Last year's midseason meltdown was one of the more depressing and frustrating moments that I've experienced as a fan and I have to imagine it was much the same for members of the franchise itself. Ownership and management vastly overestimated the amount of pull they had with the team as well as the quality of the team itself. Their plan to retool and refocus midseason backfired horribly and ended up making the team worse off. It's no surprise that most of the people involved in making those decisions are now gone.
The Kings are in better hands now, but the whiff of failure still lingers around the franchise. This is something the Kings have brought upon themselves thanks to years and years of ineptitude. Some of it is unfair given that it was a different time and different ownership but it still carries over when nothing seems to change. The Kings have a real chance this year to start turning heads and reinstating Sacramento's good name around the league but they've got to show something first before anyone is going to start believing in them.
In a way, I think last year's mistakes were a good thing in that they might have hastened the learning curve for a young, inexperienced ownership team that was far too hands on. It also got us out from under a front office that seemed to be taking us nowhere and with no coherent plan. And George Karl, for all his faults, is also an excellent coach and a proven winner.
The real test will come when this team faces adversity once more, because you know it's coming. Right now everyone is all smiles but when the season starts, we'll see how strong these bonds really are during the first losing streak, or when Karl says something brash to the media after a poor performance. Will Vivek continue to stay out of Vlade's way if things go poorly for one reason or another? Will the era of rash and quick decisions go away? I hope so. I hope last season left an indelible print on Vivek and everyone else still with the team about what not to do.
Making mistakes is often the only way you can learn. Big mistakes can often lead to big lessons. Let's hope that last year's mistakes prove to be the lesson this team needed before it could start marching forward. I have hope that that's the case, but until it's proven, hope is all I'll have.