You look at the past eight Kings coaches, and the averages tell you Dave Joerger will be fired around Thanksgiving 2017.
From Eric Musselman to George Karl, the Kings’ coaches over the past decade have averaged 100.5 games on the job before human resources called them in for their termination chats. Maybe Joerger can do better, and everybody in Sacramento hopes so.
But if you’re looking to set a morning line on Joerger’s over-under, don’t go too far past 100.5. Give Joerger a holiday season bonus, and you can reasonably push his date out to early 2018, like around the All-Star break, when sources get yappy – as they did this year on poor Karl.
Joerger looks like a good guy. His wife is a barrel racer, and there can’t be too many of them among NBA wives. You want his family to grow and thrive here. They’re country people, Joerger said, looking for horse property. He said he’d like to stick around 12 to 14 years.
A quick look at the actuarial tables shows that if Joerger, 42, makes it to 54 or 56 in Sacramento, the odds would be great for him to achieve 65 in these parts, which would just about get him to the tape. He’d have to ride around a few barrels to get there, but don’t we all?
147-99 Dave Joerger’s record in three seasons as Memphis’ coach
Dave’s last name is pronounced “YAY-ger” as in Jagermeister, and a career of that duration in these parts would merit a shot or two in his honor.
The town also is rooting for the success of Vlade Divac, the Kings’ general manager. Let’s hope Divac is right in his estimation of Joerger’s ability to manage DeMarcus Cousins, the centerpiece of the Golden 1 Center floor plan.
Many, perhaps most of us, think the big man has to go. But Divac apparently does not, and his opinion is the one that counts.
Divac obviously thinks Cousins can get in the groove with Joerger. Here’s to hoping the big fella can prove us detractors wrong by leading the team to a winning record and maybe the playoffs.
If Cousins gives Joerger the respect he has not bestowed upon four of his previous five coaches, it can work for the Kings – assuming Cousins gets in shape, stops worrying about the referees and, as the alpha male in the locker room, develops a degree of magnanimity. Leaders need a measure of it.
Team management should know the answer to the Cousins-Joerger equation by the time Paul McCartney clears out of the new arena and turns it over to the Kings to begin their regular season. The truth will be revealed during the rigors of training camp.
A native of the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Joerger describes himself as “Minnesota nice.” He is from Staples, which is about 30 miles west of Brainerd. If you ever saw an account of the area in the movie “Fargo,” you know that a man winds up dead in a wood chipper. Joerger should know the last eight Sacramento coaches had their tenures buzzed into sawdust.
Joerger’s performance chart suggests he is headed for a happier outcome. He did very well in his last outpost – Memphis – where he said he enjoyed fried pickles at B.B. King’s joint on Beale Street. He washed them down with 147 wins in three years.
If Joerger gets 50 wins in each of his first three seasons here, make room for him on the new Walk of Stars at 18th and L.
I’ll be on the first plane smokin’ in the morning.
Dave Joerger, on what he told Vlade Divac about coming to Sacramento to interview for the Kings’ job
Before Memphis, Joerger coached a decade in basketball’s minor leagues – Sioux Falls, S.D., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Bismarck, N.D. In Bismarck, he started as an assistant under Duane Ticknor, whom Joerger cited as his “big-time mentor.” Joerger thought so much of Ticknor that he brought him as an assistant once he became Memphis’ coach. You’d think Joerger would like Ticknor to have his back in Sacramento, too. While he works on that hire, can Joerger also call free-agent point guard Mike Conley, who brought the ball up the court for him on the Grizzlies? In this season of Triple Crown talk, that would be a very nice trifecta for the Sacramento basketball community.
Asked about other basketball people who influenced him, Joerger named several NBA coaches who made their bones diagramming plays on the minor-league grease boards of the upper Midwest. They included Phil Jackson, Flip Saunders, Musselman and Mr. Karl. You may recall Karl’s firing resulted in the Kings placing a help-wanted ad in the papers.
A week ago Saturday, Joerger’s agent called Divac to tell him his client – fired that day by Memphis because of conflicts with the owner – was immediately available for hire. Divac called Joerger that afternoon. Joerger told reporters he informed Divac, “I’ll be on the first plane smokin’ in the morning.”
A private jet from Vivek Ranadive Airlines made the pickup in Memphis and whisked the Joerger family west.
The business-genius owner, a reputed basketball meddler, wisely did not appear at Joerger’s introductory news conference. If Ranadive stays on the down low and lets the professionals do their jobs, there’s a good chance Joerger and Divac will get this right.
Take the over.