The Sacramento Kings’ 2019-20 season is as good as lost, and any meaningless wins could mean that a similar team runs it back next year.
This has been one of the most frustrating Sacramento Kings seasons in recent memory. For once, the fanbase seemed to have some collective playoff aspirations given the moderate success of last season and the makings of some sort of a tangible core that the franchise could build around going forward. Due to a multitude of factors, just about everything that could have gone wrong this season, has.
Even though the team had it’s best season since 2005-06 last season, winning 39 games last year, the front office decided that Dave Joerger was not the right fit to continue coaching the team going forward. Without interviewing other candidates, Vlade Divac hired a freshly ousted Luke Walton. Divac seemingly staked his already shaky reputation as general manager on Walton, which, in my mind, means that Vlade should have to go down with the sinking ship that is the King’s organization with Walton attached to his hip.
Friction Between Staff & Ownership?
Team owner Vivek Ranadive now seems to be questioning Divac’s stewardship of the team, according to Sam Amick and Shams Charania’s article on the state of the King’s front office last week. If that’s the case, then how the team plays the final 28 games could be the determining factor on whether Walton and Divac keep their job for another season.
The Kings are going to miss the playoffs for the 14th consecutive year, so let’s get that out of the way. Even though the team is technically still alive in the race for the eighth seed (7 GB), it just isn’t going to happen. This team has given the fanbase no hope that it could string together more than a week of solid basketball.
If the team “rallies,” it’s way to 35 wins, there is reason to believe that Divac and Walton both end up keeping their jobs for another season, but why are we delaying the inevitable? While some fans may still have some confidence in this regime going forward, I am all the way out on them
What Happens Next?
When it comes to the future of the organization, a disappointing finish to the season, closer to 27 wins than 37 wins would actually be the better scenario. In the latter scenario, the front office could bring in a qualified GM/coach tandem and the team could draft another young guy with the potential to be part of the next playoff team. If the team shows enough signs of light in the last
The Kings no longer have a young core. They have only two guys under 25, that in theory, still could take a massive leap in their progression. De’Aaron Fox still seems to have parts of his game that could still be unlocked, and Marvin Bagley might have some upward mobility on the court if he could ever actually stay healthy for a prolonged period.
But that’s really all Vlade Divac has to show for his time as GM in terms of guys who could someday maybe just maybe become All-Stars. Does this fanbase really trust him to make the correct selection with another high lottery pick?
If the Kings entered the 2020-21 season with a qualified, respected GM and head coach combo, plus another high-upside guy in the lottery, I’d feel a lot better about where this team is headed, both short and long-term.