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Let’s talk about Dave Joerger

A coach having bad habits doesn’t mean a coach should be fired.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Dave Joerger does some very frustrating things as a coach. He still isn’t starting Marvin Bagley III, he still does hockey lineup changes rather than staggering his starters to keep his best players in the game throughout, he tried to force Bogdan Bogdanovic into the starting lineup in a way that backfired badly. These issues with Joerger’s coaching aren’t really a debate. But a section of Kings fans are lashing out and saying those frustrating habits mean that Joerger should be fired. With that in mind, let’s put this as simply as possible:

Firing Dave Joerger is a blatantly stupid idea until there’s a realistic upgrade for the Kings to hire.

You want to upgrade the Kings’ head coach? Awesome. I am all for it IF you can convince me that you’re hiring an upgrade. But in all the discussion of firing Joerger I’ve yet to hear anyone suggest a single realistic candidate who would be a surefire upgrade over what the Kings already have. Even if you’re arguing for a coach that’s a lateral move under the premise that their coaching style could magically unlock another level for the Kings, that’s not enough for me. It’s too much risk to take for a completely uncertain reward.

There are coaching candidates out there, of course. The Kings could hire Jason Kidd or Mark Jackson. They’re both terrible coaches, but they’re available to be hired! The Kings could get Ty Lue! Anyone confident he’s the coach to take that next step? No? Anyone? The one guy out there who intrigues me is Jay Wright, but there’s no indication he’s interested in leaving the college ranks at this time. I’d hire Gregg Popovich too, but I suppose we should stick to candidates who are actually available.

Simply put, Dave Joerger is BY FAR the best coach the Kings have had since Rick Adelman. You might convince me of Michael Malone, but Malone finished with a lower winning percentage than Joerger currently holds with the Kings. We can blame Pete D’Alessandro (and trust me, I do), but Malone wasn’t around long enough to prove himself.

But hey, let’s go back to Malone for another second. Remember what happened after? Ty Corbin? George Karl? Those are the things that happen when you get antsy and fire a coach without a plan. And do you remember the candidates the Kings were looking at before Joerger became available? Kevin McHale. Mike Woodson. Vinny Del Negro. HENRY BIBBY. You really want to go back to that? I don’t. I desperately don’t.

This isn’t to say that Joerger is the forever coach for the Sacramento Kings. I don’t know if he’s the guy to take the Kings to a championship. The time may come when the Kings need to replace him, but now is not that time. It’s premature. The Kings have forward momentum, they can’t afford to throw it away again because you dislike the team’s rotations.

I’m not opposed to upgrading the coaching staff if the team sees a realistic upgrade available. I’m simply opposed to the cries to fire Joerger with no answer to what the Kings would do next.