After leading Sacramento to their best season in 14 years, Dave Joerger was fired at the end of last season and the front office quickly moved on to Luke Walton.
If you do not follow the Kings, then it must sound bewildering why Vlade Divac would axe the coach that brought this franchise their most success in over a decade.
Joerger butted heads with both Vlade and the front office. He didn’t want Bagley to begin with, so he was frustrated when the franchise selected him with their number two pick in the draft a couple years ago.
When the front office told Joerger it was time to start the rookie big man, Joerger disobeyed orders and kept him on the bench, further straining his relationship with upper management.
But that wasn’t the only thing that got Joerger booted.
I personally think Joerger’s decisions last year kept Sacramento from making the playoffs, even with their newfound success.
Joerger’s rotations seemed out of whack at points. He would keep Fox and Hield on the bench for too long while their opponents would start pulling ahead in the game. By the time the Kings’ young stars would enter back into the game, it would be too late to catch up, and the team would ultimately end up losing.
There was also an incident where the head coach chewed out Buddy Hield for taking, and making a deep three in the final seconds of a close ball game against a great Warriors team, keeping the Kings in the game.
A few possessions later, the Kings inbounded the ball, down by two. Buddy caught it in deep three point range but hesitated to pull the trigger, afraid of what his coach might say. Instead, he dribbled into traffic and took a difficult shot that was not even close to going in.
Joerger had his issues, and it is hard to hand him sole credit for the successes of last season. It seemed like every step forward was due to the rising young talent that the organization possessed.
When Joerger was fired, I was actually happy. It seemed like all this team needed to get to the next level was to bring in a coach who will understand his players as well as conceive dynamic rotations that highlight team strengths.
A coach who grasps those leadership fundamentals could undeniably do that for this team that felt was inevitably on the cusp of something exciting. Unfortunately, that man might not be Luke Walton.
Although Sacramento has been injury prone this season, Walton has turned this fast flying bunch into a half court team, currently with the slowest PACE (Pace Factor: possessions per game) in the league.
The players who shined last year under Joerger are now struggling to even produce at the same level as last season.
The Kings, who looked like a true playoff team at this point last year, look again like the lottery team it seems the organization will always be destined to be.
Was firing Dave Joerger a mistake, or was rushing into Luke Walton the bigger blunder?
Even with ample time left in the season, it doesn’t look like Walton will be able to match Joerger’s record from last year, leaving fans questioning Sacramento’ front office’s decisions once again.