The Sacramento Kings have been trying to fight their way back to respectability for years, but constant dysfunction has derailed them along the way. This offseason saw more #KANGZ weirdness even after a smart coaching hire in Dave Joerger, with a bizarre draft night coupled with some harsh words from Rudy Gay about the state of the organization On a somewhat positive note, free agency came and went without anything too crazy happening (Ty Lawson on a one-year deal isn’t TOO crazy), but there’s skepticism that Sacramento’s additions will move the needle.
1. Best move of offseason
Andrew Ford: Bringing on Dave Joerger as head coach is an outstanding move. Joerger’s not exactly a player’s coach, but he knows his X’s and O’s and he gets results. He went through a lot in several seasons with the Grizzlies, from disagreements with the front office to basically coaching two full rosters during the 2015-16 season due to injury. It was probably time for the two sides to part ways, but he’s more than worthy of another head coaching gig.
If Joerger’s tough stint in Memphis teaches him to be more diplomatic and play nice when necessary, then he should be an even better coach than he was with the Grizzlies. Sacramento’s roster obviously isn’t on par with the groups Joerger was able to coach in Memphis, but perhaps he’s better suited to grow together with a young group of guys.
Troy Tauscher: I think the best move was hiring Dave Joerger. Now, the caveat is the Kings have made many good decisions in the past, but failed to actually make anything of them. Joerger may very well fail too.
However, the ceiling of the hire is very high. He brings an ordered, disciplined culture to the locker room, something the Kings desperately need. They could’ve hired someone who enables the chaos of that organization to run unchecked. Instead they got someone who will work against that sort of thing.
Kelly Scaletta: Hiring Dave Joerger, who should hopefully give them some stability in the coaching department. The Kings actually have some talent on the team; they just need to get someone who can make it all work together, and maybe Joerger can finally be that guy. He did an exceptional job in Memphis — not just with the on-court stuff, but with getting his players to buy into playing together. That’s what the Kings could really use.
Jason Patt: Things started so well this offseason for the Kings with the hiring of Dave Joerger. While things went south for Joerger in Memphis, he’s proven to be a quality coach, and he should help instill a better culture in Sacramento.
2. Worst move of offseason
Andrew: The entire Sacramento front office seemingly suffered a case of temporary amnesia on draft night this offseason that caused them to forget every player currently on the roster, as they indiscriminately plucked big men from the sky. The Kings’ first selection, Georgios Papagiannis, wasn’t even thought of as a first-rounder by most, but that didn’t stop the Kings from taking him in the lottery.
Sacramento’s other two picks in the first round, Malachi Richardson and Skal Labissiere, are fine. They both have a solid amount of upside, but they were also two of the most polarizing prospects in the draft. A clear direction is missing from the organization, as it has been for some time. The draft did nothing to change that perception.
Troy: I think probably trading away the eighth pick, though as a Suns fan I appreciate the favor. I would rather have seen them test the waters of Boogie, Cauley-Stein and Chriss as a big-man trio. I also think they got a bunch of very unknown assets, with Bogdanovic and Papagiannis especially. It just seemed like a small step back with no real long-term benefit.
Kelly: I think they should have done more to keep Seth Curry. Sure, he’s not his brother, but the man showed he can shoot and score. I have a hunch they regret letting him go before the season is over.
Jason: I have absolutely no idea what they were doing on draft night. They had the No. 8 pick, only to trade back and wind up with two more centers despite already having DeMarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos on the roster. Getting Skal Labissiere at No. 28 is pretty good a value, but the Georgios Papagiannis pick at No. 13 is still baffling. Malachi Richardson is also a bit of a project.
3. Offseason grade
Andrew: D. If the Kings had not allowed Rajon Rondo to walk and signed Joerger to a multi-year deal, this would have been an F. It’s near impossible to tell what the Kings are doing. They can’t or won’t keep a head coach, their draft selections were mind-numbingly confusing and their roster is a blob of players who probably don’t fit together that well no matter how Joerger slices the lineups.
Troy: Probably a B. They’re another team that could’ve gone out and tried to be flashy with a big name offer but they kept rather quiet. I don’t think any of their personnel changes are very impactful, but I also think it’s OK trying the same group under a new system. As I wrote previously, I think the problem is they’re taking lateral steps, not moving up.
Kelly: B. It’s easy to rag on the Kings, but they actually didn’t have a bad offseason in sum. I think Ty Lawson was a nice roll of the dice. Worst-case scenario is he’s a disaster, and they keep their pick (though, they may have to swap it with Philly). Best-case scenario, he gets back to near-All-Star form and works together with Boogie.
Jason: C-. The Joerger hire saves this from being a D or worse. The Kings’ draft was totally bizarre and free agency was non-descript. This team continues to not make much sense.
4. Early prediction for 2016-17
Andrew: The Kings could win or lose a few more games than last season, but ultimately they will continue to toil in mediocrity. The organizational philosophy needs to be ironed out and probably imprinted onto a stone tablet so it will sink in with everyone. Joerger will have to turn things around quickly with a shaky roster, which is a near impossible ask. Better roster management would make everyone’s life in the organization much easier from top to bottom.
Troy: I’d put them in the mid 30s and outside of a playoff spot, but I think it’ll feel better. I expect less chaos and funny stuff, and a better looking team. That’s good for the Kings, even if their win total stagnates.
Kelly: Somewhere in the ballpark of the low 30s win total.
Jason: The Kings won 33 games last year…and I expect them to be around that number yet again. Perhaps Joerger can get them close to 40, but that feels unlikely.