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Why it makes sense for Monte McNair to back Luke Walton

In his media rounds over the last couple of days, Monte McNair has repeatedly voiced his support for Luke Walton. He's said that Luke is a great coach, he's reaffirmed that Luke will be the Kings coach for the upcoming season, and he's talked about the things he wants to accomplish with Walton. And while this isn't what Kings fans want to hear, I think we need to cut McNair some slack.

We've known since before McNair was hired that the Kings considered Walton safe in his job for the coming season. We know the financial strain the Kings organization is under right now. We know that Vivek is basking in the rare season where he's only paying one head coach. Walton's fate was decided before McNair took the job. Walton starting the year as Kings head coach was essentially a condition of employment.

In that scenario, what else do we expect McNair to say? He's backing the head coach he's stuck with because there's zero upside to throwing Walton under the bus. Anyone who knows anything about managing people knows that you first try to help someone be successful, and then if you can't you manage them out. McNair is going to try to be successful with Walton, and then if he can't he'll move on and hire someone new next offseason. As much as Kings fans, myself included, are tired of Walton, McNair is taking a measured and methodical approach.

It's also worth noting that even if the Kings org was willing to foot the bill to fire Walton, even if McNair wanted to, it doesn't make a ton of sense to do that now. Half the top candidates have already found new jobs this offseason. And maybe those candidates wouldn't have come here anyway, but now the Kings have no chance. Why not wait for a fresh offseason with fresh candidates?

Further, Sacramento's roster is a mess right now. We all know this, and it wouldn't be surprising at all to see dramatic changes over the course of the coming season. If McNair can reshape this roster into something with a more clear identity and direction, that could make the Sacramento coaching job more appealing to candidates.

It's frustrating knowing that Walton will be around another year (or at least part of the year), but we should try to think of this as a transition year. McNair will work to clean up the mess one piece at a time. Walton will either change his coaching habits and thrive with McNair, or he'll be same old Luke and be gone next offseason. Either way, it doesn't make sense for McNair to rush into a new coach when there's so many other issues for him to address.

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Hobby916
2 months ago

Hopefully McNair can get the players/assets he wants to build with, move the team towards his vision, and select the coach he wants to carry out that vision. He has been around a while and he probably has some relationships with assistant coaches, etc. that he thinks will be a good fit moving forward.

TitleChaser
2 months ago

But I want Luke gone NOWWWWW

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MauricePWhippoorwill
2 months ago

McNair will work to clean up the mess one piece at a time. Walton will either change his coaching habits and thrive with McNair, or he’ll be same old Luke and be gone next offseason. 

What if McNair adds to the mess and we are stuck with Walton for years? With the team’s track record, I don’t trust that bad decisions based on money will somehow work themselves out.

2 months ago

So it’s going to be the Sacramento TanKings this year for that coveted 2022 top pick.

SelecaoKOJ
2 months ago

I am good with it. Walton will be on the hot seat from Day one of next season. There will be a sense of urgency from Mcnair to win. Walton’s days of platitudes and speaking of watching the film are over. He will need to win and consistently in order to keep his job beyond next season. Even if the whole roster is overhauled, Walton will no longer have the luxury of taking his time and making excuses. Kings will be awful regardless. The West will tougher.

anan1234
2 months ago
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Good point! The GM is no longer his buddy.

CoreyBrewersD
2 months ago
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

I don’t think that wining is what we, or McNair will be looking for. Player development within a designed, agreed upon style of play. With the roster turnover that is expected no coach could win regularly. We need to see development from Bags, and Fox. In Bags case to possibly ship him out.

SelecaoKOJ
2 months ago
Reply to  CoreyBrewersD

On one hand you’re right. Mcnair wants to see player development and a committed style of play. Regardless of wins. On the other hand, Walton probably won’t win many games. Regardless of the roster. It will give Mcnair a reason to fire him. Either way, I believe Walton will have his feet to the fire. He’s never shown he can develop talent and he’s never shown he has any kind of offensive system in place. I would imagine the majority of vets on this team will be gone by Dec. Walton will not only have prove he can develop young players. But, he will have to commit to a certain style of play and Hold players accountable. I feel pretty confident Luke does not have the capacity to handle these multiple responsibilities.

CoreyBrewersD
2 months ago
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

I think you are right but I hope you are wrong.

anan1234
2 months ago

Yeah unfortunately have to agree Greg. As much as I don’t like Luke this is probably the best route to go. I think McNair will give Luke a fair shot and see how this team will start off in Luke’s second season before he starts making roster decisions. Only wildcard is Buddy though.

RikSmits
2 months ago
Reply to  anan1234

It isn’t the best route to go. It is an attempt to try to see a bad situation in the most positive light as possible , which I understand.
But make no mistake, ownership insisting on a new GM to accept a coach not of his own choosing , no matter how long or for wahtever reason (financial, most likely) is bad, period.

Last edited 2 months ago by RikSmits
anan1234
2 months ago
Reply to  RikSmits

Yeah I take your point. I get that the decision was made for him and that’s bad. I can’t deny that. Still think keeping Luke around for this transitional year is the best route as Greg points out you’d have a new slate of candidates to choose from next season.

Last edited 2 months ago by anan1234
Otis
2 months ago
Reply to  anan1234

I’m not sure those will be better candidates though, simply different.

wilbur10
2 months ago
Reply to  Otis

Hard not to be better than Luke

Otis
2 months ago
Reply to  wilbur10

Well, sure. But I’m talking about anyone who might be available now or in this offseason.

wilbur10
2 months ago
Reply to  Otis

Yeah I think I understand your point but whenever this franchise moves on from him, I don’t see us not improving. Unless we allow Vlade to make the hire again.

CoreyBrewersD
2 months ago
Reply to  RikSmits

Good point and to further it, how are you going to get a good coach to come here if your GM is badmouthing the incumbent coach.

L-Train3.1
2 months ago
Reply to  RikSmits

It is a stop gap for a year, then we get someone else. At that time we can try to do things properly for a change.

ArcoThunder
2 months ago
Reply to  L-Train3.1

Sadly, my money is on two years.

but I’ll repeat what someone else said earlier. Buddy Hield is the wild card.

if he gets traded then Luke is staying for two years. If they bring buddy back then who knows what. New system with a coach who feels pressure to do as he’s told might make buddy bounce back big time and team wins some games. Or it could be a shit show of personalities clashing and killing the team. Then they’re forced to move on from one. If not both. What it definitely does do is force the kings to pick a side, Buddy or Luke.

lets also remind ourselves that Luke helps with losing, so that’s an added bonus.

L-Train3.1
2 months ago
Reply to  ArcoThunder

More losing, just when we thought we were done with that.

1951
2 months ago

Greg ruined the head coaching position!

RobHessing
2 months ago

My Spidey sense says that this is not McNair’s call to make. That is, there is no way that ownership is going to swallow a coaching contract this coming year, especially when you consider the likely outcome regardless of who’s coaching, which is another trip to the lottery.

The organization is perfectly hedged here. Either the team continues to founder (likely) under Walton, at which point they fire him, or by some rather large miracle they make the playoffs, in which case their “faith” in Walton is validated.

I would think that McNair, like any GM, would like to be able to pick his own head coach. But my guess is that was not part of the initial employment package that was offered to him. McNair will move forward and craft the roster in what he feels is the best possible manner, not giving two squirts as to the impact that it has on wins and losses next year or its incumbent head coach.

AirmaxPG
2 months ago
Reply to  RobHessing

I wonder what will happen if McNair thoroughly evaluates this roster and decides we need to tear the whole thing down (which I think he should). What’s the ceiling of this group? Fringe playoff team? Maybe? Are there any trades that can be made to swap out our role players for stars to play alongside our young cornerstones that can make us a real contender? Not likely. Are we going to hit on a late lottery pick so amazingly well that it vaults us into relevance? Again, that would be an outlier.

So therein lies a problem. This team, under Luke Walton, earned the 12th pick in the draft. Statistically, you would expect we would either improve slightly based on the age of the roster or just stay about the same.

Big drafts coming up in the next couple years. By most accounts, there are superstars in the making that will be available.

Do we want Walton coaching for his NBA life, squeezing minutes out of vets trying to keep us in purgatory?

McNair seems like a really smart dude. I think he probably has come to these realizations already. But I really hope he is given the autonomy to do his job, and not have to be beholden to mistakes of the previous FO. I really think that if he is truly given free reign, he will tear this shit down, trade for draft picks/prospects, bring in a coaching staff who specializes in development, and hit big in the next couple drafts.

Murf
2 months ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

Am I the biggest fan of Luke Walton as coach. I like what McNair has said I supect he will evaluate everyone on the roster and by the all star break if things aren’t great moves will be made to get improve this roster

I’m sure he will use his analytical view to put players in the best position to succeed. Buddy Heild comes to mind, I suspect it might show the best use of Heild’s skill set, that will be shared with the Coaching staff to implement. If its not by either party they well be playing or coaching else where

AirmaxPG
2 months ago
Reply to  Murf

I think maybe the disconnect here is that some feel that this roster can be improved to some meaningful degree.

I’m of the opinion that this roster has a very limited ceiling (and that’s if everything goes right).

So I would like to see a new roster.

L-Train3.1
2 months ago
Reply to  RobHessing

So, how many years of wins and losses not mattering are we in? It seems like it has been a lot. At least three, for this three is a lot.

SMF-PDXConnection
2 months ago

It does make me wonder what effect the teams’ two biggest problems have on each other. On the one hand, there’s the roster. On the other, there’s the coaching. If they overhaul the roster at the deadline without firing Alton, is there a chance that implies they’re trying to give him a roster he can work with? Alternatively, if nothing happens at the deadline but Alton is fired, does that say they think the roster is workable and it’s only the coaching?

Of course, there’s also always the possibility that both happen and Alton is fired and the roster is overhauled at the same time. But, this being the Kings, they’ve never seemed close to that kind of full reset, always opting to tinker with one side or the other.

RikSmits
2 months ago

You forgot the option where they just tinker with the roster AND keep Walton, this being the Kings.

BestHyperboleEver
2 months ago

I’m generally suspending opinions until we start to see what direction they’re going to take. Holding on to Luke for the time being is fine. I don’t think he’s a good coach. But this process is going to take time and if they want to keep some coaching consistency and give Luke a chance to save his job while they get other elements of their house in order, then I’m fine with that.

cbrody
2 months ago

Yeah who cares? It’s just another year right?

I get it, but it still sucks and feels like half measures. Good luck selling it to the fans. I guess we’ve been happy to pay for their garbage for 30 or so years so why should they spend the money?

My hope is that behind the scenes McNair is getting competent people in to help with scouting, talent evaluation, and figuring out what was going on with the training staff last year. I have no reason to believe that’s the case but I’m trying to find something positive to latch on to…. Vlade’s gone so yay I guess.

SMF-PDXConnection
2 months ago
Reply to  cbrody

One would hope so.

At the same time, can’t you just see a situation where McNair says he needs a staff of ten scouts and ownership says, “But Vlade managed with three.”

Like, yeah, and look where cutting corners got you.

2 months ago

Yeah. Having Peja as your scout in addition to being assistant GM is not “cost-effective” it’s “in-effective”

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
2 months ago

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AmateurNerd
2 months ago

I’ve reluctantly come around to this way of thinking. Luke is almost certainly gone by the end of next season, if not sooner. He’s a dead man walking. The roster is also a dead man walking, in that it will likely be torn down and twisted beyond recognition in the next six months. From an on-court standpoint, this will be a lost season. Why hire a new coach just to oversee a demolition? Luke is great at watching, and that’s all they need the coach to do for the next year: watch.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
2 months ago
Reply to  AmateurNerd

I was thinking with Luke being a dead man walking, what kind of quality assistant coach is going to want to come on board this offseason, and more importantly, who picks him?

Does Monte pick someone he may think will become a fine head coach if and when Walton fails, or does Walton pick someone to help him keep his job?

Whoever is hired is going to tell us quite a bit about Walton’s future.

AirmaxPG
2 months ago
Reply to  AmateurNerd

You are right, it probably will be a lost season.

So I just don’t understand why would we accept lame duck Walton playing vets in meaningless wins in an effort to line up his next gig.

The 2021 draft is looking insane. Are we just going to miss out on that one too?

AmateurNerd
2 months ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

My guess is much of this roster’s current core will be dismantled for spare parts and draft picks by the All-Star break, and the second half of the season will be a de facto tank job that helps the Kings in draft positioning. Hield, Bogi, and Barnes are all quality players that can help competitive teams push for a playoff/title spot. Their contracts won’t be long-term killers, either (we’re assuming the Kings re-sign Bogi to a reasonable deal). Take away those three, and the Kings go from mediocre to BAD real quick. Fox and a healthy (ha!) Bagley don’t lift the rest of this squad out of the top half of the lottery.

ArcoThunder
2 months ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

whatever the roster is come start of the season we can’t expect them to be willing ready to lose games. The players will want to win and have delusions of playoffs.

they’ll win som games there and be aggressive and try all the new ideas and hope for statistical results.

at some point they should start “tanking”. When exactly? Maybe at game 50 tell the team you’re going to start giving big minutes to the young guys because it’s what’s best for us as a franchise and as a team moving forward. Justin James, Kyle Guy, MBIII and potentially three rookies from 2020 draft.

this serves a purpose and its out in the open with the players. Not “trying to lose” but focusing on development instead of winning at all costs.

if Luke won’t go along with that over the last 32 games then he’ll be fired. If he does do it I fear he might be back for year 3.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
2 months ago

Makes sense to me. Keep him for what is likely going to be another shortened season, one of which may or may not have fans in attendance. Virtually every team is going to be operating at a loss. I makes financial sense to let Luke play out another season.

McNair should focus on building the roster he envisions and tell Luke how to coach it. If Luke is not doing it like McNair wants, fire him by the deadline and promote an assistant to interim for the remainder of the season.

With Covid there are still so many unknowns so play things safe. Next season is a wash. Rebuild and plan for a good lottery pick in a stacked draft. The real work will be next offseason.

RORDOG
2 months ago

I think it might be the fact that I was poor for so many years that makes this thing a big nothingburger for me. The corporate entity doing business as the Sacramento Kings is cash poor. That will not change for years regardless of the quality of the on-court product. This is the move that technically costs the least, but they’ll need a little luck for it to not have any significant long-term ramifications. It just is what it is.

And this situation doesn’t feel that different than Joerger’s first season. Everybody was calling for his head because he was misusing Fox by forcing the team to play at a snail’s pace. Then he made a course correction, and it was fine. I don’t see why Walton can’t do the same thing. It’s not like he hasn’t coached teams that played with pace in the past.

SPTSJUNKIE
2 months ago
Reply to  RORDOG

I realize this maybe a little homer / polyanna of me – but I’ll also point out that his best success came with the Warriors -who were obviously 1000x more talented (not trying to pretend that isn’t the case), but who also were a very heavy analytics team.

Walton might not be an Xs and Os, but he does seem like a coach who is willing to partner with others and who would be open to a more Warriors-like approach again versus a “my way or the highway” type of personality.

So I agree, he certainly could work well with the FO and could run a better system that uses more of our player’s strengths.

andy_sims
2 months ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Jesus,”success with the Warriors?”

Him filling in as coach of one of the best teams in history while Kerr was away is almost entirely parallel to him getting rings for waving a towel.

Lose Walton has had no success whatsoever as a head coach. None.

SPTSJUNKIE
2 months ago
Reply to  andy_sims

You’re cutting out a huge portion of that quote:

his best success came with the Warriors -who were obviously 1000x more talented (not trying to pretend that isn’t the case), but who also were a very heavy analytics team.

Walton might not be an Xs and Os, but he does seem like a coach who is willing to partner with others and who would be open to a more Warriors-like approach again versus a “my way or the highway” type of personality.

The point clearly wasn’t that he did a great job coaching the Warriors, but that the organization had a plan and leaned heavily on analytics and Luke followed it.

He could be a coach who listens and follows a strong FO / analytics gameplan versus a big personality who insists on running thr team his way. There’s some hope that leads to adjustments in how players are used and better game planning next season, which can work well enough for our purposes.

anan1234
2 months ago
Reply to  RORDOG

Yeah I hope your right but I have more faith in Joerger then Walton. Walton seems like he needs more years of seasoning as an assistant coach and Joerger is more proven through his G league and his time with Memphis.

I had no problem with Joegers first year cause I felt like he had a plan to show the young guys how to win with playing Zach Randolph which meant the pace had to be slowed. A lot of the young guys gave Randolph credit for their development and the second year when he turned up the pace things it all seemed to be working but then Vlade ruined it all.

Last edited 2 months ago by anan1234
Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
2 months ago
Reply to  anan1234

Serious question. Who makes the playoffs first…the Kings or Joerger at his next head coaching position?

RikSmits
2 months ago
Reply to  Adamsite

How I became a millionaire by always betting against the Kings – a Netflix original.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
2 months ago
Reply to  RikSmits

We jest, but wouldn’t it be something if he gets hired by Indiana and both the Pacers and Nuggets are in the playoffs next year.

anan1234
2 months ago
Reply to  Adamsite

If he gets hired relatively soon most likely Joerger. He’s made the playoffs on every team he’s head coached besides the Kings.

Inthestarz
2 months ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Kings, because Joerger may never coach again.

its only here and among some casual nba fans that he’s some type of commodity

he didn’t get a call last summer

this summer, have to hand it to him, he’s been mentioned in two very broad searches (Sixers/pacers). Didn’t make it to the next round in Philly, and is among 15+ coaches in Indiana and not a front runner

as the years go by it might get dimmer as his name fades from current thought

Around the league he’s known as a coach who has butted heads with GMs and had one moderately successful season in Sacramento with things going for him that Walton didn’t have (like a weaker west)

Inthestarz
2 months ago
Reply to  Inthestarz

His stint in Memphis followed the arch of the team’s success before/after

Otis
2 months ago
Reply to  Inthestarz

Kings, because Joerger may never coach again.

I enjoy the idea that other teams will blame Joerger for the situation, and not the Kangz.

By the way, there were plenty of people at StR who said the same thing about Michael Malone.

Inthestarz
2 months ago
Reply to  Otis

Malone wasn’t a “trouble maker”

if your the GM of a team, and your hiring someone you have to work with for 3-4 years, your thinking twice if the coach has a reputation for insubordination. Whether it was questioning the GM moves in Memphis (Hood) or requesting to interview with other teams under contract, or the throwing Bagley under the bus here while questioning GM moves.

If someone has that past someone is going to have to be awfully confident in his coaching, and I’m not sure the legendary 39 win 2019 kings qualify

Otis
2 months ago
Reply to  Inthestarz

Joerger questioned the GM moves in Memphis, yet found employment immediately afterwards.

I suspect the fact that he got this shitty franchise to 39 wins working for incompetent boobs will keep him on the short list for some future head coaching positions.

Ialmostmissthemaloofs
2 months ago
Reply to  Otis

Ya I don’t necessarily fault him for not agreeing with Vlade. Vlade did dumb shit. DJ wore his emotions on his sleeve a little too much maybe, but that doesn’t mean he was wrong. I have never been a big believer in “back your boss at all costs”, because dissent and differing opinions are pretty critical to continuous improvement. Especially when you boss is an idiot.

Inthestarz
2 months ago

His prospective future employers will be a big believer in him having their backs at all costs

His job isn’t to critique management, that’s ownership. His job is to form the best relationships he can with the players he’s given, and he was derelict in his duty by throwing Marvin under the bus (“leaving Marvin to wonder if he even liked him” to paraphrase in the article detailing his firing)

Otis
2 months ago
Reply to  Inthestarz

Bad franchises have hard and fast rules like this:

His job isn’t to critique management, that’s ownership.

Don’t be scared of talented people that have high standards. Cupping the owner to keep your job isn’t something most quality employees are willing to do.

Inthestarz
2 months ago
Reply to  Otis

Any GM is going to want to hire a coach that has his back

Thats why he may never coach again

Thats why as soon as he said that stupid Doncic stuff he tried to backtrack it, and overemphasizing Bagley’s talent. In his interview with Napear, on 4/12/19, he had Napear lean in with the question to paraphrase
“Dave, in the past on this radio show youve spoken about your philosphy about young players; your not one who likes to give the keys to the car too early, you want them to earn it (playing time), and it was the case in Memphis and it was the case here, and it was the case with Marvin Bagley even though every time you spoke about Marvin you praised him, you actually thought he was as good as any rookie in the class”

He knew why he was fired and tried to backtrack it. And if you want to point out another coach wishing they had another player on another team over the player on the current team, do it.

That same interview Napear asked him about his plans and if he wanted to take a year to reassess, and Joerger said if a opportunity came up hed look at it. If you want to point out coaches who arent hot prospects turning down roles because they are currently being paid, do it.

2 months ago

What Joerger did was not win the season but get the guys ready for the next one. Say what you want about him, he gave the Kings the best shot at getting in the playoffs.

andy_sims
2 months ago
Reply to  Otis

Why would he work? He was being paid not to. I think he’ll have some good choices if he decides to jump back in.

Last edited 2 months ago by andy_sims
AmateurNerd
2 months ago
Reply to  Inthestarz

I think his rep (deserved or not) as a difficult coach for a FO to work with is hurting him. IMHO, he could be a great college coach, since college coaches get mostly carte blanche to do what they want, and Joerger’s style seems like it’d be better-received by 18-year-olds than fully grown pros.

Otis
2 months ago
Reply to  AmateurNerd

How do we know it’s hurting him? Until the end of this season, he was still being paid not to work.

ArcoThunder
2 months ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Joerger 100%

Otis
2 months ago
Reply to  RORDOG

Well, I don’t know if “everybody” was calling for his head. But definitely wondering if he would modify his offense.

The difference between Walton and Joerger is success, IMO. As a head coach, Walton has two claims to fame – interim success with another man’s roster and the inability to get a LeBron James team to the playoffs.

RORDOG
2 months ago
Reply to  Otis

Lebron only played like 60% of the season though. They were the four seed up until Lebron’s groin injury, and above .500 when he actually played. As we saw with the Pelicans, it’s not like his supporting cast at the time is good enough to get to the playoffs on their own.

Otis
2 months ago
Reply to  RORDOG

They were on pace for 42 wins (if LeBron played all 82), which would have left them six games out of the playoffs. And he sat the last six because everyone knew they weren’t getting to the playoffs.

RORDOG
2 months ago
Reply to  Otis

Lebron was injured on christmas. At that point, they were 20-14 and tied with the Clippers as the #4 seed. Would they have made the playoffs if he didn’t miss the entire month of January? Who knows. There’s just a lot of context that’s missing from the whole “couldn’t get a Lebron team to the playoffs” storyline. Lavar was openly talking shit about Walton. Everybody knew Walton was a lame duck coach the minute Lebron got there. Lebron was basically trying to engineer a trade to move half the roster midseason. The whole season was just weird, so I don’t really read too much into it.

Otis
2 months ago
Reply to  RORDOG

So we’re going off the smaller sample size to determine the quality of Walton’s work in Los Angeles? I guess that means we only look at the team’s 13-7 stretch this season and say he did a great job.

I love the idea that LeBron was a hindrance to winning that season. Maybe the fact that Walton couldn’t connect with LeBron is Walton’s issue.

RORDOG
2 months ago
Reply to  Otis

The whole season was just weird, so I don’t really read too much into it.

Otis
2 months ago
Reply to  RORDOG

Makes it easier, for sure. 🙂

RORDOG
2 months ago
Reply to  Otis

and to be clear, I have my concerns about Walton’s ability to put his players in the best position to succeed. I just don’t weight the Lebon year that heavily in my analysis of his coaching ability.

BestHyperboleEver
2 months ago
Reply to  RORDOG

Yeah, that team was really good when healthy. They only got 23 games where LeBron, Ingram, and Ball player together. In those games they were 15-8.

Otis
2 months ago

LeBron James’ team winning percentage when he’s been on the floor with any other coach: 67%. With Walton: 51%.

LeBron had many seasons where he didn’t have a ton of talent around him and still won.

Luke’s a bad coach and generally terrible human being for many reasons, but this is pretty glaring.

Last edited 2 months ago by Otis
ArcoThunder
2 months ago
Reply to  RORDOG

This is so very true and so very accurately illustrates why it was so god damn frustrating to see a team built for speed, proven to play well with speed was playing a turtle system. Soooooo frustrating. I hope you’re right.

SPTSJUNKIE
2 months ago

100% agree – have posted similar takes before in terms of rationale, but also, this is a process a lot of top FOs have followed. Just a few of the recent, successful / well regarded FOs below:

Pelicans: David Griffin – Kept Alvin Gentry on for year 1 & fired after
Raptors: Masai Ujiri – Kept Dwane Casey around for the first 5 years before replacing
Warriors: Bob Myers – Depending on when you feel he got control – either kept Smart for 1 season before replacing with Jackson or kept Jackson for 2 seasons before replacing
Celtics: Danny Ainge – Kept Jim O’Brien around to start the next season, fired 46 games in
Bucks: John Horst – Kept Kidd to start the next season and fired 55 games in
Pacers: Kevin Pritchard – Kept McMillan 3 seasons before replacing
Jazz: Dennis Lindsey – Kept Tyrone Corbin 2 seasons before replacing

Now Presti and Morey replaced their coaches immediately. And the Bulls did this offseason – though the quality of their FO remains to be seen. And of course Nate McMillan stands out like a sore thumb on the list above as a quality coach with success prior to Pritchard arriving.

However, given how much work there is when a new GM / Head of bball Ops starts – filling out FO, preparing for the draft, free agency, initial trade opportunities, etc. And given that the team might not be attractive yet to the types of coaches they want to recruit – I think it is perfectly logical and fits with precedent of other strong FOs to keep the coach to start the next season and then replace them if they are doing poorly and / or don’t work well with the new FO.

Basically, I don’t think this puts us behind or is a poor move. It’s a sideways move that allows the FO to get set up and get the team / player they want in place for their system. And then if the coach is floundering (O’Brien, Kidd, Gentry) or hits their ceiling (Casey, Jackson), then you replace them when your team is more attractive and the coaches you want will listen.

RikSmits
2 months ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Kept Dwane Casey around for the first 5 years before replacing Dwayne Casey

Who was coach of the year…
when was the last time we retained a coach for 5 years?

SPTSJUNKIE
2 months ago
Reply to  RikSmits

Not when Ujiri took over. When he took over the FO – Casey had been a head coach for 4 seasons:

2006 Wolves: 33-49
2007 Wolves: 20-20
2012 Raptors: 23-34 (strike shortened season)
2013 Raptors: 34-48

So when Uriji took over, Casey was 110-151 with a 42% winning percentage across 4 seasons. Casey only became coach of the year after Ujiri kept him and turned the team around – at which point Ujiri fired him that very same offseason.

Edit: And to be clear – this isn’t a defense of Walton. Mostly a point that this is less “KANGZ” than a somewhat standard process that is common when a new FO comes in. Doesn’t mean Walton will turn things around or be here beyond next season.

Last edited 2 months ago by SPTSJUNKIE
Kingsguru21
2 months ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

This is what I’m hoping for Junkie. That having competent management helps steer the ship in the right direction. That it doesn’t require a complete house cleaning.

But I’m generally not a fan of replacing coaches the way the Kings have typically done.

andy_sims
2 months ago
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Thumbs up for addressing Junkie directly.

Kingsguru21
2 months ago
Reply to  andy_sims

Huh? I’m confused. But you confuse the shit out of me Sims so…..huh?

RikSmits
2 months ago
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Thumbs down for addressing Sims directly.

BeTheBall
2 months ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

This would make a lot of sense. Especially the last line. We’re a shit show, we’ve been a shit show. We’re most assuredly not attractive to players or available coaches at this point in time. Now, I think Walton is the worst coach in the NBA, by a fair margin. Like Larry Krystkowiak bad. However, I think it behooves our chances for future success to have McNair spend some time cleaning up our brand as the worst run org in the league, and then we shall hopefully see the fruits of that labor by attracting a better pool of talent to fill the position.

Jman1949
2 months ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

While I would have preferred a cleaner slate going forward by replacing Walton, I’m OK with keeping him for now in light of how many other priorities need to be addressed. The problem I have with the way this was handled is that the decision to keep him was made before we hired a new GM. I’m not sure that the newly hired GMs in your list were all forced to keep their HCs as a prerequisite to their being hired as seemingly was the case here.

SPTSJUNKIE
2 months ago
Reply to  Jman1949

Completely fair point. I don’t know how the conversations went with McNair or these other GMs, but I do hope the ownership group is giving him the leeway and resources he needs to succeed.

Kingsguru21
2 months ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

One point about Dwayne Casey: He started winning games in TO without Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry in the fold.

Masari Ujiri has made a huge impact on two franchises, but I think switching out coaches is highly overstated on terms of impact. Casey went to Detroit….. and he’s doing how well?

I also wonder how many games he wins or is he coaching a Finals winner if they acquire Kawhi Leonard and decide Casey isn’t an issue.

When Casey has had star production he won games in Toronto. Seems to be a pretty simple equation to me.

SPTSJUNKIE
2 months ago
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Good point. Agreed.

02kingsfan
2 months ago

I just think it’s funny that McNair is probably gonna send Alton a bunch a game videos to watch only to realize Alton had already watched them last season

Otis
2 months ago

Yeah, this isn’t really McNair’s fault. Walton should have been shown the door with Vlade. Sucks that we are basically wasting another year before getting serious about the future.

And whoever is the coach after Walton is going to need a year to install his/her offense/defense, etc. blah blahblahrinselatherrepeat

eurostep
2 months ago

Based on what I’ve read and heard the last few days I think McNair likes Walton as the coach and will add the type of players Walton needs for his system to give Walton every opportunity to succeed. Some of those players are already on the roster.

ArcoThunder
2 months ago
Reply to  eurostep

your last sentence got cut off. Finished for you :

but they are being used the wrong way.

andy_sims
2 months ago

Maybe Lose Walton having additional time to watch the tape will be the thing that turns the franchise around. Yes, that has to be right.

2 months ago
Reply to  andy_sims

comment image4

2 months ago

I mean if Luke can start playing fast and Monte is able to implement the analytics and style of play he wants with the roster then I am cool with Luke staying on next year – if this was decision made by the GM and the direction he wants to go in. I support Monte as the GM 100% because I know he’s competent and knows what he’s doing, it would however be a shame if Vivek isn’t 100% all in and is making demands (ie keep Luke on for next year).

RikSmits
2 months ago
Reply to  dhackett

I’ve seen this a few too many times, the thought that Monte will dictate what kind of style will be played and how players will develop.

This maybe works like that in good-functioning FO’s, where the coach was hired by the current GM and they share the same pholosophies and are in lockstep about playing style and player development etc. That is not the case here.

The FO provides the coach with a roster and its mid- to long term vision. The coach decides what he does with that roster, allotment of minutes and which playing style to implement.

Walton is fighting for his basketball life. He probably knows that his future lies not in Sacramento, so likely just about the only thing he can do to have such a future elsewhere is try to get the best out of the current players and have them WIN NOW. That may coincide with Monte’s vision, it may not. For instance, Monte may want to see how Bagley looks out on the perimeter, while Luke may want him to stay in the paint and get boards or on the bench.

The point is, this has the potential for a lost season, where we neither tank, nor develop players properly and won’t reach the play-offs either. Also known as your regular Kangz season.

Last edited 2 months ago by RikSmits
RORDOG
2 months ago
Reply to  RikSmits

You should look at the role of managers in baseball these days. It’s not atypical for them to not even put together their own lineup card. Everything is dictated by analytics, and the managers have to be able to synthesize the data but also connect with his or her players. Walton will find success if he is able to translate what the analytics say into a language that the players understand and are willing to embrace.

to that end, I wouldn’t be surprised if the assistant coach they bring in to replace Igor is the stats guy. They have plenty of developmental coaches, so I assume they’ll balance it out with someone who can tell Walton here’s what the stats say you should do with respect to lineups/rotations, plays, defensive coverages, etc. Roland Beech was actually the stats coach for the Mavs before he got the job in Sac, so there’s some precedent.

RikSmits
2 months ago
Reply to  RORDOG

This is not a baseball team, last time I checked.

Also, one of my main point is that Walton may not believe he will find success if he is to develop players, when that will potentiually be at the expense of a decent record.

Heck, if we squint a bit it could be argued that he tried to develop:

  • the team, by playing a slower halfcourt game, knowing that the pace often slows down come play-off time and guys like Fox have to learn to execute in the halfcourt;
  • a player (Buddy), to give him a valuable added skill so he would not be so one-dimensional.
SMF-PDXConnection
2 months ago
Reply to  RikSmits

That entire philosophy was completely backwards to me from the start. There is no point working on the skills one needs in the playoffs when you are lacking the skills to make the playoffs in the first place. You don’t worry about teaching a child how to ride a bike before they’ve figured out how to walk.

RORDOG
2 months ago
Reply to  RikSmits

I just think you’re looking at this thing the wrong way. It is in Walton’s best interest to do what he’s told, and execute the plan effectively. If he’s Maverick who ignores the front office’s suggested rotations, then he’ll be fired before the all-star break.

ArcoThunder
2 months ago
Reply to  RORDOG

Yes

ArcoThunder
2 months ago
Reply to  RikSmits

you’re only seeing one side of the coin. If Monte wants these things and Luke denies all his attempts and makes it clear he not listening and only playing for wins to help himself then he can and should be fired.

Last edited 2 months ago by ArcoThunder
2 months ago
Reply to  RikSmits

Basically if the owner is forcing the new GM to keep Luke on as a coach then Vivek really hasn’t learned anything from all his mistakes. This is truly disheartening. If Monte is doing it of his own accord I’m ok with it as it’s a relatively common thing for new GMs to do

Inthestarz
2 months ago
  1. team is rebuilding
  2. it’s not conclusive Walton is a bad coach. It’s like giving up on a rookie after his first year, when you have a ton invested
andy_sims
2 months ago
Reply to  Inthestarz

He’s not a rookie. He has a long and (whatever is the opposite of illustrious) record as the man calling the shots. He’s a legacy hire, and a joke. If Divac hadn’t hired him he’d be hanging around high schools looking for action.

This man sucks all the way around.

2 months ago
Reply to  andy_sims

Dis-illustrious? I would just go with “painfully underwhelming”

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
2 months ago
Reply to  Inthestarz

Walton has coached more than one year of basketball…

Jman1949
2 months ago
Reply to  Klam

I won’t comment on this until I watch the tape.

2 months ago
Reply to  Inthestarz

Is that what we’re doing here, hiring rookie coaches to see if they work out?

AirmaxPG
2 months ago

I don’t know man. This article sounds a lot like trying to rationalize yet another boneheaded Kangz move.

Like would it be so hard to just give the GM a clean slate and let them hire the people they want? We all knew it was ridiculous to extend Vlade, and to let him fire the coach and bring in his L*ker buddy with a 4 year deal… but Vivek did it anyway.

And now it’s predictably biting us in the ass. Walton is probably the worst coach in the NBA, and we’re going into year 4 of a rebuild with a lame duck coach yet again.

We could tank the shit out of this season and next and put ourselves in a nice position to actually get superstars here and contend for titles. But we’ll just roll with Vlade’s guy and get another pick in the 10-14 range.

Vivek keeps compounding his own mistakes by being slow to correct them.

NorCalKingsFan
2 months ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

You kind of defeated your own argument:

Walton is probably the worst coach in the NBA, and we’re going into year 4 of a rebuild with a lame duck coach yet again.

We could tank the shit out of this season and next and put ourselves in a nice position to actually get superstars here and contend for titles. But we’ll just roll with Vlade’s guy and get another pick in the 10-14 range.

By keeping Walton (who I agree is one of if not the worst HC in the NBA) we are far more likely to be in the high lottery than if we replaced him with someone competent.

Ialmostmissthemaloofs
2 months ago
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

So here is an interesting question to ponder… (and before I ask it… just know that I really detest Walton – and did before he ever came here. I’ve consistently said that since the day his sorry ass got hired here. Hated the move then, and hate having him as coach now.)

What if -(this is unlikely, but fun) McNair improves the roster in some unforeseeable way over the summer with a new star caliber player and a couple of solid role players. He has a big sit down come to Jesus with Walton and they shift strategy, and by some miracle the Kings win 44-47 games and the 8th or 7th seed next season?
What then? Walton would be cemented for at least 2 to 3 years as the savior and the second coming of Adelman. I would personally still puke with distaste when I have to say his name – but how would that change the opinion of him among the rest of you? Would we then shift the blame to the roster itself? Would Mcnair get the cred for forcing Luke to change direction? Would he then be seen as a good coach, or just in a lucky situation? What would the articles about him and the comments about him look like in June 2020 if if played out that way?

If won’t, but it’s interesting to think about.

ArcoThunder
2 months ago

Love the hypothetical.

I think the articles here and general fan sentiment would be McNair made the team better and he’ll get all the credit. We’ll be hearing about how Luke is only a good coach when forced to play his all star warriors team the way Kerr wanted to play and play the kings the way his GM wanted him to play.

walton is a great coach if someone else is telling him what to do and how to run the team. Maybe even the best.

2 months ago

If Walton has any success this upcoming season it will be due to Mcnairs improving the team through use of analytics and/or trades. If he sucks halfway through the season I think he’s gone

AirmaxPG
2 months ago
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

I don’t see the contradiction in my argument.

A good coach will command the tank, develop young players, and set this team up for future long- term success.

A lame duck coach will be eeking out meaningless wins by trotting out vet lineups and keep us in the late lottery.

NorCalKingsFan
2 months ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

I guess we just disagree on Luke’s ability to win games, the only reason we didn’t lose more than we did was because of the talent level of the players…not saying they are great, but there is a floor to how bad they can be.

I look at this way: if we trotted out the same team with no head coach at all, the team would win more games than if Walton were to coach.

Walton is a net negative, so keeping him around for a tank-season is fine (as long as you can limit the damage he could do to young developing players).

ArcoThunder
2 months ago
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

HA!!!! You are so right. Good call.

now all I want for Christmas is Luke getting fired and the team not hiring a new coach or replacing him with an assistant. Fox then starts running the lineups and calling the plays. Kings win 50

Last edited 2 months ago by ArcoThunder
AirmaxPG
2 months ago
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

I think the fact we have to talk about “limiting” the damage he can do is reason enough that we need Luke gone… like yesterday.

This goes beyond wasting just one season (although it certainly is that). It’s also about inhibiting development for future seasons.

He’s just a bad coach. Good teams don’t keep bad coaches around.

Otis
2 months ago
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

Won’t that floor still be there next season? 35 wins isn’t getting you in the high lottery (unless we’re very lucky).

RORDOG
2 months ago

I was listening to Ham and Matt George today, and Ham said he’s heard McNair plans on adding a former player to his staff. He didn’t give any details though. Hiring SAR would be a nice little redemption story, so I’m gonna hope for that.

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
2 months ago
Reply to  RORDOG

Former player, eh?
comment image

richie88
2 months ago
Reply to  RORDOG

Based on what I read when SAR left, I doubt he’d want come back here as long as Vivek’s the owner. Also, I doubt he’d leave his current position for an asst. GM job. I think someone like Bobby Jackson would be more likely.

RORDOG
2 months ago
Reply to  richie88

well I said it would be a redemption story. I’m not saying it’s likely to happen. Just that I hope it happens.

And personally I think if he wants to be a GM one day, then he’ll probably need to take an assistant job in a team front office. President of the G League is an important job, but it seems like it’s more administrative. I could be wrong about that though.

richie88
2 months ago
Reply to  RORDOG

I’ve read speculation that he could be on a path that’d lead to him becoming commissioner someday, so I don’t think an asst. GM job would satisfy him.