Sacramento will extend its playoff drought to 15 seasons this year, and rumors are aflutter about the status of Luke Walton. The Kings had the worst defense in league history this year (though not relative to league average), and their inability to execute in high-pressure situations has to partially fall on the coaching staff.
This organization is no stranger to moving on from head coaches. In Vivek Ranadivé’s tenure, the Kings have had five already: Mike Malone, Ty Corbin, George Karl, Dave Joerger, and Walton. It wouldn’t be out of character for the team to pin its problems on the head coach.
But maybe that’s the reason the Kings shouldn’t, at least according to De’Aaron Fox.
Fox told Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated that he would like to see the Kings continue to grow together. That means the players and the coaches. It helps that Fox called Walton “someone that I’ve grown to trust”, and he’d like to see that relationship play itself out:
“If you’re not winning as a team, guys get traded, guys who were barely hanging on … get cut and are out the league and coaches get fired,” said Fox, who has seen all of that in his brief career. Perhaps with that in mind, Fox made a broad case for continuity, noting that the best teams are the ones where “players play together longer and develop chemistry, and coaches continue to grow and trust all their players.”
“Everybody wants to continue to grow together and keep this group together, and continue to play for a coach that you trust in,” he said.
It certainly works in Walton’s favor that the franchise superstar is publicly complimenting him, if not outright going to bat for Walton. And even though the postseason drought is at 15 seasons, Walton only holds blame for two of those, and the front office didn’t exactly build a playoff-caliber roster for the Kings to compete with this year.
Then again, this is Walton’s fifth year as a head coach, and he’s failed to make the playoffs in all of them, so it’s worth considering if he is the right man to lead the Kings forward. Fox seems to want to give him a chance. Should Monte McNair?