After a discouraging two and a half seasons, Luke Walton has officially been fired by the Sacramento Kings. This was just step one.
The Kings need to continue to make moves in this right direction. Firing another head coach is the last thing you want to hear if you’re a Kings fan, considering the revolving door that has been the position, but they have given Walton plenty of time to show improvement. It’s not the talent. Behind a guard rotation of fringe all-star candidate De’Aaron Fox, last year’s rookie standout Tyrese Haliburton, and this year’s rookie standout in Davion Mitchell, the Kings have the talent to succeed in the West.
Despite the legitimate talent on the roster, with strong play from Richaun Holmes and a reinvigorated Harrison Barnes, this franchise still hasn’t been able to put things together and we’re wondering why. Along with the woes of Walton, it has to be said that the Kings have had the most disappointing offseason compared to any NBA team in the last two seasons, and it’s not even close. Even perennial doormats like the Knicks and Suns have finally risen from the ashes over the last two to three seasons.
The Timberwolves have even shown that they actually care by still trying to compete with their young trio of stars. Though it has yielded mixed results, they still show flashes of a potential playoff team. The Sacramento Kings have a team of players that are young and hungry for success. As hard as they work, this front office needs to start making moves in the right direction to give them a chance to compete. Don’t pull a cop out and just move the franchise to Seattle. That won’t change the culture of the team.
Sacramento deserves a winning team. They have a great fanbase. They just need a team to believe in again and the thing is, they’re so close to making it happen.
Thankfully, the interim head coach is Alvin Gentry. Though he’s been hit-or-miss as a head coach, he’s a veteran that has been an assistant with some of the best coaches that the NBA has had over the last decade. This will be a great trial run for him and if things go right, he still has a decent amount of time to potentially save Sacramento’s season this year. Besides this, we need to take a look at the roster once more. Who is the odd man out?
Mitchell has huge potential as the go-to defender of this team, along the lines of Mikal Bridges or Marcus Smart. Haliburton has already shown that he’s a starter in this league, and Fox is the franchise star. As good as Buddy Hield is and how badly we wanted to see him work in Sacramento, he needs to be the trade bait. He’s electric from the three point line, but he has too many negatives that outweigh the positives.
He is a black hole that shoots every time he touches the ball, he’s either slow on team defense or he’s just flat-out lazy, and we always hear something every year about how he’s not happy with his role. They’ve exhausted their options with him. As great as the fit is, his spot in the rotation hasn’t given the franchise the results it should’ve had at this point in time. It all starts with Hield. The good thing is that not only is he on a movable contract, but he can fit on any contending team or fringe playoff team in the NBA. His talents can help anyone.
It’s a shame he wasn’t able to help the Kings.
Harrison Barnes is also a movable piece, as long as the offer is enticing enough. Many have stated that the Kings could be an option for Ben Simmons but a move for him would be detrimental, especially because the only way they get him is if they move De’Aaron Fox. Ben Simmons’s skillset doesn’t fit with anyone on the current Kings roster. Though adding him would improve the defense, his usage rate would ruin the current flow of the offense, unless they plan on going into a full-on rebuild. That would be another huge mistake.
Once they move some pieces around, the plan should fall into place. You need to add some veterans to help them with a playoff push and to get into the minds of the hungry core and adding a big man that can actually score down low would be ideal. Since they’ve already made it known that they won’t be keeping the talented but often hurt Marvin Bagley III, they need to stop wasting time and trade him while he’s healthy to beef up their frontcourt. They need it bad, and they already know Bagley isn’t coming back so this is a no-brainer.
Regardless, the time is now for Sacramento. Not having a playoff appearance since 2006 is a travesty. The front office needs to start making moves while they can. Once they get rid of the clouds hanging over their heads with Hield, Bagley, and others, this young core will finally get a chance to show the NBA world what they are made of.
Featured Image Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports.
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