This was supposed to be the year: The year the Kings had the right coach. The year center DeMarcus Cousins stopped crying to the refs. The year the team had the right mix of players on the court.
The year the team proved itself worthy of the castle that will be Golden 1 Center.
But with only a few months left in the regular season, and the finishing touches being made on the new arena in downtown Sacramento, the Kings have proven themselves to be a royal mess – yet again.
They’ve lost eight of their last nine games, including the last four in spectacularly miserable fashion. Instead of talk of the playoffs, there’s talk of why Kings players are letting even mediocre opponents score upwards of 120 points a game. The Kings rank among the worst defensive teams in the NBA.
Then there’s the latest drama over coach George Karl.
On Monday, the Kings appeared ready to fire him – a move that would’ve made Karl the third coach to exit the NBA franchise in just two seasons. Talk about an embarrassing turnover rate, even for professional sports. League sources told The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones that Karl wouldn’t have a job beyond next week’s All-Star break.
But then, in an abrupt about-face, Kings general manager Vlade Divac said Tuesday that he would keep Karl as coach because firing him isn’t a solution to the team’s problems. “George is our coach,” Divac said in a statement, “and we’re collectively working through our issues.”
The clock is ticking. We understand that building a winning team takes time. But, at this point, it is time that Sacramento doesn’t have.
When Golden 1 Center opens its doors in the fall, fans who’ve paid good money for seats will want to see a Kings team that, if it’s not winning every game, is at least moving in the right direction. A team of players and coaches who are organized and working together rather than second-guessing one another.
The Kings’ owners aren’t the only ones with a lot riding on this team. Something has to be done – and done soon – about the chaos on the Kings’ court.