The Sacramento Kings formally announced Dave Joerger as the team's new head coach Tuesday.
Joerger commented on several things, ranging from DeMarcus Cousins to what he expects out of the new culture within the organization. The press conference started out on a light note as things usually do with general manager Vlade Divac involved. Divac said he's hopeful that Joerger is going to have a good time in Sacramento over the next four years and Joerger quickly jumped in to say "12" years. Reports indicate Joerger signed a four-year deal.
Interestingly, Joerger made sure to highlight that Vivek Ranadive, who has developed a reputation as a meddling owner, gave Divac the responsibility of leading and making this coaching decision. Divac, who said he expected a coach to get fired during the NBA playoffs while he was conducting a coaching search, called Joerger a great leader and a "beautiful basketball mind," stating that they already have an energy between each other.
Below are some of Joerger's comments on joining the Kings franchise.
The type of culture he wants
He referenced the Kings team that featured Divac and Chris Webber: "Coming out and competing every night and playing in a certain style, it was about the team and the ball movement. They helped each other, they protected each other. They ate dinner together off the court, they spent a lot of time on the road together and that's the kind of culture that we want. Those are the kind of people that we want to be here."
"I think it's about defense. Trust is built on the defensive end of the floor; chemistry is built at the defensive end of the floor. If you are going to come down and shoot the basketball in three seconds and go back and play 21 seconds of defense and one guy is not in or two guys are not all in, it's not going to work. So we'll build our team through the defensive end of the floor while still being able to play fast and get the ball moving as much as possible."
"If you are open and you communicate with guys about what their role is, that's all a player will ever complain about on the backside is 'I didn't know my role.' If you are not going to play me at least tell me, you aren't going to play me."
The style of play
"We played a little slower back in Memphis. Certainly, we still want to push the basketball and try to get easy baskets in transition. Our roster is still in flux as far as which guys are opting in and staying here and all that and so numbers and certainly how the draft comes out and all those things. So we're going to try to get the best players we can and then go from there. So I can't say we'll play one style or another style."
On the instability of the Kings
"The coach and the general manager are absolutely on the same team and going forward like this, and our front office, our coaching staff. That's going to go all the way through the organization. There's not going to be any cracks. You're not going to be able to find Vlade saying something about me, or me say something about Vlade. It's not going to happen. That going forward of the culture that we want to have. The excellence that we are going to demand of our coaches and our staff, what Vlade demands of his people. That goes then to our team and there's a certain way we expect people will behave and perform. What we will not allow and what we will not tolerate and we expect, and you better be in the middle or, we're committed to doing this the right way, we'll go in a different direction."
Divac, in a funny moment, broke in by saying, "In California, they have the food chain In and Out, we've got 'In or Out.'"
His message to DeMarcus Cousins
"Same thing as it will be for all of our team. These are the things we expect from you, if you are on this side we are going to win more games. If you surpass our expectations of performance and how you carry yourself as a great player, or an average player on this team or a role player. And then there is on this side of the limits of what we will not accept and what we won't tolerate."
Coaching players considered to be "problems"
"I've had great relationships with players throughout the course of the years. Some of them have been the people that win citizenship awards and some of them have been people that maybe on the outside think that these guys are tough guys to coach. And I've had great relationships with all those guys and I would go to the mat for any of those guys, and so looking forward to building those relationships with our guys."
"Zach [Randolph] as a young player and what he has matured into, how giving he is in the community, what a team guy he is. Just as he got older and he realized some things. People said some tough things about Zach, he went through some tough times early in his career and you look at what he's been able to do with his career and I'm certainly hoping Zach goes to the Hall of Fame. I've got a lot of love for him and just to watch the growth of him as a human being is just fantastic and that carried over on the court, I thought.
His coaching staff
"One of the things I like about what Vlade has done is kind of bring back some of the family, and I'm a big fan of Rick Adelman. I know, obviously, Vlade and Peja Stojakovic are and I think that consulting with him is important and bringing back some people that have had touches of when this was really rolling, I think is very positive. So that's all I am going to say about candidates that we're perhaps look at for assistant coaching positions."
What success in his first year would look like
"What we can control is to develop the players as much as we can and we're looking forward to that. The guys have already been working out .... I think that's a positive sign that guys don't want to wait until July to get it up and get it going. They're already focused on a fresh start, a new start going forward. And then I just about never put a number on what is success and what is not success. For us to take steps forward in how we play hopefully will go forward for the next five or six years. What we're looking for with the ball movement and the sacrifice that guys are willing to make to play at the defensive end of the floor. That will define for what we're going to do here for the next five or six years." (This was the second time Joerger referenced a tenure longer than the reported four-year deal.)
Joerger described himself as a Midwestern, country guy who is hard-working and loyal.
"Those are the things that mean the most to me. Stand up for one another and help each other. I think I'm generally 'Minnesota nice' as we call it. There's certainly boundaries in this business, but those are the biggest qualities that mean the most to me, what you say do and do what you say," Joerger said.
That sounds a lot like something Cousins would say in terms of loyalty and doing what you say you are going to do.
When the coaching staff was brought up, Divac initially said he would be letting the entire staff from last season go, giving Joerger the ability to hire his entire staff. There was some clarification afterward. A Kings representative informed me that Chad Iske and John Welch are the coaches who will not be retained. Some reports indicate Corliss Williamson and Nancy Lieberman will be retained. Stay tuned on that.