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.
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 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.
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 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.
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!
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!
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.
James Naismith (He made the game just too damned hard for these guys)
Dick Hornets are the wurst!
James Naismith obviously is paying us back for what we did to his fellow Canuck, Stauskus.
Damn, you got me at the end. For a second I thought I had escaped accountability.
Yeah, I was hoping to skate on this.
Greg has the receipts!
What is this about? I only read the comments.
I was honestly surprised that the article was longer than two words.
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.
I don’t fee anything but pity for you. That’s rough.
At least California has good weather…
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?
Most at fault!
PDA is definitely at fault!
Say what you want about Ranadive, but it seems that we really dodged a bullet in Burkle not making that big move.
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.
Let me purple that up for ya.
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.
Woke culture, cancel culture, vaccines, socialism, unions, voting, education and books.
And Greg. All destroyers if worlds!
Greglactus, Eater of Worlds?
Jimmy If World
What you don’t understand is….
MILLI VANILLI KNOWS WHAT’S UP
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.
It’s my fault… I believe in accountability… but my god we can look at the 2018 draft as the biggest mess up.
JJJ … playoffs
Trey young playoffs or do draft day trade and get Porter and a first in 19
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.
I’d like to apologize to the Kings organization for not bringing enough positive energy
Winner: Ranadive, this guy manage to turn one of the Glory Years great guy to a Villain. Amazeballs.
Vlade taps out.
I know this may be considered over the line. Feel free to flag for removal. Peace out
Um, the “too soon?” was for my comment, not yours.
This is the single greatest graphic since Kilroy Was Here.
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
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.
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,
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.
Maybe that’s what it takes.
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.
Great article, but you missed the clear culprit.
Damn it. I am old and tech challenged. How do I get a picture in here versus the link?
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
and past the url into there.
Or if that doesn’t work, I’ll screengrab the image and then upload it to that site…
Thanks. I will have to try that next time.
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.
I blame Andy Sims for the negativity.
Fuck off, Sonny.
Please understand that this is meant with love.
love u long time Andy
Thank you, I insist on that.
Just don’t blame it on 5 centers or you will feel his wrath 😉
Those receipts are forged!
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.
In Walton’s defense, his ability to coach was absolutely proven before he got here.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Why would you want Giannis when you can have Papagiannis?
On that note, has anyone ever seen Slamson’s father, Slam?
You know who’s not to blame?
Yep, that’s pretty much how I remember it!
Great concept for an article. I’d like to revisit this at least once, maybe twice, per month.
I blame The Big Pharma…which is my new nickname for Marvin Bagley.
Has there been reporting about him having some sort of issue with prescription meds?
I heard he’s just growing fruits and veggies in the backyard.
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.
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.
We all be rooting for 29 other teams.
And Kings, if they are still a team, will have only 2 fans – Vlade’s grandsons!
This is a fine sentence.
“Luke Walton bad” felt too abrupt
In no particular order.
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
Local media for ignoring the blatantly obvious reality.
Present company excluded
I truly do apologize for my shortcomings as a fan. This is all my fault. I will try to do better.
Thanks, I was afraid it might be me ! Whew- close call !
OT: Whoa, this is gonna take some getting used to.
Seems like they could have come up with a slightly better name than “https://t.co/lur8Hbuv0r Arena,” but it is LA.
This will end about as well as the PSInet stadium deal…
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
I personally blame viral meningitis
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.
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
“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…”
“You know what you did. This is all your fault.”