Joe Maloof appeared on The Rise Guys this morning. You can find the audio here. You always expect the Maloof Brothers to be incredibly candid, and this interview wasn't an exception. Whitey Gleason asked Joe about Reggie Theus' future. I transcribed the most striking parts:
I think what we need from Reggie: he's gotta develop a system ... a offensive-defensive system, like Adelman had. You know, if we had an injury, Adelman would plug somebody in that position and go on. The machine would continue to work. So I think that's what we're looking from Reggie. [...]
He's gotta get better defensively. He and that Chuck need to protect that three-point line. They've got to get better defensively. We're in last place, close to last in defense, and close to last in turnovers again. He's got get a system. And if he's gets that system and we have confidence in him then he's got a bright future with us. If he doesn't get that system, then you know ... then we better try to get one quickly.
Maloof also talked about playing the kids, and later commended the team's competiveness (without mentioning Theus). But clearly, Maloof isn't pleased with the coach's performance.
The talk about needing a system is extraordinarily close to what I argued last week, that no idea or philosophy drives this team. I suggested Thursday that Theus might be able to hang his hat on a post-oriented, aggressive style. Clearly, that "style" a) hasn't captured Maloof's imagination, and b) doesn't translate to defense. But this is also pretty negative, harsh treatment from Maloof. Imagine a caller into Grant Napear's show made the same comments Joe Maloof just did. You think that caller would get a morsel of agreement from Napear or Mike Lamb? Maloof is basically parrotting what the town's most negative (but still realistic) fans think about Theus.
Of course, this is great news for Kings fans. Clearly, if the so-called "system" never arrives, Theus is done in Sacramento. His contract is up this summer. With this attitude, Maloof ain't offering a new one. To keep his job, Theus needs to deliver a basketball philosophy and implement it. And that'd be an excellent thing to happen! We want Reggie to succeed, because the only way Reggie succeeds is if the Kings succeed. I would love nothing more than for Theus to implement whatever system is kicking around his office/cranium, the Kings to soak it up like bread, and Sacramento to host a couple playoff games. If he can't get the team in order enough to have an identity, then I'm (more than) OK with another new coach come June. (And something tells me allofasudden that new coach won't be Chuck Person. Yikes.)
Despite a 4-5 record we didn't expect, the Maloofs aren't satisfied. It's refreshing to finally see ownership so unbelievably in tune with the fans, despite the ease with which they could parrot national talking points about how Theus makes his players overachieve. The Maloofs are demanding more from their employees. And as Theus was their hire (Geoff Petrie consented, but clearly wanted Terry Porter or Brian Shaw), this also shows they are willing to admit mistakes, if need be. There are a lot of reasons for the Maloofs to sugarcoat the Theus era, and a clear opportunity with the team overachieving during his reign. But they are being brutally honest, and we should commend them for it.