Last week, Ziller linked to a piece over at TrueHoop which dubs the Kings as the "Kings of Hyperbole". The issue of hyperbole has been brought up in many threads over the last month or so, so this is hardly a new issue. But the issue of hyperbole and how it relates to the Kings is very interesting.
Why do fans get upset? Naturally, we get upset when the team plays poorly. We get upset at losses. We expect the Kings to play better than they have been. But why do we expect that? It all comes back to how the team manages the expectations of the fans, and how the fans manage their own expectations.
Based on this, it seems easy to blame the franchise for building too much excitement before the season. Unfortunately, it isn't that simple.
The Kings marketing department faced a difficult task last offseason. How do you sell tickets, particularly season tickets, coming off a 25-win season? After all, that's their job. Outside of anything else, the marketing department is supposed to sell tickets and get fans excited. I would say they were incredibly successful. The Here We Rise campaign was catchy. The team flaunted two young talents in Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins. When we really look at, did the marketing department do the team a disservice by building the expectations too much? I honestly don't believe they did.
Again, that's what the marketing department is supposed to do. And, if we're honest about it, they highlighted the two most interesting Kings. Even though both DeMarcus and Tyreke have gotten off to slower starts than we would want to see, they are still the two most interesting Kings. If you were to build a new marketing campaign for the Kings, starting today, you'd still highlight Cousins and Evans.
Look at any team in the league, and you'll find a similar build-up this past preseason. Where the problem lies, I my opinion, is with the ownership and the front office.
The ownership and the front office have an inherent responsibility to help build the image of the franchise, so they must support the notion of a competitive team. And in actuality, I'm sure even Petrie and the Maloofs honestly expected more from this squad.
Before the season, while trying to sell tickets, it is understandable that the organization would hype the possible success of this team. However, in the midst of a season like this, clarity is needed. It is difficult for the organization to provide absolute clarity, and I understand this. You can't reveal too much of the game plan, particularly when it comes to trade plans and potential free agent targets. Those aspects must be kept close to the vest. It is also difficult to share a possibly gloomy outlook when the team is trying to secure financing for a new arena.
Where I take issue is the insistence to keep all details close to the vest. The fans who frequent StR are the type of fans who can be patient if we understand the long-term plan. We know there is a plan, as the Maloofs told the Bee last week:
Kings ownership said that despite the woeful play and losing streaks, they're sticking with their plan.
But what is this mystical plan? The organization remains cryptic. The Bee story describes the plan as:
And that sounds great, but it is still nothing more than a vague outline.
The team has been clear that they will not take on large salary obligations before the new CBA is realized. That much we know. But does the organization have a plan for how long before this team should be in playoff contention? That's where the hyperbole hurts. If the organization has a plan to be in contention 3 or 4 years from now, that should be mentioned somewhere along the way.
I have no problem with the team touting DeMarcus and Tyreke. I have no problem with losses right now as a part of future success. I simply have a problem with the complete lack of a clear plan.