The recent meteoric rise of the Kings to a record of 4-4 got me thinking. In lietothegirls' entertaining post, pookeyguru made a comment about how there is no reason to believe that Paul Westphal has gotten through to the team this quickly. My first thought was that pookey's statement was probably accurate. Luckily for you, the reader, I have never allowed a reasonable idea prevent me from exploring a tangent in the complete opposite direction.
What follows is an unscientific exploration of ideas that cannot be proven true or false, only argued endlessly about. I figure a few of us might be nostalgic for these types of arguments now that the offseason is over.Pookey's comment is that there is no reason to believe that Westphal has already gotten through to this team. On the surface, this makes sense. Westphal was hired June 10th, just over 5 months ago. He was able to work with some of the younger members of the roster over the summer, and has only been working with the full roster for a month or two. Hell, he's still trying to figure out what the starting line-up looks like, and has already given up on the Desmond Mason expiriment.
Pookey is right, there is no reason to believe that the team has had a chance to fully adapt to Westphal and his system. Not yet. No way.
And yet the team just won three straight games. Without Francisco Garcia. Without Kevin Martin.
Obviously the players have made strides since last season, and the additions of Tyreke Evans and Omri Casspi have helped the team considerably.
Nonetheless, it defies explanation. Until now. I present to you my random coaching theory, which includes giving credit to Eric Musselman, Reggie Theus, and Kenny Natt. Before you throw your computer out a window, hear me out. I promise I'm not giving them credit in the traditional sense of the word.
This roster has been devastated by inconsistency. Rick Adelman was the last reputable coach of this team, and that roster bears little resemblance to the current team. Martin spent two seasons under Adelman, Garcia one, and Kenny Thomas was here too but he doesn't really count.
Aside from that, this roster has been "coached" by Muss, Theus, and Kenny Natting Natt. During the last three seasons, we often lamented that there was talent on this roster, and yet the wins could not be found.
My theory is simple. My theory is that this team finally has a bonafide NBA coach, and we're seeing the difference. This team had more talent than a 17-win team. The team may not have had time to fully adjust to the system, but even something as basic as a knowledgeable coach can make this kind of a difference.
So how do Muss, Theus and Natt get any credit from this? Well, I think the coaching carousel broke down existing habits. If a coach takes over for another experienced coach, he needs to get the players to buy into his system, and to move away from the habits of the previous system. This takes time. But as anyone who watched the Kings over the past three seasons knows, the Kings haven't had a system! They're a blank canvas. They're a block of unsculpted clay. They were ready for a system. So even if the new system isn't completely in place, there's something.
We'll see over the course of the rest of the season if I'm right. I hope I am, but I don't know for sure. This is just an idea.
Even if I'm wrong, I'll still enjoy the fact that right now we're .500, and that the team has played well enough for me to even consider such a theory.