My frustration with this organization has increased greatly in recent weeks. Aside for the "issues" this team has had off the court, they have looked equally as bad at times, if not worse, on the court. Many of us, myself included, were giddy about the cap space this team had available for spending this past summer. Obviously the free agent period was shortened because of the lockout and whatnot but I think it is fair to say that the Kings didn't lure any big name difference makers via free agency. They did sign Chuck Hayes, a veteran bruiser known for his defense and did acquire J.J. Hickson and John Salmons via trade. The draft was decent enough judging by the early returns on Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas. That's all well and good. This organization, however, is not.Let's first examine what this team has going for it. They do have some nice, young players in Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson, Jimmer Fredette, Isaiah Thomas, etc. Those are players that will keep this team from bottom feeding for a while. Add to that some solid veterans like John Salmons, Chuck Hayes, Francisco Garcia, etc. and you'd think this team wouldn't be that far away. But you'd be wrong. We all fall into the trap of potential and promise. "Oh it's just growing pains" or "Don't worry, they'll get it eventually." That's fine for a while but sooner or later things have to change, or else the cycle of potential and promise just repeats itself. Granted, this management regime has built winning teams in the past and they do have a successful track record. To what degree that was luck or a product of a "different NBA", is up for debate. What we do know is that this team hasn't had a winning record since the 2005-2006 season. There has also been a coaching carousel during that span and many of us, myself included, want that to continue with the firing of Paul Westphal. However, the best teams in the league are the ones who have coaching stability. A successful team can't have 5 different philosophies in 5 years and hope to make any kind of progress. Unfortunately, the Kings haven't found that stability and continue to lose. It is a very hard cycle to break and it does take some luck, but it also takes some effort.
Effort is the thing that concerns me with this organization. It starts from the top and works its way down. The Maloofs showed virtually no effort to keep this team in Sacramento. If the owners show no effort, why would any one else be inclined to? Geoff Petrie showed some effort in Free Agency but he ultimately lost out. Losing out on marquee players is unacceptable. Yes, Sacramento is a small market and doesn't naturally attract big name Free Agents. It is, however, a good basketball city that has had some very successful teams. To only lure Chuck Hayes, a questionable signing at that, is like bringing home a report card to mom with all C's and asking, "Is this okay?" No, it's not okay! What in the world would ever make you think that was ok? That would be her likely response if she held you to any standards whatsoever. It's time we start holding this organization accountable for their actions, or lack there of. Losing is unacceptable in any sport, let alone five years in a row. Rebuilding does not and should not take more than 3 years, especially when the cap space is available.
Then there are the pieces to this "rebuilding" puzzle the Kings have assembled. I do think that most of these players will turn out to be solid pros, some already are. The frustrating part is that they don't mesh together like one would expect them to. I think the blame for that falls on Paul Westphal. Can we please execute more than two pick and rolls in a game?! I'm pretty sure some high school teams have better fundamentals than the Kings do. I don't care if we shoot 35% from the field, but to do that on individualized plays and low-percentage jumpers over-and-over is ridiculous. This team clearly has talent but even the most positive people will get demoralized eventually when the Kings continue to look as bad as they have in recent games. Getting back to the effort concept, DeMarcus Cousins needs an attitude change. Nowhere else would anybody get a pass like he does for his negative attitude. The only cure for him is winning, and that isn't going to happen anytime soon in Sacramento. The best solution to the situation is to try to win now or trade the big fella. Winning now requires more talent to be added to the roster. This team has gotten beat by arguably 4 playoff teams so far. Unless something changes, that will continue to be the case for the rest of the season. If you think it's bad now, imagine what a another season of losing will do to this franchise. That is why it isn't okay to be content with this team, no matter the potential and promise they have.
I honestly wouldn't care if Geoff Petrie made a blockbuster trade. The reason why I wouldn't care is because it would show me that he is actively trying to improve this team. Dale Tallon is my favorite General Manager in all of sports. He is the current GM of the Florida Panthers, an NHL team. Tallon is known for his aggressiveness in acquiring players in a win now approach to management. He took over as GM of the Panthers on May 17, 2010. The Panthers were the third worst team statistically that season in the NHL. Last year, the Panthers regressed by four points to 73 points but remained the third worst team in the league. This past summer is when Tallon really took matters into his own hands. He said enough is enough and he went out and got proven players to rebuild the Panthers into the proud franchise that the City of Sunrise deserves. He acquired nine players: Sean Bergenheim, Matt Bradley, Tomas Fleischmann, Marcel Goc, Tomas Kopecky, Scottie Upshall, Kris Versteeg and Brian Campbell. He also traded away David Booth, a player with high potential, for two veterans in Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm. To quote Tallon: "We treat everybody equally. They better pull up their socks. It doesn't matter if they signed as free agents or not. It's about production, it's about performance and it's about the Panthers. Obviously hockey is different than basketball, but the principle remains the same. You produce, you stay. You don't produce, you leave. Losing is unacceptable. There are ways to speed up the process of rebuilding. Standing pat is like saying "I like to play the lottery." That's essentially what Geoff Petrie is saying. By not winning, he gets to play the lottery every year. But he doesn't have to play the lottery. We as fans continue to pay for Petrie's lottery tickets.