82 games, six months gone and it is time to discuss how the team makes the grade as seen from my eyes. A full report card is too long so I will break this down into 4 parts. The Core, The Near Core, The Here Todays, The Coaching Staff and Front Office. Today, The Coaching Staff and Front Office
An exciting start ended once the new calender arrived. 2010 ended much like last season’s 2009 in the win column. But this is a different team. This team plays through adversity. They don’t win, but it is not for want of trying. Ultimately, all coaches are judged, fairly or not, on wins. That said, it was smart to keep the current staff in place – they are good with the young guys and this team is the among the youngest in the League. The draft and the Vegas Summer League (VSL) will be of patrcular important for this coaching staff. With just two core players, expecting wins is a bit unfair. If you don’t think Coach Paul is even average, given the 3rd worst record in the League, look at his contempeories: Saunders, O’Brian, Hughes, Kuester, Jordan, Rambis, KiKi, Neliie on the talent end. Would you want any of these guys in his place? I have to admit some bias, as I really enjoy this guy and I am happy he was given a contract extension. C+ (B)
The Front Office: The Kings hit a grand slam with expected Rookie of the Year and future superstar Tyreke Evans. Casspi petered out in the second half of the year but should be a fine addition, possibly a future starter but not there yet. Extending Coach Westphal and Carl Landry are highlights. The lowlight was the handling of former face ot the franchise and NBA ambassador Kevin Martin. The radio influence and the coaching interaction may be the outward problem but the responsibiity goes to the Front Office and their stance – often too quiet and uncharateristically lacking in class. The involvement of Dan Fegan and a lot of negative press allude to a contentious undercurrent. It is one of the biggest disappointments of the season. It seems that every off season has been “the biggest off season ever” but I will still repeat the sentiment. A high draft pick, no coaching search and a large chunk of money need to translate into more wins ; factor in the 2011 CBA and it is a tough row to hoe. I like the positioning of the available cash as much as those Cisco, Udrih and Nocioni contracts stand out. With too much cash (yes, there is such a thing) the Kings would be forced to spend no matter what. Improvement and playing time for the young’uns was the agenda and they held to it. C+ (B)
Ownership: Overall, the Kings ownership is making the effort to bring fans back to ARCO, working on Arena deals, ticket packages, Fan incentives and dropping John Thomas from the Front Office. The product is still not up to snuff. Given a B for effort. B (B+)
FINAL GRADE: D+ (C-)
An eight game improvement from last season which is welcome step up. Unfortunately, the second half grade this season was D- (as in dismal). the Kings still sit on the lower rungs of the NBA ladder. Hopes run high, but winning 1/3 of their games leaves much to be desired. The addition of the expected RoY in Tyreke Evans and the mid season acquisition of Carl Landry make the Kings a bit more promising but the second half of the season had the team in the bottom 3 of the League. This year was about improvement and that gives the Kings a below average grade as the Kings still have one foot on the cellar floor.