 am

Sure, maybe Harkless is bringing something to the team that they think is contributing to building winning habits (squinting, by the way). Why not just bring Buddy off of the bench and let Haliburton continue starting? Fragile Buddy needs to realize that his long term role in the league will be a 6th/7th man to come in and shoot 3’s, be a Terrence Ross style of player.

Or Luke is trying to help with the tank in a special kind of way, idk. Either way, I actually do hope the door hits his ass on the way out.

KangzofLeon
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April 21, 2021 12:32 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

man it’s sad, but Terrence Ross is way better than buddy. Anytime you hand buddy the ball you’re highly likely to turn it over or commit an offensive foul

Kosta
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April 21, 2021 10:54 am

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Kosta
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April 21, 2021 10:56 am

Monte McNair, please reward a certain type of action, reward a certain type of play….

BY FIRING THIS FUCKER.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
Ialmostmissthemaloofs
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April 21, 2021 11:06 am

So wait… the Kings are still playing basketball?

I dunno, because I quit watching pretty early last year. I check in from time to time… and oh… look, they lost again. I’m WAY past not caring anymore, and it has been liberating not following this stinker of an organization. I likely WILL watch again one day, when Walton is not the coach anymore. Until then, I have zero interest in this shit show.

Walton is a loser. By definition, in every sense. Just do not like his game, his act, his name, or his face. Walton must go. For that matter, so must Ran-a-diva. I know that last part can’t happen, but if Monte doesn’t fire Walton at the end of the season, something is seriously wrong, and we are probably doomed for at least another decade.

That said if he does fire ‘alton… then I’d say things are about on track for cleaning up Vlade’s mess. We should get a decent player in the draft, and get an off season with a better coach (because I can’t imagine getting a worse one!)

rockbottom
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April 21, 2021 11:17 am

A better coach will help but many bigger problems ! Player talent is near league bottom and how much patience will be shown to FO and Coach if product improves only marginally ? I bet very little ! Rinse and repeat !

Amonk81
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April 21, 2021 12:38 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

Y’up, Vivek is the issue. Until he backs off or leaves we are fucked.

Again, I think the only hope is to be so bad Vivek let’s McNair make moves.

And if he doesn’t, a fan anti Vivek campaign is in order. If they keep losing fans will hopefully turn away, hitting V in pocket and maybe he’ll be embarrassed and do a Dolan/Snyder

Seriously is disgusting How Vivek runs this team into the ground.

Otis
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April 21, 2021 12:43 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

Vivek is the common denominator (well, Matina and the local “media” additionally, I suppose).

Jman1949
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April 21, 2021 11:44 am

comment image&ct=g

comment image&ct=g

JoeEnzyme
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April 21, 2021 1:29 pm

Upvoted for spelling “loser” correctly. Pet peeve.

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April 21, 2021 10:25 pm
Reply to  JoeEnzyme

LOL

RobHessing
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April 21, 2021 11:13 am

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KingsFaninNY
April 21, 2021 11:35 am

My mom and brother pitched in and got me an NBA Team Pass subscription for the Kings this year, which started in March. At that time, the team was on a winning streak and looking like the playoffs were an actually attainable goal.

However, when I started watching the actual games, all the way through, I realized that:

Doug Christie drives me crazy with his repetitive comments.

The rest of the announcers/analysts really don’t want to say what is actually wrong with the team, or show replays of clearly missed calls by the refs. (which makes sense for them to keep their jobs, but still drives me nuts.)

The Kings, and almost all of the rest of the NBA, play horrible defense, partly because of the way the new rules benefit the offensive players almost exclusively. But yes, the Kings really don’t know how to play whatever defense actually IS allowed, either.

Adding new players creates horrible defense and offense, because they screw everything up.

Isolation play is the stupidest strategy this team could ever do, every time.

There is really no defensive strategy or even really any kind of flow offense, but just the same frustrating sequence of dribbling around, into three guys, then try to pass out of it or throw up an off balance hail mary shot.

Where did the King’s Dancers go? (ha ha ha!)

Okay, so that is a LOT of realizations. But hey, I gotta start somewhere….

Its snowing here in upstate NY so, enjoy California, everyone!

Amonk81
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April 21, 2021 12:44 pm
Reply to  KingsFaninNY

I hear ya. I got single team pass. I turn off sound, listen to other team.

The shilling is gross. Kings have nothing. No D, no legit O, no coach, no owner.

I was only watching for Haliburton bet but now it’s useless.

Hobby916
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April 21, 2021 12:50 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

I listen to almost all NBA, MLB, NFL games on mute. The “excitement” from broadcast does nothing for me. Sports I know less about (golf, nascar) the sound is on so I can learn more about the strategy, rules, etc.

Otis
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April 21, 2021 12:52 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

It’s really a shame the technology hasn’t been perfected to sync the radio play-by-play. Gary has slowed down a bit the last few years, but I still really enjoy his work.

KingsFaninNY
April 21, 2021 11:45 am

Okay, which coach should the Kings hire if they actually do end up firing Luke Walton? Who are the potential candidates and why would they be able to get the team to start winning in today’s NBA, and in the Western Conference?

I’ve been following the team for over 25 years, but just started watching the games a month or so ago and I really don’t know what makes a good coach anymore, with the way the game is played now. So, serious question, looking for good insights and opinions!

Kosta
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April 21, 2021 11:49 am
Reply to  KingsFaninNY

Hi Vivek!

More crowdsourcing, eh?

.

(just joking around)

😛

RobHessing
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April 21, 2021 11:52 am
Reply to  KingsFaninNY

Candidates should include Ime Udoka, Becky Hammon, David Vanterpool, Kara Lawson, Wes Unseld, Jr.

I’m sure that there are others. Unseld Jr. is probably my current favorite.

RikSmits
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April 21, 2021 12:17 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

As much as I want a female HC in the NBA, I want it to be with a franchise where she will have a decent chance at succes.

And not with a franchise of which people will wonder if it is more a marketing ploy than a sound Bball decision.

KangzofLeon
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April 21, 2021 12:37 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

This is actually my apprehension in us trying to hire Hammon. I would feel really bad for her to get her HC start with the kangz and almost doomed to fail. Then again, maybe it’d be the greatest dream fulfilled in NBA history, having the first female HC be the one to lead an irrelevant team back to respectability

Hobby916
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April 21, 2021 12:39 pm
Reply to  KangzofLeon

If she succeeds in Sacramento, then it would be maybe the best coaching job ever done. If she fails, then it Kangz and she moves on to the next thing.

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Nostradumbass 14
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April 21, 2021 1:28 pm
Reply to  KangzofLeon

Hammon would be very wise to not take a job in Sac and just wait unitl Pop retires and the Spurs hand her the keys.

andy_sims
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April 21, 2021 1:37 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Good point and well-said.

Hobby916
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April 21, 2021 12:30 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Imagine the stories that Unseld Jr. has heard from Malone about Sacramento. He probably won’t even pick up the phone.

RobHessing
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April 21, 2021 12:34 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

It’s a buyer’s market when it comes to NBA head coaching positions. Besides, who wouldn’t want a two year gig followed by a two year paid VaKangztion?

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April 21, 2021 1:32 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I’d add Darvin Ham to that list as well as some college coaches looking to make the leap. Folks like Jay Wright (Villanova) or Scott Drew (Baylor).

Inthestarz
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April 21, 2021 2:28 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

So to blatantly discriminate against white men?

is that where the league is heading with its new push?

or was it just chance that you aren’t mentioning Messina, D Antoni etc?

Otis
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April 21, 2021 2:34 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

So to blatantly discriminate against white men?

Your posts should come with a laugh track.

BestHyperboleEver
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April 21, 2021 2:52 pm
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C’mon, that HAS to be satire, right?

Right!?!

andy_sims
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April 21, 2021 2:44 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

comment image

KangzofLeon
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April 21, 2021 2:45 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

Yes, we don’t have enough white men coaches in the league who are judged solely based on their “merits”

LOL

Last edited 1 year ago by KangzofLeon
andy_sims
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April 21, 2021 5:01 pm
Reply to  KangzofLeon

Yeah, Luke Walton got the job because he’s just so damned qualified.

RobHessing
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April 21, 2021 3:03 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

I’m afraid only one of us noticed any color or gender pattern to my list, which I prefaced with “Candidates should include,” indicating that it was not an exclusive list.

That said, a quick look at NBA head coaching, front office and ownership numbers pretty much convey that those of male caucasian persuasion have the numbers on their side right now, by a pretty whopping margin.

I have no preference when it comes to the color or gender or sexual orientation of the next Kings coaching hire, but I find it interesting that a non-exclusive list that is comprised of a whopping total of five people elicits such a response.

Carl
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April 21, 2021 3:04 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

Snowflake.

Jman1949
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April 21, 2021 11:51 am

Perhaps €œdeveloping winning habits€ should include coaching €œthe right way€€”like not expecting Harrison Barnes to match up against KAT for extended periods of crunch time!

KangzofLeon
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April 21, 2021 12:38 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

my friend pointed out that Luke took his last timeout with 5 minutes left in the 4th just to put in an actual center. Awesome coaching

ScottyPop
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April 21, 2021 12:24 pm

Total bullshit.

ScottyPop
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April 21, 2021 12:28 pm

Oh, and I just saw the banner.

Congrats TKH staff. You guys kick major ass. Thank you for everything you do here.

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April 21, 2021 12:41 pm

“What’s your response to this article headline, Luke?”
comment image

Hobby916
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April 21, 2021 12:42 pm
Reply to  Klam

“I need to watch the tape.”

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April 21, 2021 12:46 pm
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andy_sims
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April 21, 2021 12:41 pm

Gorgeous execution on the fast break by the rookie. His judgment is so often right on the nose when quick decisions are needed.

There’s a lot to parse with Walton’s response to Ham’s question, because he’s either putting his own interests ahead of the organization’s, or he really thinks they can make the playoffs. Neither of those things are good.

Haliburton has been rather pedestrian in his play since the All-Star break, particularly when compared to his excellence in the first half of the season. There’s some rookie wall to be considered, and teams now know they can’t screw around and let him run wild. I don’t think that his performance is necessarily related to not starting, especially when you consider how great he was coming off the bench in the first part of the season. As you noted, the Kings are perfectly capable of putting together long losing streaks, starting lineups be damned.

There are certainly matchups where Harkless’ size and strength make sense, and he’s been pretty solid in his appearances. He also provides a toughness that’s been in short supply. Harkless isn’t really the issue as it relates to the struggles of Haliburton. I don’t think that there’s any question that, starter or not, the rookie should be getting thirty minutes a night. You’re going to have games like Dallas where Davis and/or Wright are going to really shine, and it makes sense to let hot players play. The recent acquisitions are all pretty good players.

The issue, as ever, is with Walton’s judgment. Haliburton should play, and he certainly fits in with whatever type of lineup is out on the floor at any given time. I do like what Harkless adds, and I’d love to have him return next year if the price is right. Same with Davis & Wright, all three would be solid bench assets going forward.

Haliburton is definitely part of the future, and he must play. I don’t really care whether he starts or not this season.

KangzofLeon
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April 21, 2021 12:44 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

That’s the main issue; he’s a rookie with tons of potential that should have limit to his development, and certainly not on this dumpster fire team with almost no chance of making the play-in. It’d be one thing if Luke showed some results with his bizarre judgments, but instead we’re just left watching him gaslight us into thinking he has a plan 🙁

KangzofLeon
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April 21, 2021 2:52 pm
Reply to  KangzofLeon

Shouldn’t have limit*

Otis
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April 21, 2021 12:47 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Agree with you Andy, the problem isn’t necessarily Hali starting or coming off the bench, it’s his overall minutes load. It seems nonsensical – building a winning culture and Haliburton getting as many minutes as you can give him seem (to me) to go hand-in-hand.

However, he also needs as many minutes as he can get with Fox, since that’s ostensibly the backcourt of the future. If those minutes together are being severely limited by bringing Haliburton off the bench, that’s a bit of a problem.

RobHessing
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April 21, 2021 12:49 pm
Reply to  Otis

This –

However, he also needs as many minutes as he can get with Fox, since that’s ostensibly the backcourt of the future.

This, this, this, this, this.
,
,
,
This.

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April 21, 2021 1:35 pm
Reply to  Otis

Well said, Otis. There really is no excuse for his drop in minutes unless there is something going on with him that we aren’t aware of. A nagging injury perhaps?

andy_sims
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April 21, 2021 1:40 pm
Reply to  Otis

Good point about court time with Fox, I would imagine there has been less of it since the change. Still, if memory serves (HA), the two got a lot of time together in the first half of the season. But more is needed, beneficial, and prudent.

PhutureKings
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April 21, 2021 1:40 pm

Is Rese’s dip in production due to a rookie wall or getting fewer mins and being benched (thereby affecting his confidence)? Could be both, but we’ll never really know bc the coach has created this idiotic scenario. Bench Buddy, not Hali.

Last edited 1 year ago by PhutureKings
PhutureKings
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April 21, 2021 1:43 pm

We need to start a petition stating if Luke Walton isn’t fired immediately following the season, then we as fans are taking a “gap year” from giving a shit about the team.

andy_sims
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April 21, 2021 2:06 pm
Reply to  PhutureKings

I have no doubt that such an effort will be every bit as effective as most online petitions.

TerzoM
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April 21, 2021 3:11 pm

Tank you much Lose Walton

Bitgod
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April 21, 2021 4:13 pm

Fire them all. They have no reason to win games. I would think the decision on Walton is already made, he’s either going to be fired or brought back, regardless. Freakin play the kids and see what they can do.

Kfan
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April 21, 2021 6:35 pm

I don’t have a problem starting Mo. Full-time 4 is tough on Barnes. The problem is Buddy is the guy that should be benched. I’m so ready for the Buddy era to end.

ZillersCat
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April 21, 2021 6:51 pm
Reply to  Kfan

Perhaps we should consider drafting a 4?

Last edited 1 year ago by ZillersCat
Kfan
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April 22, 2021 5:39 pm
Reply to  ZillersCat

Yeah. I think a combo forward that leans more towards the 4 is probably exactly what we need.

2018DraftTimeMachine
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LaBradfordsCreditCard
April 21, 2021 10:14 pm

OK, correct me if I’m wrong, but once Pervis got hurt (again) and Tyrese went into the starting lineup, didn’t Sacramento go on a pretty decent winning streak with Fox and Haliburton sharing the ball?

And then Luke decides that winning games doesn’t really teach the team how to win games, so he puts a fringe player with no future with the team in the starting lineup to replace Haliburton, and then they go 1-7?

Just making sure I’m following Luke’s thought process here.

RowJimmy
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April 22, 2021 10:19 pm

Leave it to Lose Often to #stopthesteal

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