After spending 13 years with the Houston Rockets, Monte McNair will finally get the chance to be the ultimate decision-maker of an NBA team.
The Sacramento Kings introduced their new general manager to the media on Wednesday. The Princeton grad preached patience, flexibility and continuity throughout his press conference.
McNair hit all of the right notes. He didn’t promise to quickly turn the franchise around or make any bold moves to stamp his arrival. Instead, his focus is on changing the culture.
“Our goal is going to be to compete hard and start building these winning habits,” McNair said. “We need to be more consistent. And going forward, we’re going to maintain our flexibility, and obviously we want to compete for the playoffs.”
Sacramento has the longest playoff drought in the NBA at 14 years. One of the most loyal fanbases in the league is starving to see their team back in the postseason; something McNair is well aware of.
“I understand the frustrations of all the loyal Kings fans, I’ve already seen and heard about their passion,” McNair said. “I think we’re aligned on that goal. I was fortunate enough to spend the last 13 years in an organization where we were able to build those winning habits, that culture where year in and year out we expected to be in the playoffs and compete for championships.”
One of the reasons the job was appealing to McNair is the presence of point guard De’Aaron Fox, who can sign a max extension this offseason to keep him in Sacramento for a long time. The new GM sees Fox as the primary building block of his vision of the style the Kings will play.
“I think his speed and ability offensively to create really is going to be a huge catalyst for how coach [Luke] Walton and I envisioned this team playing,” McNair said. “Being up-tempo, creating the space to shoot threes and attack the rim. We’re excited to get going on that.”
Owner Vivek Ranadive assured Walton that his job is safe, at least going into next season. McNair echoed that sentiment, saying he and Walton are familiar with each other, and they both are on the same page when it comes to turning the franchise around.
“I’m excited to partner with Coach Walton,” McNair said. “We’re going to build a winning culture here where our players can grow, thrive in our aggressive system, and compete hard every night. I want to become a team that consistently competes in the playoffs, and ultimately contends for championships.”
Sacramento underperformed throughout much of the season before the coronavirus shutdown, and especially during its eight games in the Orlando bubble. McNair believes the team needs to be more consistent if it wants to take a step next season.
“I’ve talked with Luke [Walton] about this. We need to be more consistent in our night-in and night-out effort,” McNair said. “We need to start building those winning habits, and then as the time comes, and we have the opportunity to improve the team, we’ll be ready to go full steam ahead.”