If at all possible, I like to give the head coach the benefit of the doubt. It’s not an easy job and there’s so much involved with it. You’re not only trying to out-think your opponent and put your players in the best possible position to succeed, you’re also trying to manage the ego’s and eccentric personalities of athletes who could make some WWE wrestler’s blush with their antics.
With that said though, the time has come, Paul. I’m sorry, but it has.
As I mentioned earlier today, you’d be hard pressed to find a nicer coach in the NBA or in professional sports. Paul Westphal really is a fantastic individual, so while it’s difficult to separate Paul the coach from Paul the person – it has to be done.
The Sacramento Kings aren’t going to be confused with an NBA powerhouse any time soon, however, they’re a far more talented team than they’ve shown. A lack of training camp and limited practice time has no doubt hampered the Kings ability to grow, but that’s far from the only problem plaguing the Kings currently.
As Scott mentions in his game recap, Westphal isn’t in an easy situation – frankly, it’s almost a no-win situation given the circumstances but at the same time his footprints are in the mud just as much as anybody else, if not more when it comes to the failures of this current bunch.
Make no mistake – this isn’t a fire Westphal cry because of the DeMarcus Cousins situation – none at all. This is strictly from a basketball point of view, the product on the floor, the product in the locker room. This team is lost. The players aren’t used in ways to showcase their strengths. They’re confused. They fully admit it. You’ve shown, not only this year but in past years you’re unable to direct them. You took a nearly identical 60 win roster in Seattle, fought with their players and dropped them down to a .500 team the next season. We’ve read this book before.
So many people, so many fans, put their heart and soul into keeping this franchise in Sacramento and continue to do so. Whether their donation was monetary or physical, purple blood, sweat and tears kept this team in Sacramento for at least one more year. That same fight continues to punch through walls in hopes of getting the team, the city a beautiful new arena to keep this franchise where it belongs. Letting the positive momentum slip away because of needless drama and poor, uninspired, lackadaisical play isn’t acceptable.
Paul Westphal’s job with the Kings is all but certainly over at season end. He knows it. We know it. Hell, the players know it. If there was ever a lame duck coach that wasn’t an interim, he’s it. For me, there’s no longer a reason to keep him around. Between the personality issues with multiple players both currently and past (and not only in Sacramento), the continued failures on both the offensive and defensive ends, the lack of basketball smarts – the blame swirls around the head coach. Maybe that’s not always the right way to do it, but it’s the belly of the beast and the blame has to go some place.
The Maloofs have little desire to eat Paul Westphal’s contract for the remainder of the season, so if he’s let go at some point, you’d assume Keith Smart would take over the reigns for the rest of the year, and while that’s far from a perfect choice – it’s tough to picture it being any worse than it currently is.
Sometimes a new direction is needed, no matter what the topic is. Things get stale.
There’s no hard feelings here, Paul. You certainly gave an effort and you were brought into an impossible situation – but there’s been no improvement. The drama surrounding the franchise could be replicated on CBS during their afternoon Soap Opera programming. It’s just time to move on. It’s for the best. Not only for the Kings, but for you as well.