After last nights blowout in Los Angeles, the Sacramento Kings now sit at 4-12, a loss away from holding the second worst record in the league behind the Washington Wizards. They are the only winless team on the road outside of those aforementioned Wizards and somehow, someway, the Kings continue to shock fans with their poor play. They literally seem to get worse every game…
It’s inevitable that somebody will take the fall for this. The Maloof’s are like that parent who doesn’t want to discipline their out of control child, but the time has come. Make no mistake, this isn’t solely the fault of general manager Geoff Petrie – not in the slightest. In no sense does he get a pass for this, but it’s pretty clear that he’s been handcuffed for years by the Maloof family and you can only be so effective in that scenario. Still, that doesn’t void him of any blame. Petrie has built a collection of talented players – but flawed talent that unfortunately doesn’t mesh.
After being hired by Sacramento in 1994, Petrie took a team who hadn’t won more than 29 games since 1985 to 39 wins and their first playoff appearance in a decade in 95-96. A woeful 1997-98 season was quickly an afterthought as the Kings then put together a streak of eight consecutive seasons in the playoffs which lead to Geoff Petrie compiling a 534-418 record in his first twelve years on the job, a .561% winning percentage. Since then, Petrie and the Kings have floundered to a 163-329 record, good for a .331% – a strikingly vast difference.
Again, this isn’t all on Geoff – and don’t take me as a Petrie apologist as I’m far from it, but the losing has been a team effort, ironic as that is. Starting with the Maloofs on down, it’s been a cohesive effort of suck, but the largest offenders can’t be replaced which leads to the axe falling on the second in command, Geoff Petrie.
For Sacramento, a change must be made – it’s that simple. New blood must come in to revitalize not only the franchise, but the beyond loyal fans who’ve been backhanded by their ownership that they’ve supported through thick and thin, well past their call of duty. With a contract that concludes at season end, there is little reason to not let Petrie go if you’re the Maloofs, financially speaking. It’s no secret they’ve already looked to replace Geoff in the past, with reports as recent as a year ago surfacing that the Maloof’s were looking elsewhere – but now they have no reason to not pull the cord.
Say what you will about Petrie’s ability in the past to build a team, handcuffed or not in recent years, he’s been nothing short of awful. From the four year contract to Travis Outlaw to the re-acquisition of John Salmons, the moves have been literally unexplainable. It’s one thing to re-build or even attempt to re-tool, which Petrie and the Kings attempted to do after blowing up the early 2000 squad, but it’s been over five years since then and the Kings look as bad as they ever have – an alarming situation given the talent they’ve compiled via the draft.
So now we’ve come to this – grasping at straws, trying to find blame in somebody. We all know who the blame should be reflected on – it’s the obvious (and right) choice, but the bulletproof Maloofs are untouchable. Another new coach isn’t going to fix this problem, no matter if you care for Keith Smart or not. That leaves a front office that is in need of change, sad (or unfair) as that might be for some.
I’d like to say this is a situation that has bottomed out for Sacramento – a scenario that couldn’t possibly get any worse, but as we’ve seen the past few seasons – just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, it does. King fans deserve far better than this - I just hope we get to see it.
Or hope the Mayan’s were right and we’re only going to be subjected to this for another few weeks.