The Kings have dropped their sixth game in a row, Fox and Bagley are once again injured, the status as a seventh seed has been reduced to an eleventh seed, and a postseason push is starting to take on the hue of a lottery pick in next year’s draft.
As all of this is beginning to unravel, Vlade Divac, the Kings’ general manager and vice president of basketball operations, is beginning to feel the heat. Though, this isn’t a new experience for the former Serbian big man.
Vlade has been through it all since his arrival back in Sacramento, this time in the front office.
Even through poor decisions, like the 76ers trade back in 2015, he managed to sculpt a team that showed immense potential last season. But now, after what seemed to be a foundation freezing over with stability, the whole franchise is starting to crumble into slush.
Divac has received a lot of backlash over his decisions in past drafts, and one of his most recent blunders has put a perpetual dark cloud over his head.
Luka Doncic seemed to be the consensus number one or two pick in the 2018 draft, and after the Suns passed on him at number one, the obvious decision for the Kings was to go with the Slovenian. Instead, Divac went with Marvin Bagley, the big man out of Duke, and so far that has proven to be a detrimental error, at least for his career.
As Doncic is found on every highlight reel and on most mock MVP ballots, Bagley has been hurt most of this season and struggled when he has played.
Despite Bagley’s promising rookie campaign, the young center has only played a total of 71 games in his season and a half in the Association and is currently slated to start 2020 off with a thick medical record.
Not only did Divac make a mistake drafting the wrong player, he fired Dave Joerger at the end of last season after he led the Kings to their most winningest season since 2006.
Instead of taking his time to find a qualified candidate, he dove right in for Luke Walton who had been fired from the Lakers for failing to make the playoffs even with LeBron James on the team.
So far, Walton has not showed any improvements to the team and they seem to be regressing from their improvements last season.
With high hopes coming into this year, the spirits of fans and even some players have been crushed with this overall performance.
Although Divac can’t control injuries, the choices he made coming into this season still have a huge impact. They were the reason things could get this dire and fragile in the first place.
Even with 50 games left in the season, it’s looking harder and harder to salvage the team’s early poor play.
With 13 years and counting since Sacramento has last tasted the postseason, Divac has had a lot of pressure on him to end the drought, and the clock’s ticking is palpable.
With wrong decision after wrong decision, patience is beginning to run short for the GM and it looks like a change in the front office could be coming soon.
There is still plenty of time left this season, but if the Kings don’t turn it around soon, then Divac will surely be on the hot seat.