From a young age, we as humans are taught to be responsible for our actions. Whether it is that homework assignment that we chose to copy from someone else or the test we failed because we chose not to study, we are all accountable. Heck I'm accountable for being a fan of a team that hasn't had a winning season in nearly 6 years. It's not about me, however, it's about this team and the self-respect that they need to acquire to become a winning team sooner rather than later.It all started after Keith Smart took over the team a few months ago after Paul Westphal was fired. I think most would agree that Smart has been a good coach for the most part. He has gotten the most out of players like DMC and Isaiah while working to create an identity for this team. That's all fine and dandy. Unfortunately, this team is still restricted by the fact that they play little to no defense on most nights. This causes them to get beat by teams that they shouldn't get beaten by to put it simply. Teams like the Golden State Warriors and the New Jersey Nets, more specifically. Perhaps the most frustrating part about it is how easily these teams are able to score the ball against the Kings. Guys like Klay Thompson and Anthony Morrow have feasted on the Kings' inability to guard the interior which leads to open shots on the perimeter. It's not rocket science how the Kings are getting beat nor is the solution to the problem. It all amounts to individual accountability.
Accountability is a hard concept for a young team to grasp. Keith Smart talks about how this team is just learning how to "play for each other." How in the world are the players supposed to be personally accountable if they can't even play for each other? They're not, at least not yet. We as fans have to remember that this team is still very young. They don't have a starter who is over 25 when Tyreke starts at SF. Veteran teams such as the San Antonio Spurs understand the concept of personal accountability. They damn well better understand it or they won't be playing many minutes under fiery coach Gregg Popovich. The Kings nearly beat the Spurs the other night solely based on talent alone. Sacramento hasn't won championships or even made the playoffs as the Spurs have over the last decade. San Antonio has one key advantage over Sacramento however which is in the area of veteran leadership. They have guys like Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan who are battle-tested and who have winning attitudes. More importantly, Parker, Ginobili and Duncan all play for each other and claim responsibility when things don't go as planned. The Kings have shown some progression in that area when Tyreke Evans volunteered to start a recent game on the bench in favor of John Salmons. That kind of act comes with maturity, which is slow-moving, as the Kings hope to become like the Spurs someday.
The accountability that is required on the basketball court doesn't just end there, however. This ingredient starts at the top of the organization and is supposed to be passed down. Unfortunately the Kings don't have the greatest owners in the world with regards to personal accountability. Hell, if Kevin Johnson hadn't stood up for what he wanted, the Kings would be playing in Anaheim right now. Luckily the Kings appear to be staying in Sacramento (although one never knows). Anyway, the Maloofs aren't the most accountable owners which leads to unaccountable personnel, namely Geoff Petrie. Look, I really respect what Geoff Petrie has done with this organization. He was here with the highs of the early 2000s and he's still here with the current lows. What Petrie has failed to do is establish any sort of expectations for this team. There comes a point where expectations have to be set or else failure will always remain acceptable. I get that he hasn't had the best luck with some of his draft picks, free agent signings, trades, hirings, etc. What he hasn't done is owned up to his mistakes and said "You know what, I was wrong." Admitting to your mistakes allows you to move on in life. Instead, Petrie has attempted to make half-ass excuses (both literally and figuratively) while continuing to manage a lottery-bound team. The more you play the lottery, the more you might win but the odds are strongly against you so it will probably take a lot longer than you want it to. The Kings have hit on a few of their draft picks in recent years (see: Tyreke, DMC and Isaiah) but have missed on more than a few. Once again, I don't care that Petrie hasn't gotten lucky with some of his personnel decisions, what I care about is that he is proactive in his approach to making this team better, which is what he has yet to show.
And so here ends another disappointing season with the Kings headed to the lottery yet again. We can only hope that the Kings strike gold and land another impact player that this team so desperately needs. Odds are the lottery will be unkind to Sacramento as it has been in the past and we will be stuck picking from a group of mediocre players who will only make the team marginally better at best (see Jimmer). But things don't have to be this way. There is always a choice in life that comes with a consequence. We usually make the decisions that we are the most comfortable with because they usually have the most reliable outcomes. What we often fail to do is take the risks that have the potential to yield much more reward than 10 comfortable decisions. We are afraid to fail in other words. Well, I'm sorry to say it but this team has already failed. They have failed on the basketball court, in the front office, in the box office and almost in their effort to fund a new arena and keep the team in Sacramento. Yeah there is still time to improve this team but the clock is ticking. Kevin Johnson stepped up along with all of you other noble supporters to keep this team in Sacramento. Now let's see if you can have that same kind of accountability with regards to this franchise. I encourage you to not settle for this losing any longer. I'm not advocating "Fire Petrie" or "Fire Smart" movements. What I am encouraging you to do is to be personally accountable as a fan of this franchise and seek ways in which we can bring winning basketball back to Sacramento. I'm pretty sure all of us can agree that these past 6 years have been utterly disgusting and painful to watch. Let's take the initiative and seek the answers to foster the success of this team that we so proudly support!