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Kings Pulse: Luke Walton will remain head coach into 2021-22

Greg and Tim join the show to react to the Luke Walton news.

It's official, Luke Walton will remain the head coach of the Sacramento Kings into the 2021-22 season.

Greg Wissinger and Tim Maxwell join the show to give their initial impressions of the news that came out just one day after the final game of the regular season.

We break down the player quotes that came out during end-of-year interviews singing high praise of Walton, specifically from Tyrese Haliburton and Richaun Holmes.

Throughout the last few weeks, we have heard many arguments for keeping Walton around including continuity, the players backing him, the Kings offense, and player development.

  • The Kings have to stick it out with one head coach eventually
  • The team was playing hard under Walton to close the year
  • It was a complicated season with covid and injuries
  • Fox, Haliburton, Holmes, and other all have praised Walton publicly
  • Fox, Barnes, and Holmes have all developed during Walton's tenure
  • Delon Wright, Maurice Harkless, and Terence Davis all outperformed expectations

I presented those points and allowed Tim and Greg to give their thoughts on those takes and the validity of them.

With an already questionable deadline in the rearview, the success of Luke Walton will be crucial to evaluating general manager Monte McNair. We spoke on how this decision affects our opinions of McNair and faith in the team moving forward.

And we wrapped up the episode by talking about where we find hope and optimism heading into next season with Luke Walton remaining as the head coach.

The Kings Pulse podcast is available on all major listening platforms.

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May 18, 2021 6:38 am

One thing I want to note: in this episode I talk about how we haven’t heard players talk about any specific development work Luke has done with them. I hadn’t had a chance to listen to Haliburton’s full media session from yesterday yet. Yesterday Haliburton spent a couple minutes talking about how he spent time extra time watching film with Walton before games and that he learned a lot from it.

Only fair to make sure I acknowledge that.

May 18, 2021 6:50 am

Luke is a nice guy and players like him ! Got it, but too many happy, satisfied losers for me ! Hope I am wrong but seems a lot like the Kings Basketball Resort for fun and games !

May 18, 2021 7:51 am
Reply to  rockbottom

Our fellow TKH members know the “FACT” why players love Walton..comment image 

May 18, 2021 8:51 am
Reply to  rockbottom

Vlade’s strategy was that happy players will lead to success…we saw how that worked out.

May 18, 2021 11:58 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

Nice guys do what now?

May 18, 2021 10:12 am
Reply to  rockbottom

If these players are comfortable not being challenged or held to account by their head coach, then all the more evidence that we have a major roster problem in addition to a FO/coaching leadership problem.

May 18, 2021 7:13 am

This organization is reaching levels of incompetence that are hard to fathom. This roster is good enough to be top ten in the west, but Luke Walton isn’t going to be anything other then the loser he’s been for his entire head coaching career

May 18, 2021 7:59 am

A player coach maybe good, but we definitely need a real coach that can give motivation to players, like Tom Thibodeau….

As shown in below Gif, Randle hustle back to guard AD after his free throw..
(I doubt I saw some kind of hustle play from our players this season)
comment image

Can we fire Walton now ?

May 18, 2021 8:21 am

Can you elaborate on this, or clarify?

With an already questionable deadline in the rearview, the success of Luke Walton will be crucial to evaluating general manager Monte McNair.

My assumption is that you’re referring to the trade deadline. If so, what was questionable about it, or whose actions were questionable?

May 18, 2021 10:11 am
Reply to  andy_sims

He got nothing for Holmes and could lose him at the deadline. He got nothing for Barnes when value was high and we didn’t turn being buyers into a playoff spot. Seems straight forward to me.

May 18, 2021 11:42 am
Reply to  MidtownMike

They decided to go all-in on the play-in and it failed miserably. No doubt a major black eye for Monte.

May 18, 2021 1:00 pm
Reply to  MidtownMike

In regards to Barnes, you know you don’t have to trade an asset just because another team wants it, right?
Holmes is a different situation and hopefully we’re able to make a deal that works for both sides, but its not like that situation is done.
Here’s a real question for the “Boo Monte” crowd – Can you name a GM you DO like? OR are you all conditioned at this point to just boo whoever’s in the chair?

May 18, 2021 9:27 am

Walton is that substitute teacher without a real degree or proper work experience to teach his class an entire semester. Listening to Halliburton talking about watching films with him reminded me of this substitute I had in high school who would play funny clips the whole class and everyone had a good time but learned nothing else academically

May 18, 2021 9:47 am

The way you have success with a doofus minded coach that you sadly retain only for sake of continuity and financial obligation is give him such a dynamic versatile high octane roster he succeeds in spite of himself. That is what happened with GSW when he was 28-4 as interim.

This is discouraging and disgustiing news if true, but it is not as dire and hopeless as the Doomers contend. We have 7 rotational pieces by my count. We need 10. McGenius’ to-do list this off-season is to add those 3 and I am confident this is where his focus and energy will lie.

Quickly to define some terms, a capable starter in my mind is someone who can play 30 MPG and be part of a 50-win team and Top 4 seed. A capable backup is someone who can spot start in a pinch, in the event of injury or foul trouble and the team barely misses a beat over the short term.

A capable backup thereby includes Davis, Wright and Metu, excludes Marvin, King and Jones. Marvin is a no-brainer. I don’t need to say more than “no more” with regards to him. I like King and Jones, but they did not show enough to qualify as capable backups. King and Jones may emerge definitively in these roles but until then McGenius needs to find other options and internal competition.

This relates to our coach because if these issues are properly addressed we can be good regardless of his bumbling and befuddled nature. This is why I was excited by the trade deadline, two bad options, were taken away from him, Bjelica and Joseph. His own bad discernment was neutralized by eliminating options a better coach would not make.

Still this coach mishandled Buddy (did not hold him accountable for carelessness or move him to bench for Ty), he mishandled Marvin (misguided attempt to play him at center), did not integrate our new acquisitions soon enough, coinciding with our 9-game slide, and prior to that he did not develop a bench unit with faith and patience in a talented high energy shooter and playmaker like Kyle Guy.

These are the relevant shortcomings unrelated to disliking his post-game sound bites. The other problem is lack of structured playsets, this is a point Jerry has made, though you do want to grant Fox and Ty a lot of freelance and freedom, not so much to Buddy and Marvin. So again we arrive to the point where personnel upgrades can mask the deficiencies of the coach.

On the positive side, this coach stuck with Davis when he was bricklaying. This paid off, including 20 PPG over 4 games and many star caliber plays. In an indirect way, this helps pave the path to his rentention as coach, because it makes Buddy more expendable, and Buddy and this coach cannot coexist. Buddy was going to be the end of this coach, but since there is now a clear path forward without Buddy, that is, Davis supplanting him, the coach stays and Buddy goes.

Our 4-guard backcourt rotation is elite: Fox and Ty, Davis and Wright. There is no room for Buddy. Then you have Holmes, Metu and Barnes. That is your 7-piece core so far. You need 10. You need 3 more. That is an achievable task and not as daunting as the Doomers want to pretend it to be. The trio you need may be on the roster, Jones and King in paricular but you do not know yet. You need a starting PF, a backup PF/SF and a backup C/PF. All this needs to be defined and addressed; this is how you thrive in spite of a suboptimal leader.

The Buddy situtation is complicated. Until 4 weeks ago he was too heavy. Then he leaned out and you can see it in his body and his level of activity over the last games to mixed but modestly improved results. Buddy failed as a wing. He’s not a wing, he’s a SG, so unless you plan to play a 3 guard lineup in the second unit, there is NO place for Buddy on this team.

Davis is younger, cheaper and better than Buddy. Buddy is the better shooter but Davis is better at getting open 3s with his athleticism and juke moves. So what Davis lacks in shot accuracy, he makes up for in his ability to get cleaner looks at the rim. So the percentages are inclined to be around the same. And I am sure Davis will be shooting 500 3s per day this off-season to go to the next level as a shooter.

If Buddy could have played at a heavier and stronger weight, not sacrificed athleticism and mobility in the process, if he could check 3s, you could envision a place for him as a high-priced 6th man, a Lou Williams type. But I do not see that any more than HB being a long term fix at the PF.

So these issues need to be addressed so the coach is not presented with a situation he is not equipped to resolve. The proper course of action was to bench Buddy temporarily, call him out, let him know if you play the wrong way you don’t play. Instead he was provided carte blanche, he dominated the relationship and in the process helped sink the season. By the time Buddy got his fitness in check, it was too little and too late.

The best resolution given this rocky history is chose one, coach or player, and it seems that the choice has been made.

GM To-Do List
> Resign Holmes
> Resign Davis
> Add 3 rotational pieces: two combo Fs, one PF/C

The assets at the GM disposal are the 2021 pick, the 2023 pick which can be packaged with the 2021, and neutral to negative “assets” in Marvin and Buddy. Optimally, we trade Buddy in a deal for Pascal Siakum. That is the all-in win-now move. Add Siakum to aforementioned core and a trained monkey could lead this team to a 50 wins. Since many fans think our coach is no more capable than a trained monkey, this course should be vigorously pursued.

The Raptors would want Ty, HB, unprotected 2021 and 2023 picks for Siakum. Well, first they would ask for Fox, then after we stop laughing they would make another unreasonable request. We cannot trade Ty, of course, he projects as a better than Siakum based on their respective rookie years. And his value on a rookie deal exceeds Siakum value as a slightly underperforming max player. The deal our GM should pursue includes making HB available and this years pick, and choice of Buddy or Marvin to make salaries work.

It is futile to think we could get Siakum for Buddy, Marvin two unprotected #1s, and keep HB, so there is no reason to entertain the idea.

Trying to add Siakum to our core is the type of move our GM will be angling for. This is how to secure your tenure and make a bad coach look good. And if Masai Ujuri , arguably the best GM in NBA, sees a player like Kai Jones as a cheap replacement with upside like Siakum, and he is avaiable at our pick that could facilitate the deal getting done.

HB, Buddy (or Marvin) and #1 pick (Jones) for Siakum is an equitable deal for both parties and this is how you proceed and succeed with a surfer dude masquerading as NBA coach.

One last point in lieu of a dream acquisition. The 7 player core can score the hell out of the ball. The three players you seek to add ideally need to defend the hell out of the opponent, be opportunitistic scorers, and not thirsty ones. Siakum is a scorer but he offsets and adds to the scoring you lose with HB while being a better facilitator more of a combo forward, making Metu and Siakum more of a complementary pairing.

Since this coach was not able to get this team to play defense, the only way to mask this defeciency is fill out your core with defenders. If we cannot get Kuminga, then Kai Jones and Scottie Barnes are probably going to have more appeal than Franz Wagner or Jalen Johnson.
And all in fairness to a coach, even if we had a coach who got his team to defend, choosing defenders over scorers would still be prudent.

May 18, 2021 9:57 am
Reply to  kings4ever

GM To-Do List

> Resign Davis

> Add 3 rotational pieces: two combo Fs, one PF/C

> Resign Holmes

I agree with your “to-do” list..but I really don’t like the idea of adding Siakam…his contract is expensive, long and overpaid…….

He is a good player, but I would only deal for him if we only need to give up Hield and Bagley for him….(Adding the picks, it would be a BIG “NO” to me)

May 18, 2021 10:17 am

I’d give up this years pick plus Hield and Bags but not This year and ’23 unless ’23 was heavily protected.

May 18, 2021 9:48 am

Are there any possible candidates the Kings could hire as an assistant? So if next season goes badly, they can fire Walton mid season and promote the assistant?

May 18, 2021 10:18 am
Reply to  eddie41

If they didn’t fire him this season then they basically need to commit until the Kings are out of the playoff race next year.

This offseason was the time to fire him, they didn’t which means he’s likely here all year.

May 18, 2021 10:19 am

From the other thread:

I don’t understand all the forgiveness of Luke because of the claim that the roster is so terrible.
This roster was better to start the season than DJs 2018 to start and that team won 39 games, with a tank during the should of been 40th.
Why does Luke get excused for doing worse in consecutive years than DJ in his final?
It’s a weak ass trash take that seems to be the talking point of everyone on Viveks payroll…and now regurgitated by some fans

May 18, 2021 10:36 am

comment image

May 18, 2021 11:01 am

“I still remember when Vivek came in after the season and goes, ‘OK, I want to get 50 wins next year,” Walberg said. “… Now give me a plan on how to get to 50 wins.”

May 18, 2021 11:07 am
Reply to  TerzoM

“Now give me a plan on how to get to 50 wins. Those plans must include incompetent coaches, no defense, and players that will take pictures with me.”

May 18, 2021 11:22 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

Vivek treated George Karl worse than shit, firing Walberg to “send a message”. This is who we are stuck with – for years to come.

Last edited 27 days ago by TerzoM

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