To say the Sacramento Kings are a complete disappointment would be quite an understatement. Trying to find blame for that, well, I hope you have some time as you’ll be searching quite a bit. Victim number one in Paul Westphal has already fallen, so the question has to beg – who’s next?
Pointing to the players on the floor is the first obvious conclusion as their poor performances are a direct result to the Kings sub-par record, but, this is a collection of players, who while talented, lacks any cohesion. Part of that is most certainly due to the lack of practice time – but looking deeper, this is a roster built around isolation type players. More than that, players who thrive on isolation ball like John Salmons, were brought in when isolation players like Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans were already on the roster. Yes, the Kings are a very young team – their star players not that far removed from daycare so a learning curve is expected, but this is Tyreke Evans‘ third year. And while a good portion of his second season was ruined by injury, Evans still has shown little improvement from his rookie campaign – especially mentally where he continues to struggle. So while the Kings players look anything like the talented bunch they should be, questioning the architect of this roster has to be done.
Geoff Petrie’s gained quite a solid reputation as a general manger, and one that’s been well deserved – but his shrewd moves that made him a two time GM of the year are over a decade old. The risk taker that Petrie once was has turned mildly conservative. Trading Mitch Richmond, the franchise mega-star, the heart and soul of Sacramento to Washington for a talented but disgruntled Chris Webber? Balls. Taking a risk on a potential mal-content in Jason Williams? An unheard of “euro” who wasn’t ready to come over for a few years? Huevos. Everything Geoff Petrie touched during that time frame turned to gold – and now? Well, how about plastic?
Part of me finds difficulty putting blame on Geoff Petrie given the financial handcuffs he’s dealt with in past years – but as the Maloofs fully admitted that they gave Geoff financial power to make moves this offseason, it’s hard not to be a bit upset that we still sit at a league minimum payroll with our biggest additions being the re-signing of Marcus Thornton and the additions of Travis Outlaw (for four years) and John Salmons. J.J. Hickson, the pre-draft acquisition has been underwhelming, despite looking better than ex-King Omri Casspi who continues to slide down benches wherever he plays.
The blame for the Kings free fall can be placed many a places, both on-court and upstairs – but you can’t help but wonder how many bad buildings you allow an architect to make before you have to replace him.
Make no mistake, I’m certainly not calling for Petrie’s head nor am I placing universal blame on the long tenured GM, but he did build this roster – fully aware of it’s capabilities and limitations. Getting out of this blame free isn’t possible. Very few felt Salmons, despite his talents, would be a good mix with Thornton and Evans. Many questioned Evans’ ability to play point guard, something the Kings continually insist on attempting. The listing of questions and concerns go on.
With the Kings all but seemingly missing the playoffs for a sixth straight season with no light at the end of the tunnel with this current roster, who does the axe chop next? Is it Petrie? Is it a Kings building block? Beno Udrih for John Salmons – J.J. Hickson for Omri Casspi, these type of deals aren’t altering the fate of the Kings franchise. Something big has to happen, outside of spending another three seasons of “gaining experience”. Is it Petrie walking away? Is it a franchise altering trade?
Will Petrie take that risk again, moving on from a franchise cinder block? Or will he walk away into the sunset with his job unfinished?