The outstanding Tom Ziller wrote a nice piece about Demarcus' latest monumentally immature stupid flagrant 2. While agree with his sentiment, that Demarcus needs to stop this, I'd like to take a moment to make sure blame is laid where it belongs.
If a dude gets drunk out of his mind at a bar, stumbles out of the place fumbling for his keys then on his way home drives through a nursing home's community room during movie night is the driver at fault? 100%--indeed, I think our country is too lenient on drunk driving. But is anyone else? Yes, the bartender shares some liability.
So who else would I blame? (Please read the whole paragraph before responding to this next sentence:) In this game situation I think the dude playing the role of bartender is Keith Smart. I honestly think he is as much to blame as Demarcus. It's not that Keith Smart is the drunk in this dark metaphor; it's that he handed a stumbling inebriated idiot--a man he knows to be an alcoholic with a history of drunk driving--the keys to his car.
Who was driving? Demarcus. No question. But why was he able to drive his car into that nursing home? Because Keith Smart let him.
But I think it goes back to management, and he's where I'll digress a bit.
Anybody else remember a petulant, ill tempered guy with a bad temper and Hall of Fame talent playing for the Kings? In the post? A guy so mature when traded to the Kings for the first Sacramento legend he said he wouldn't show up? Yep, our very own Chris Webber.
Why did Webber succeed where Demarcus is struggling? First off, CWebb was sometimes an All-Star, sometimes a liability. You don't shop Hall of Fame talent just because. Yet Sacramento was CWebb's THIRD team. Why did he succeed?
First off, he had an outstanding respected coach who said, "I don't care what you've done in the past, I want you here and I'll judge you on what you do from now on." Adelman hasn't won a championship, but he is one of the winningest coaches in basketball history and well respected by his peers and players, as well as players around the league. Never you mind ESPN has never given him enough love in my opinion. He had taken Portland to the finals: TWICE. He lost to possibly the greatest Pistons team ever--you know, the one Jordan kept losing to, and then Jordan's Bulls. No shame in that. Adelman's presence demanded respect.
Our current coach doesn't even have a consistent rotation.
Then there is Vlade. I'm betting the few who read this have no freaking clue how good Vlade was. You'll say, yes I do! He was my favorite King. Or I've been a Kings fan my whole life and loved Vlade. I'm sure that's true. But Vlade was on the DOWNSIDE of his career in Sacramento. He was an AGING veteran.
First off, if you haven't watched the 30 for 30 documentary "Once Brothers" do so right now. It doesn't matter if you like Vlade, like basketball or just like good documentaries and hate basketball. That is an outstanding documentary. But my point is this: How good was Vlade? The original Dream Team was formed to stop Vlade Divac and his Yugoslavian teammates in the Olympics. Period. And if Slobodan Milosevic hadn't gone into a homicidal purge it is possible the Dream Team would have lost. Not likely, but possible.
How good was Vlade? He was drafted by the Lakers to succeed arguably the greatest Laker of all time. Now, I don't think Kareem is the greatest Laker, but I grew up when his career was winding down and it was Showtime in LA. Look at Kareem's stats. Vlade was surrounded by some of the greatest players of all time on a team that forced network TV to stop airing the NBA Finals on TAPE DELAY.
So, when Vlade sized up CWebb, and CWebb sized up Vlade, did Vlade even need to mention his credentials? Did CWebb sit down and say yes sir? Did Vlade just say, "Son, sit down and listen. You have all the talent in the world and you'd be last off the bench on the team I was just on because you are a ****ing knuckle head."
Demarcus has who to look up to on the roster? John Salmons? Probably his best bet is frankly the Pizza Guy. And who does he have to look up to on the coaching staff? Anybody? (No offense to Bobby Jackson--one of my all time favorites).
And whose fault is this? I know the media and most fans would blame Petrie. But when Petrie had the second highest payroll in basketball CWebb and Vlade where on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Maybe it's the front office. I'm willing to accept that.
But me, like all things Kings since around 2006, I put the blame for this at the feet of the people needing to do a cash call to make payroll. The people who intentionally put a poison pill in the transaction to sell the Kings just to take a fat **** on the city that put their names on the map. The Maloofs.
Back to my possibly offensive analogy about drunk driving and nursing homes: Demarcus is the ****ing idiot with a problem who did something inexcusable. Smart is the bartender who handed him the keys. Also, inexcusable. And The ****ing Maloofs are the ones who let Smart run the bar even though he has a repeated history of showing he cannot be trusted to do so.
One day, Demarcus will turn it around. He'll start making All Star Game after All Star Game. His jersey will hang in the rafters of some NBA arena and this will be a footnote in his history. God let it be on the day he retires, his jersey goes up in the rafters in Sacramento.