Opinion: George Karl To Blame For Sacramento Kings Defensive Woes?


For the Sacramento Kings in recent history, the defense has been a major flaw. Going as back as the 2006-2007 NBA season, the Kings still have not been able to crack through the bottom third of the NBA in points allowed per game.

It was understandable to a degree for those struggling Kings squads in the past. When the Maloof ownership group was going in a complete conservative mode with the team’s cap room, the talent on those teams were just awful, and compared to the rest of the league were incompetent in most aspects of the game.

However, there’s no excuse for this season’s Sacramento Kings, who are currently ranked 28th in the league in points allowed, to be so dreadful on the defensive end. The team consists of enough talent to do better, which leads to this not being a personnel issue, but a coaching one.

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During his 9 seasons with the Denver Nuggets, George Karl achieved many accolades which consisted of making the playoffs 9 times and winning the NBA Coach of the Year Award in 2013. Although Karl’s style of coaching has proven to be successful, it also carried a major flaw with past teams similar to what the Kings are currently experiencing. LACK OF DEFENSE.

In every season Karl coached with the Nuggets, the team was always in the top 10 in points scored per game and hung around the bottom third area in the league in points allowed (per ESPN). Where do the Kings stand right now? They are ranked 3rd in the league in points scored a game and tied 28th in points allowed.

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Also, more proof that the coaching has played a part in the team’s defensive woes this season is comparing it to last year’s team coached by Michael Malone. For the first 24 games that were coached by Malone last season, the Kings defense showed to be consistently effective, and when he was fired the defense went back to its ways to being inept.

Obviously, there are other reasons why the Kings are lacking defensively, like being less active on the defensive end compared to the offensive end, but Karl’s up-tempo system looks to be the prime reason based on his track record.

If history repeats itself, don’t expect the Kings defense to be very effective this season with George Karl running the team. The truth is that his system causes his teams to produce big offensively, but struggle on the defensive end. Clearly, the team can improve in this aspect of the game going forward, but if you are looking to watch a team that primarily focuses on defense and is stingy in allowing their opponents to score, the Kings are not that squad.