Sacramento Kings Are Not the Best Fit Available For George Karl
The Sacramento Kings are reportedly in serious discussions to hire George Karl to be the next head coach of the organization.
It’s no surprise given their recent slide, where they have lost 10 out of their last 11 games. Ty Corbin, currently the interim head coach, has had more than enough time to try to turn things around after the shocking, inexplicable firing of Mike Malone earlier in the season by Kings’ ownership. However, so far he has been unable to get this team going in the right direction.
If the Kings have a real opportunity to hire Karl, they should absolutely take it and not think twice about it. Karl has won 1,131 regular season games during his coaching career, with a win percentage of roughly 60 percent. He is an offensive mastermind whose genius sets helped bring the Denver Nuggets out of the doldrums and into the spotlight during the mid-2000’s. Karl has a talent for developing young players and for sustaining confidence in his teams to never pass up an open shot and to trust one another.
However, I have to admit I would be a little surprised if he decided to coach the Kings at this juncture. They are an absolute mess right now, with a roster mishmashed with veterans and young players who are just as confused as the front office as to what their identity is, and if they want to contend for a playoff seed this year or completely go into “tank-mode.”
Owner Vivek Ranadive has some absurd and inane basketball philosophies, such as trying to play “4-on-5” and employ the “cherry-picking” technique on offense. His decision to fire Malone as head coach earlier in the season defied logic. It was not Malone’s fault that DeMarcus Cousins, the team’s best player, missed time due to viral meningitis, which is why the team struggled so badly after a hot start to the year. The Kings are in disarray because their owner has established a reputation of being intrusive and too ambitious instead of trusting his front office and coaching staff.
I don’t believe Karl would be entering a good situation here, and for a coach looking for one last go-around at trying to turn a bad team into a good one, I believe his better bet is to explore the opportunity of coaching the Orlando Magic; the Magic fired their head coach Jacque Vaughn on Thursday and are exploring their options right now as to who should be the next leader of their team.
Given how weak the Eastern Conference is, and the fact that the Magic have some budding young talent in Nikola Vucevic, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Tobias Harris, I simply do not understand why he would pass on taking over the helms there. They would not make the playoffs this year, but if he had an offseason with them, including a full training camp, I definitely believe they could make the playoffs next season and beyond that. I cannot say the same for him and the Kings, who are currently behind many teams in the standings in a highly competitive Western Conference.
In all likelihood, it appears as though Karl will be hired by the Kings very soon, perhaps even by tonight. However, I do not think this would be the best move for Karl.
The problems with the Kings begin with their ownership, and that has had a trickle-down effect into the front office and locker room. Until Ranadive becomes more trusting of those he works with, I believe any interested coach should approach that franchise with a high degree of caution and uncertainty.