It’s going to be a fresh start for the Sacramento Kings heading into the NBA offseason. Owner Vivek Ranadive has brought in Joe Dumars to steer the ship after Vlade Divac stepped down from his role as general manager and vice president of basketball operations.
Divac’s departure is the result of a series of mistakes that left the Kings toiling in lottery land for each of his five seasons, but there’s one obvious blunder that he will not ever live down.
Sacramento took forward Marvin Bagley III with the No. 2 selection of the 2018 NBA Draft, passing on MVP candidate Luke Doncic, who was picked third by the Dallas Mavericks. Divac defended his decision in a recent interview with Marcus Breton of The Sac Bee:
“That was my decision. I still believe Marvin has big upside. But I needed more time to prove it. I’m sure Marvin is going to prove everybody wrong. But in this league, you need to produce right now. People don’t have patience but I’m OK with that.”
People don’t have patience with stupidity, so excuse us for calling you out, Vlade. Doncic will be a perennial MVP candidate for the next 10 years, and the fact Divac passed on him, despite having deep connections with the European basketball world, is something that looks unforgivable right now.
For that to change, Bagley will have to make huge strides over the next few seasons. He suited up in just 13 games before the league shut down on March 11, and was unable to play for the Kings in Orlando after suffering a foot injury during the mini-camp in the bubble.
Bagley has only played in 75 games over two seasons, averaging 14.8 points and 7.6 rebounds. He had a net rating of -9 during his short stint on the court this past season, and his 0.4 win share stat pales in comparison to Doncic’s 8.8.
Divac also defended his decision to hire Luke Walton as the team’s head coach:
“Luke will be a great coach. If they give him a chance, he’ll be just fine.”
Walton has shown no signs that he will develop into one of the best coaches in the NBA. He had a chance to show some creativity in Orlando and failed to do so. Walton is going into the second season of a four-year contract, but it seems with Dumars coming in, he will be on a short leash.
On to some links:
Dumars will be hands on when it comes to hiring the Kings’ next general manager. NBC Sports’ James Ham looks at 12 candidates who could join Sacramento’s front office.
Even though he still has the “interim” tag, Dumars could be the long-term answer. Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports says Dumars is the right man for the job to get the Kings back into the playoffs.
Looking ahead to the Kings offseason. ESPN breaks down the major moves facing the Sacramento front office, including an extension for De’Aaron Fox and a new contract for Bogdan Bogdanovic.