Vlade Divac breaks down the progress of the young Kings
There's something different about the Kings this April.
Cynics might point out the most stable aspect of the Kings is their losing ways, which continued with a 27-55 season. But solidifying their leadership could send them in the right direction. And it seems that's where they're headed.
There's no talk of a coaching change, so players will hear the same voice for the third consecutive season, a rare occurrence for the franchise in this decade. The Kings' last coach to stick around more than two seasons was Paul Westphal, who was fired seven games into the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.
For the first time in three years, general manager Vlade Divac isn't actively seeking another executive to help him. The once woefully understaffed scouting department is much better prepared to assess talent leading up to the NBA draft in June.
The continuity extends down to the G League franchise under general manager Anthony McClish, who will be based with his staff in Sacramento instead of Reno with the team moving to Stockton.
This means the Kings can focus on basketball above everything else in what will be another important offseason. This is the most important part of the rebuilding plan.
The results on the court still leave much to be desired, as Sacramento's 12 consecutive seasons of missing the playoffs is now the longest active streak.
And there's no guarantee Divac's plan will work. But it helps that there is a consistent voice and plan over the course of a few seasons. That's been absent since the days of Geoff Petrie and Rick Adelman.
Why does that matter?
The Kings could move up in the draft lottery to the first or second pick, but if the front office is in disarray, top prospects Deandre Ayton or Luka Doncic could flounder.
And the Kings floundered in recent years, failing to build a winning culture after drafting talents such as DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas.
That began to change last offseason, and the Kings must build on that. The Kings were able to bring in top prospects prior to the draft after years of being shunned by elite players.
Part of that could be attributed to Scott Perry, who influenced positive change before leaving to become the New York Knicks' general manager. But Divac is confident his group that includes Brandon Williams and Ken Catanella has the ability to keep things going in the right direction.
The Kings have made trades in each of the last two drafts, and with the team already in place, it's easier to know the vision without someone being added to the mix late.
Catanella joined the Kings two years ago, prior to the draft. Williams joined the Kings last August, after the draft and free agency.
Where in past years the Kings might have struggled to stockpile information on potential draft picks, the scouting department is staffed and more prepared to assist in planning out the draft.
It'll be up to Divac, who has the final say on personnel. That he's known his colleagues for more than a couple months bodes well.
Stability matters. We'll see what Divac does with it.