What is wrong with the Kings? Tonight’s game against the Knicks demonstrated everything that is wrong with the Kings in a single game despite the win. In short there is absolutely no consistency from anyone in this organization. What drove me nuts about Westphal is driving me nuts with Smart now. Do they think of the 82 game regular season as just an extended preseason? How do they not know a rotation by the start of the first game let alone a few months into the season? What other team does what the Kings do in the league? We sit and start players on a weekly basis regardless of injury. The substitution patterns are awful and the way players are handled is strange to say the least. So here is my analysis and I will give both my hope and what the likely outcome will be in my opinion.
GM – Petrie is the one to blame for this mess. He pick and signed the players and the coach. It has been six years and it has not even come close to working. His last few moves have been baffling to say the least. Of the three main parts of player decisions (draft, sign, trade) Petrie gets an B in the draft, and D in signing, and an F in trade.
What should happen : Petrie is fired and a young aggressive basketball mind takes his place. Mike Zarren from the Celtics would be my choice.
What will Happen : Petrie will finish out the last year on his contract and walk away at the end of the season. The Maloofs will promptly put Shariff Adul-Rahim in place. Yikes!
COACHING – Smart is just like his team, wildly inconsistent. Just as I stated above he seems to make new decisions on playing time, starters and reserve roles on a game by game basis. Not a good way to let players develop roles, get comfortable in a system, and establish a foundation. True his players are inconsistent too, but what comes first, the chicken or the egg?
What should happen? The new GM needs to be able to bring in his own guy. Out of the coaches that are available my vote would be for Jerry Sloan. I think he would be a stable influence in the organization and there’s no question he knows how to coach.
What will happen – Smart will finish off the season the same way it is going now, up and down and all over. Depending on what kind of mini streak he finishes the season with will determine if he is back or not.
PLAYERS – The only player who is consistent is Jason Thompson. Every single other player is a mystery from game to game, wait a minute let me rephrase that, every Kings player is inconsistent from half to half. Even Jimmer who has made a huge jump will have out of world quarters then disappear in the next half. I think part of the inconsistent play is due to the inconsistent coaching. The players would settle if they knew what their place was. How does Outlaw go from DNP to starting to bench role player back to DNP in a six game stretch. I know injuries and in our case suspensions have a role, but look at the guard rotation the entire year, it has been a mess!
What should happen? – Where do I start? It’s hard to evaluate a team if the line ups keep changing. I think if the coach can settle on an 8-9 man rotation on this team it would make it easier to target who to trade and who to keep. I used to think we needed a SF, but I have to say I really like how Salmons has played this year (I never thought I’d write that after last season). I would be curious to see a starting back court of Jimmer and Thomas too. Where I see the biggest area of need is the front court where we are a terrible rebounding team with very little in the way of a shot blocker. Right at this moment if I could, I would try two trades to improve this team. The first trade would send DMC and Thorton to Detroit for Monroe, Drummond, and take on Prince’s terrible contract. Detroit is going nowhere and I think they will look past DMC’s history at a chance at his upside. They get a reliable shooter in Thorton and getting rid of Prince’s bad contract will sweeten the deal for them. I’d even throw in a 2nd round pick if I had to. The next deal I would make is to Celtics. The Celtics would get Chuck Hayes, Tyreke Evans, and Aaron Brooks in exchange for Rondo and Melo. The Celtics would get a veteran PG and a player in Tyreke they really like for the future. They also get a veteran defensive presence in Hayes, who I think would flourish in Boston. We get an all-star PG and another low post player to develop.
What will happen? Petrie will make one or two moves. I am in fear of what they will be based on his track record. I believe the big move will be neither trading DMC or Tyreke though. I think it will be moving Thorton for a big man. If I had to guess I would say Thorton to Cleveland for Tyler Zeller and Luke Walton. It would solve our crowded backcourt and gives us another young big I guess. But if that is our big move I will be scratching my head and be thinking, ‘how does this guy have a GM job?’ I hope if that happens he at least gets the 1st round pick the Cavs stole in that terrible Hickson deal Petrie made, but I don’t give Petrie that much credit anymore.
In my dreams by the end of the season here is what the team would look like:
GM : Mike Zarren
Coach : Sloan
PG : Rondo
SG : Jimmer
SF : Salmons
PF : Thompson
C : Monroe
Thomas, Johnson, Drummond, Prince, and Robinson
Fab and Honeycutt
A team like that would be a playoff team next season in my opinion. However realistically here is how it will end up.
End of 2012
GM : Petrie
Coach : Smart
PG : Thomas or Brooks depending on Smart’s feeling at the moment
SG : Evans
SF : Salmons
PF : Thompson
C : DMC
Bench : Jimmer, Robinson, Garcia, Outlaw, Zeller, Walton, Johnson, and Hayes
This team will finish with a 25 win record and I bet will end on a hot streak saving Smart’s job. Petrie will retire and Shariff will take over. We will match a max deal for Tyreke at the last minute. All summer long we will hear how hard all the players are working hard to build on the impressive finish to the season. With the beginning of the season starting with a DMC suspension, an Evans injury, Smart’s bad rotations and despite Robinson’s vast improvement in play he rides the bench with Jimmer and Thomas while Brooks and Hayes begin the season as starters as Smart elects to start the vets over his promising youth. Smart only makes it 12 games as DMC blows up and we start the season 2-10. The rumors heat up about the Kings moving to Alaska while Stern approves as Russia is basketball riches and after all you can see Russia from Alaska (hehe).