Articles | Commentary

Who is to blame for the Kings struggles, an official guide

Welcome Kings fans, it's time to point fingers.

Despite last night's win, the focus on the Sacramento Kings will remain on Luke Walton and the temperature of his coaching seat. But anytime a Kings coach seems likely to be fired there is an inevitable debate to be had. Is it actually the coach's fault?

Good news, my friends. I have compiled the official guide for Kings finger pointing. I'm not here to tell you the right answer (as the truth is that no single person is responsible for the Kings sucking for the last 15 years and multiple people likely should be held accountable), but I am here to provide you with the definitive argument for why each person is to blame.

Luke Walton

Let's start with the most likely candidate to be fired. This is Walton's third season in charge of the Kings. The reasons for dismissing him are well-documented, but they largely circle around his overall lack of success in Sacramento. Walton inherited a team that won 39 games the season before, and Walton has led the Kings to back-to-back seasons of 31 wins and 41 losses. Even adjusting for shortened schedules, the Kings have been worse than they were before, despite it being pretty universally agreed upon that the roster has been improved over that time.

Remember, that final Joerger season had a 21-year-old Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Willie Cauley-Stein as the top five players. Depth? The depth was Nemanja Bjelica, rookie Marvin Bagley, and Iman Shumpert. It was not a good roster. It still won 39 games.

Aside from the record itself, the Kings have consistently had inconsistent play. They'll beat teams with better records and then collapse against worse teams. We've also regularly seen the offense sputter at the first sign of resistance.

Add all of this up, and it's clearly Luke Walton's fault.

Monte McNair

Monte McNair assembled this roster, and chose to keep Luke Walton this past offseason. If anyone is to blame for the Kings struggles, it must be McNair, right?

Consider the recent adjustments the Kings have made. After starting the first 11 games, Maurice Harkless was moved to the bench in favor of Chimezie Metu. Harkless fell completely out of the rotation Monday, registering his first DNP-CD of the year. Retaining Harkless was one of the few roster moves McNair made this offseason. He also signed Alex Len (who has registered six DNP-CDs so far) and traded for Tristan Thompson (5 DNP-CDs). The erratic nature of players starting one night and being glued to the bench the next could be pinned on Walton, but it speaks to the larger issue of roster construction.

McNair built a roster full of guards and centers, with only and handful of forwards. The result has been a patchwork of players playing away from their best position, or being forced to play a larger role than they should.

You could argue that the roster imbalance would have been solved had the Buddy Hield trade gone through, but "things that almost happened" is becoming a trend for McNair. They almost had a deal with Milwaukee for Bogdan Bogdanovic, they almost matched his offer sheet with Atlanta (a deal that looks very reasonable at the moment), they almost traded players at the deadline, and they almost traded Buddy to the Lakers. Are all of these McNair's fault? Of course not, but when so many deals fall just short you begin to wonder. As the old saying goes, if you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into asshole all day, you're the asshole.

Between the growing list of changes-almost-made and the current roster construction, the current struggles are obviously Monte McNair's fault.

The Players

At the end of the day, the Sacramento Kings have cycled through coaches and GMs and ownership groups, and yet the players of the floor are the ones who win and lose games in the end. Missing shots, not executing plays, not taking opponents seriously. We can blame the coach if we want but these are professional athletes who should be expected to put forth their best efforts every night.

There's nobody to blame except the players themselves.

Vivek Ranadivé

Vivek has owned the Sacramento Kings since 2013. That means Vivek has overseen a playoff drought of 8 years under his ownership, compared to the first seven years of our drought coming under the Maloofs. Even if we removed the Maloof years, the Sacramento Kings still have a longer active playoff drought than any other team. Since Vivek took over he has employed three General Manager, 5 head coaches, and a half dozen advisors with nebulous titles and accountability. A revolving door of personnel, crackpot ideas of 4-on-5 basketball and jazz bands, and not one iota of on-court success.

Clearly this is all Vivek's fault.

Matina Kolokotronis

Chief Operating Officer of the Kings. She's been with the franchise for 22 years and is the highest-ranking individual who spanned both the Maloof and Vivek eras. I can't tell you a single basketball-specific decision she's made, or any specific thing to blame her for, but doesn't that seem a little too convenient that there's nothing specific and public for us to be mad at?

Clearly, Matina is to blame!

Vlade Divac

Let's be honest, if he'd just taken Luka (or a half dozen other possible players) instead of Marvin Bagley, we'd probably have made the playoffs by now. That's without even getting into many of Vlade's other terrible decisions as GM of the Kings.

This is all Vlade's fault.

The Kings Herald Staff

Rob, Akis, Biegler, Fippin, Blake, and me, we all found the old site somewhere around 2006 or 2007. Our ongoing negativity has obviously impacted this team in irreparable ways. If only we were a little more positive, maybe the Kings would be better.

We are to blame, obviously.

The Republic of India

The damn preseason trip ruined everything! We'd be so much further along right now if only the Kings had gotten a regular preseason that year!

It's all their fault!

Iman Shumpert

Without Shumpert, the team's swag vanished.  Without swag, this team is clearly nothing.

You, the person reading this

You know what you did. This is all your fault.

 

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RobHessing
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November 16, 2021 2:42 pm

Murder Hornets

Dick Motta

James Naismith (He made the game just too damned hard for these guys)

Kosta
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November 16, 2021 3:15 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Dick Hornets are the wurst!

Last edited 9 months ago by Kosta
Kosta
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November 16, 2021 3:16 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

James Naismith obviously is paying us back for what we did to his fellow Canuck, Stauskus.

TerzoM
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November 16, 2021 2:46 pm

comment image

AmateurNerd
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November 16, 2021 2:47 pm

Damn, you got me at the end. For a second I thought I had escaped accountability.

andy_sims
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November 16, 2021 2:56 pm
Reply to  AmateurNerd

Yeah, I was hoping to skate on this.

Kosta
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November 16, 2021 3:17 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Greg has the receipts!

RikSmits
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November 16, 2021 10:20 pm
Reply to  AmateurNerd

What is this about? I only read the comments.

andy_sims
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November 16, 2021 2:53 pm

I was honestly surprised that the article was longer than two words.

OG_Aggie
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November 16, 2021 2:54 pm

It actually might be my fault. I grew up in San Diego, and went to UCD. I’ve been a fan of the Padres since 1969, the Chargers since 1972, and the Kings since 1986. Check the record of success of those franchises. I could be an actual curse.

All that said, it’s more likely Walton.

Last edited 9 months ago by Rob Rodgers
JackassCentral916
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November 16, 2021 4:24 pm
Reply to  OG_Aggie

I don’t fee anything but pity for you. That’s rough.

BuffaloDiaspora
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November 16, 2021 11:11 pm
Reply to  OG_Aggie

Ahem.

At least California has good weather…

Last edited 9 months ago by BuffaloDiaspora
BradMillersDipCup
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November 17, 2021 10:17 am
Reply to  OG_Aggie

Wait there’s another one of us? I too am a Charges/Padres/Kings fan and know nothing but pain. Do sports teams even win?

1951
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November 16, 2021 2:56 pm

PDA

Maloofs

Ron Burkle

Most at fault!

Kosta
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November 16, 2021 3:18 pm
Reply to  1951

PDA is definitely at fault!
comment image
(blocking foul)

Last edited 9 months ago by Kosta
andy_sims
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November 16, 2021 3:37 pm
Reply to  1951

Say what you want about Ranadive, but it seems that we really dodged a bullet in Burkle not making that big move.

Kosta
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November 16, 2021 3:12 pm

I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE, GREG!

Smart way of not directly blaming them and getting fined. But we get it. Perfect headline and photo combo.
.
.
.
.comment image

Last edited 9 months ago by Kosta
TerzoM
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November 16, 2021 3:24 pm
Reply to  Kosta

comment image

andy_sims
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November 16, 2021 3:37 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Let me purple that up for ya.

Carl
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November 16, 2021 3:16 pm

Kayte Christensen-Hunter, who has the balls to be female and know more basketball and communicate it better than the dudes they could find. Clearly, this is all Kayte’s fault.

Last edited 9 months ago by Carl
1951
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November 16, 2021 3:19 pm
Reply to  Carl

Woke culture, cancel culture, vaccines, socialism, unions, voting, education and books.

And Greg. All destroyers if worlds!

Last edited 9 months ago by 1951
Kosta
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November 16, 2021 3:23 pm
Reply to  1951

Greglactus, Eater of Worlds?

Last edited 9 months ago by Kosta
andy_sims
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November 16, 2021 3:38 pm
Reply to  1951

Jimmy If World

sonny
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November 16, 2021 4:22 pm
Reply to  Carl

What you don’t understand is….

Kosta
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November 16, 2021 3:21 pm

MILLI VANILLI KNOWS WHAT’S UP
comment image

Last edited 9 months ago by Kosta
Kingsguru21
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November 16, 2021 3:22 pm

I see you’re not just intent on ruining marriage, Greg, you’re also intent on ruining sarcasm and snide commentary, too.

Well played sir.

Want2win
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November 16, 2021 3:23 pm

It’s my fault… I believe in accountability… but my god we can look at the 2018 draft as the biggest mess up.

Luka… playoffs
JJJ … playoffs
Trey young playoffs or do draft day trade and get Porter and a first in 19

ugh…

Carl
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November 16, 2021 3:25 pm

This whole blame game is bad for me. I believe Luke Walton is a bad coach. I believe this is a bad roster. If the roster is performing at its talent level, am I saying Luke Walton is overachieving as coach? Ugh. I need to go throw up, inject myself with bleach and take some horse meds to get this out of my system.

Last edited 9 months ago by Carl
DrJohn
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November 16, 2021 3:43 pm

I’d like to apologize to the Kings organization for not bringing enough positive energy

TerzoM
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November 16, 2021 3:44 pm

Winner: Ranadive, this guy manage to turn one of the Glory Years great guy to a Villain. Amazeballs.comment image

RobHessing
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November 16, 2021 3:45 pm
Reply to  TerzoM

Vlade taps out.
.
.
.
Too soon?

TerzoM
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November 16, 2021 3:49 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I know this may be considered over the line. Feel free to flag for removal. Peace out

Last edited 9 months ago by TerzoM
RobHessing
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November 16, 2021 3:52 pm
Reply to  TerzoM

Um, the “too soon?” was for my comment, not yours.

andy_sims
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November 16, 2021 4:08 pm
Reply to  TerzoM

This is the single greatest graphic since Kilroy Was Here.

andy_sims
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November 16, 2021 4:07 pm
Reply to  TerzoM

Oh, I think VD managed to crap on his amazing legacy of being a key cog on one of the best third-place teams* of all time pretty much on his own.

*tied for third place

4on5
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November 17, 2021 1:41 pm
Reply to  TerzoM

Between opting for Bagley over Doncic and tapping the ball to Horry, nobody has done more damage to the Kings than Vlade.

Loved him as a player and he’s a nice man. It doesn’t change what happened.

I’m sure the third time the Sacramento Kings hire a former player with no experience to be GM based upon the name value buzz, it won’t be a total calamity.

RobHessing
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November 16, 2021 3:45 pm

I blame the vast list of current NBA players that were active the last time that the Kings made the playoffs: Carmelo Anthony, Udonis Haslem, Dwight Howard, Andre Iguodala, LeBron James and Chris Paul.

I absolve the larger list of NBA head coaches that were active NBA players the last time the Kings made the playoffs: Nate MacMillan, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Tyronn Lue, Willie Green, Jamahl Mosley, Chauncey Billups, Luke Walton.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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November 16, 2021 4:01 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

We are just 3 years away from having players in the NBA that weren’t even alive the last time the Kings made the playoffs.

andy_sims
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November 16, 2021 4:09 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Maybe that’s what it takes.

RobHessing
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November 16, 2021 4:09 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Corliss was on the last playoff roster. He turns 48 next month. Ronnie Price and Ron Artest were the last players from the last playoff roster to retire – they have both been out of the game for over four years.

bjax1
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November 16, 2021 4:10 pm
bjax1
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November 16, 2021 4:12 pm
Reply to  bjax1

Damn it. I am old and tech challenged. How do I get a picture in here versus the link?

Kosta
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November 16, 2021 4:16 pm
Reply to  bjax1

Not sure for that one. Looks like you did the usual correct thing by pasting the url.

Whenever I run into these stubborn ones, I use meme generator

https://imgflip.com/memegenerator

and past the url into there.

Or if that doesn’t work, I’ll screengrab the image and then upload it to that site…

bjax1
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November 16, 2021 4:24 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Thanks. I will have to try that next time.

ZillersCat
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November 16, 2021 7:06 pm
Reply to  bjax1

The website determines images by the ending extension: .gif, .png, .jpg
The url you found is an image, but the type of file recipe isn’t sophisticated. If another algorithm was used, like looking at the first line header, it would perhaps be better to automatically add and present images.

sonny
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November 16, 2021 4:20 pm

I blame Andy Sims for the negativity.

andy_sims
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November 16, 2021 4:25 pm
Reply to  sonny

Fuck off, Sonny.

Please understand that this is meant with love.

sonny
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November 16, 2021 4:27 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

love u long time Andy

andy_sims
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November 16, 2021 4:45 pm
Reply to  sonny

Thank you, I insist on that.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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November 16, 2021 5:06 pm
Reply to  sonny

Just don’t blame it on 5 centers or you will feel his wrath 😉

Carl
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November 16, 2021 9:24 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Those receipts are forged!

aplumley
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November 16, 2021 4:27 pm

I’m going with Vlade. The most impactful negative moves can be traced to him. Firing Joerger in favor of Walton and the Bagley decision might be the two biggest setbacks during the playoff drought (John Salmons trade would compete). Wasting a #2 pick in a stacked draft alone is unforgivable. Firing a good coach for an unproven one, again was questionable. Hindsight is 20/20 but I think most people saw those two moves as questionable (at best) at the time.

andy_sims
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November 16, 2021 4:46 pm
Reply to  aplumley

In Walton’s defense, his ability to coach was absolutely proven before he got here.

aplumley
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November 16, 2021 9:17 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

He coached the Warriors as an interim coach. Then coached a young but losing Lakers squad to 26, 35 and 37 wins. I guess you could say he was a proven loser. The only bright spots were his tenure as interim head coach with the Warriors and the fact that the Lakers got better every year under his leadership.

ForKingsandCountry
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November 16, 2021 10:32 pm
Reply to  aplumley

One of those Lakers years he had Lebron James and managed to miss the playoffs. They improved by 2 games… after acquiring Lebron James. Here is the list of coaches who missed the playoffs with Lebron James after his rookie year: Luke Walton. He’s AWFUL.

4on5
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November 17, 2021 1:49 pm
Reply to  aplumley

I’d like to point out the Bagley thing is a good example of a 15+ year Kings media trope in this town.

Until this spring, there were a lot of people insisting it was unreasonable to draw conclusions about Bagley in Sacramento and ridiculous to call him a bust. Two media members deemed fans talking about Bagley being a bust online to be cyber bullying. It was TOO SOON YOU GUYS!!!!

10 games later, they say “We’re still talking about this?!!? It’s over. Move on”

Same old same old

RobHessing
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November 16, 2021 4:27 pm

More “fun” with numbers for those that want to place the blame at the very top of the (dis)organization:

128 playoff seeds have been earned during Ranadive’s ownership, and average of a little better than four per team. The Kings are the only team to not make the playoffs during that span.

There are only three other teams that have not made the playoffs at least twice during Ranadive’s tenurerror: Minny, NY and Phx. The Knicks and Suns will likely get off that list this season.

Portland is the only team to make the playoffs every season during Vivek’s (bl)ownership. This roughly coincides with the old ownership drafting Thomas Robinson over Dame Lillard, followed by Vivek’s first draft, which “featured” Ben McLemore over CJ McCollum.

As has been noted earlier and elsewhere, Vivek now owns the longest run of playoff futility by any Kings owner, as well as the lowest percentage of playoff achievement.

I loathe me some Luke Walton, but what ails this franchise rests at least a couple of rungs higher on the ladder than the coaching staff.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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November 16, 2021 5:05 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I don’t think it was just McLemore over McCollum (who did come in for a workout), it was also Petrie suggesting on looking at some skinny Greek dude named Giannis, before he was let go in favor PeteD.

Dismissive little chap, indeed.

andy_sims
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November 16, 2021 5:14 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Why would you want Giannis when you can have Papagiannis?

Kosta
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November 16, 2021 6:08 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

On that note, has anyone ever seen Slamson’s father, Slam?

RobHessing
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November 16, 2021 4:31 pm

You know who’s not to blame?comment image
These guys!

Carl
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November 16, 2021 9:28 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Yep, that’s pretty much how I remember it!

  1. Don’t change the roster much.
  2. Don’t hire a new coach.
  3. ???
  4. 107 game winner!
JackassCentral916
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November 16, 2021 4:31 pm

Great concept for an article. I’d like to revisit this at least once, maybe twice, per month.

RobHessing
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November 16, 2021 4:36 pm

I blame The Big Pharma…which is my new nickname for Marvin Bagley.comment image

andy_sims
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November 16, 2021 4:49 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Has there been reporting about him having some sort of issue with prescription meds?

Carl
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November 16, 2021 9:29 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I heard he’s just growing fruits and veggies in the backyard.

sonny
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November 16, 2021 5:05 pm

As I write this, there’s a young couple in Rancho Cordova who just checked in at the Marriott Hotel at Folsom & Sunrise. They wiil conceive the next Michael Jordan/Magic Johnson/Larry Bird hybrid.

6’8 3/4″ without shoes who gildes like Clyde, has Bird’s bbiq, wiih shotblocking prowess like Dikembe, fadeways ala Dirk, mental toughness of the Black Mamba, court vision of JWill and Magic-like smile and yells while making those no-look, behind-the-shoulder bounce passes ala White Chocolate. The future goatest of the goatest.

In 2039, Kings will be 1-81 and gets the first pick. But Aneel Ranaddive selects 6’0″ pg from Iona because he watched that dude make 279 concecutive 3 pt shots on You Tube.

Our hopes to end our 34-year playoff drought were once more dashed in one draft pick decision.

I blame Aneel.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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November 16, 2021 5:08 pm
Reply to  sonny

Lol, this got me!

In all seriousness, if the Kings have that kind of playoff drought, or even hit 20 years, the League has full right to dissolve the team, or at the very least relegate the Kings to the G-League.

sonny
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November 16, 2021 5:21 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

We all be rooting for 29 other teams.
And Kings, if they are still a team, will have only 2 fans – Vlade’s grandsons!

Marty
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November 16, 2021 5:17 pm

This is a fine sentence.

The reasons for dismissing him are well-documented, but they largely circle around his overall lack of success in Sacramento.

SexyNapear
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November 16, 2021 5:37 pm

In no particular order.

Grant Napear

Carmichael Dave

Not enough leg room at Golden 1

The sweat dripping off Kenny Thomas

Too many second round picks.

The annoying pop up videos that appear on this site when you try to write a comment

Last edited 9 months ago by SexyNapear
AnybodyButBagley
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November 16, 2021 6:30 pm

Local media for ignoring the blatantly obvious reality.

markdog333
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November 18, 2021 9:21 am

Present company excluded

krswin
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November 16, 2021 6:35 pm

I truly do apologize for my shortcomings as a fan. This is all my fault. I will try to do better.

rockbottom
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November 16, 2021 7:20 pm
Reply to  krswin

Thanks, I was afraid it might be me ! Whew- close call !

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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Nostradumbass 18
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November 16, 2021 8:52 pm

OT: Whoa, this is gonna take some getting used to.

Carl
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November 16, 2021 9:32 pm
Reply to  Klam

Seems like they could have come up with a slightly better name than “https://t.co/lur8Hbuv0r Arena,” but it is LA.

Last edited 9 months ago by Carl
BuffaloDiaspora
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November 16, 2021 11:15 pm
Reply to  Klam

This will end about as well as the PSInet stadium deal…

andy_sims
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November 17, 2021 9:14 am
Reply to  Klam

No one is paying me to call it anything, so I’ll continue calling it “Downtown LA Arena.”

And we all know that no one outside of the business is going to call it anything other than Staples. See: Arco Arena

SunBreakTheDawn
November 16, 2021 8:52 pm

I personally blame viral meningitis

andy_sims
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November 17, 2021 9:18 am

Honestly, there is so much truth to that, and everything that resulted from Cousins’ absence, mainly Malone’s firing.

And even stemming from that, Walton is still here because they know they made a mistake knee-jerkingly blaming the coach for losing games while his best player recovering from illness. They have more than enough cause to dump Legacy Hire, but they’re still stinging from the criticism around Malone’s departure.

tl;dr: It never ends.

Ralph_Furleys_Tailor
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November 16, 2021 9:21 pm

If you are crazy enough to be a kings fan then you should be allowed to pick another team, but if you want to leave your Kings fandom behind then you are not crazy and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to pick another team.

So I blame…Catch 22

andy_sims
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November 17, 2021 9:23 am

“That’s some catch, that Catch-22,’ he observed.’It’s the best there is,’ Doc Daneeka agreed.Yossarian saw it clearly in all its spinning reasonableness. There was an elliptical precision about its perfect pairs of parts that was graceful and shocking, like good modern art, and at times Yossarian wasn’t quite sure that he saw it at all, just the way he was never quite sure about good modern art…”

SierraSpartan
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November 17, 2021 9:21 am

“You know what you did. This is all your fault.”

are we the baddies.gif

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