Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

November 9, 2008
Opening tip: Would it really be so bad if Chris Mullin left the Warriors?

Warriors (2-4) at Kings (2-4)

Scoring: Kings 14th (98), Warriors fifth (101.7).
Shooting: Kings second (48.5 percent), Warriors 25th (42.3).
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.5), Warriors 23rd (102.8).
Shooting defense: Kings 27th (49.3 percent), Warriors 22nd (46.6).
Rebound differential: Kings 18th (minus-1.2), Warriors tied for 19th (minus-2).

The links: Warriors coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle, Contra Costa Times and San Jose Mercury News.
The almanac: On this date in 1946, George Mikan, the first superstar big man, made his professional debut for the Chicago American Gears in a National Basketball League game against the Oshkosh All-Stars. On this date in 1983, David Stern was named to succeed Larry O'Brien as Commissioner. Stern took office Feb. 1, 1984. On this date in 1989, the Bucks beat the SuperSonics 155-154 in five overtimes, the longest game since the advent of the 24-second clock in 1954 and tying the second-longest ever. Seattle's Dale Ellis set a record by playing 69 of a possible 73 minutes. On this date in 1993, Micheal Williams of the Timberwolves had his record-setting streak of 97 consecutive made free throws end with a miss at San Antonio.

__________


Chris Mullin and the Warriors: the non-Shakespearean, non-palace intrigue version.


Take away the famous name and the recognition factor from great years as a player and the deserved popularity for time as a small forward and later the front-office work that rejuvenated a slumped-over franchise and there is a case to be made for a personnel boss who has earned shaky ground. Not in this unfortunate, mishandled manner, but there is a case.

Agreed to terrible contracts with Adonal Foyle, Derek Fisher, Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy, which took years of buyouts (Foyle) or trades (Fisher, Murphy, Dunleavy) to untangle and that are still being untangled. Stephen Jackson was a great acquisition in the Dunleavy-Murphy deal with the Pacers, after all, but Al Harrington is a Warriors problem still waiting to be resolved.

Drafted Ike Diogu ninth in 2005, Patrick O'Bryant ninth in '06, Brandan Wright eighth in '07 (officially a Bobcats selection, but made on behalf of the Warriors in a pre-arranged trade for Jason Richardson). Diogu and O'Bryant were huge misses and Wright with an important role in a game is a major event.

Hired Mike Montgomery as coach.

There have also been hugely successful moves. Baron Davis from New Orleans for Dale Davis and Speedy Claxton, Jackson from the Pacers, hiring Don Nelson as coach, Andris Biedrins at No. 11 in the 2004 draft, Monta Ellis at No. 40 in '05. Mullin has done a lot of commendable work.

But that's a lot of bad decisions in four-plus seasons, against the backdrop of the current outcry over his uncertain future as vice president of basketball operations. And in retrospect, he may not even have done that well. It had to be more than a coincidence that the salary cap was brought under control after the arrival of Nelson, a former successful GM himself, and now, in light of recent developments, comes the consideration that streamlining the payroll may have been a matter of president Robert Rowell asserting more control.

It's a perception thing. Of course it's a perception thing. Everything with the Warriors is these days.

One more for the perception game:

If the exact transactions came with the signature of Dave Twardzik or Garry St. Jean at the bottom, would so many be taking up for the personnel boss?

Mullin hides out even during good times, the way the face of a franchise never should, so no surprise that there have been few flat-top sightings outside the shadows as the Warriors front office remains in crisis mode. Mullin stories mostly read like obituaries now, he has not broken radio silence in weeks to refute any reference to a lost duel with Rowell on basketball matters, and all involved are obviously accepting of that image as fact.

It's their little melodrama -- created, directed and staged by the execs. Rowell undercuts Mullin. The new face of the roster, Jackson, deals with Rowell, not Mullin, on an extension. Mullin, with weeks of opportunities, never once says he'd like to remain a Warrior beyond 2008-09, the final season of his contract. Mullin's top lieutenant is fired, reportedly for the insubordination in a vague explanation easily interpreted as the latest Rowell strong-arm message to Mullin over control. The replacement is a close friend of coach Don Nelson, giving the impression that Nelson is also greasing Mullin's shoes in a master plan for power.

(Not so. Nelson doesn't need to do any back-room maneuvering: Mullin has already been gutted. If Nellie wanted his guy lined up as a successor, that's just fallout.)

Meanwhile, Ellis is out with an ankle injury, Harrington wants to be traded and Nelson wants to trade him, there is no dependable point guard, and the Warriors have already lost twice to the Grizzlies. They will be welcomed to Arco Arena tonight with great joy. The Kings get to be the stable operation for a change.

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