Prior to last night's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder (which the Kings ultimately went on to lose 104-92), Vivek Ranadivé finally spoke to the media regarding the firing of former Kings head coach Michael Malone. In an excellent piece for ESPN by James Ham, Ranadivé laid out his five point mantra which can be summarized thusly:
1. Kings fans are the best
2. Michael Malone is a good guy
3. Michael Malone was the right guy to have in place last year to help right the ship and build a new culture out of the dysfunction left by the Maloofs.
4. The Kings aren't satisfied with the status quo and felt the offense needed to evolve and be more innovative.
5. The Kings are willing to spend what it takes.
Regarding point four, Ranadivé tells Ham this:
"Defense is great, but we need defense and offense," he said. "We need to go from a rules-based organization, which was important when you had chaos, to a values-based organization. From kind of a programmatic offense, to a read-and-respond, free-flowing offense. I like to use a music metaphor. We had a Sousa marching band, which was needed when there was chaos, but now we need to shift to a jazz band, where people can be individually showcased and improvised. What we need is a jazz director. I think that's the kind of leadership moving forward."
Did someone say jazz?
On a serious note though, there was clearly a difference of philosophies between Malone and management that ultimately led to his dismissal. While the timing of the firing was stunning, if the Kings were intent on making a change it makes sense that they do it as soon as possible.
More worrying about the philosophical differences to me however are the unreasonable expectations this front office and management seems to have for this team. They're dreaming big, which is alright, but it's another thing to tell the media things like this:
#Kings Ranadive Says he expects Kings to reach playoffs with more wins under Corbin then they would have had under Malone.— stevelarge_cbs13 (@largesteven) December 17, 2014
That's just setting yourself up for failure and embarrassment. It takes a lot to make the playoffs in the Western Conference and missing your franchise centerpiece for a large period of time is a setback that is almost insurmountable when you're battling for one of the final spots.
To his credit, Ranadivé isn't afraid of looking stupid in the short term as long as results happen in the long term. As he told James:
"I've been beaten before," he said. "They said that Seattle had won, and we would never be able to keep this team. People said that Cousins was toxic, and he was a cancer and we should get rid of him. They said that Rudy [Gay] was terrible, and even if he came, he would never stay. They said if Isaiah [Thomas] left, the team would fall apart. So look, I'm surrounded by really smart people, and they give me great advice. They call the shots, and I support them."
Only time will tell if Ranadivé comes out smelling like daisies on this decision, but it's now entirely on him and Kings management to provide the results they've promised by raising such lofty expectations.