Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kings put 'F' in futility

Marty Mac’s World – 12-22-2010

If you’ve come looking for answers, you’re in the wrong place.

I’ve been watching the Sacramento Kings (5-21) consistently for the past 20 years. NBA veteran observers such as me like to believe and say nothing surprises them.

Yet, I was perplexed when walking out of Arco Arena Tuesday night following Sacramento’s come-from-ahead 117-109 overtime loss to Golden State.

What was that I’d just seen? As I said, I’ve seen the Kings since 1990 and just knew I’d seen pretty much every possible type of collapse. I’ve seen the Kings lose more than 40 consecutive road games as well as get out-shot from the free-throw line by Shaquille O’Neal at home in Game Seven of the 2002 Western Conference Finals.

Almost inevitably included in every collapse are the losing team misses free-throws down the stretch. The Kings, read Beno Udrih, made each of his four attempts during the final 14.3 seconds.

Meanwhile, Golden State (10-18) twice in five seconds during the game’s final 19 of regulation was fouled attempting a three-point attempt. Then the Warriors missed three of the six free-throw attempts.

And because they did, amazingly they gave themselves a chance to win.

The Kings wouldn’t let Golden State lose. They committed nine fourth-quarter turnovers and that doesn’t include one of the dumbest shots ever. With Sacramento leading, 98-93, the Kings inbounded following a Dorell Wright foul with 31.1 seconds left and veteran swingman Francisco Garcia inexplicably hoisted a wide-open three-point shot.

Perhaps even scarier than the ill-timed attempt was Garcia saying after the game he took the shot because he wanted to stick a dagger into the Warriors.

Garcia is one of the team’s best free-throw shooters and the intelligent play would have been to take time off the clock. Had Garcia just held the ball, Golden State likely would have had to foul. If Garcia makes two free throws, the Kings are up seven points with approximately 20 seconds remaining.

There’s the dagger, ‘Cisco.

Instead, Garcia became part of the team-wide dagger the Kings shoved into their own chest. DeMarcus Cousins lost the handle on a Reggie Williams free-throw miss with two seconds. Golden State turned that possession into Vladimir Radmanovic’s 27-foot, game-tying three-pointer.

Udrih scored a career-high 34 points, but fouled Williams on a three-point attempt. Then Carl Landry did the same thing four seconds later when he Wright to the line.

Coach Paul Westphal could have inserted Samuel Dalembert to perhaps get the rebound Cousins did not. The coach could have stationed five smaller players around the arc on the last play of regulation and told them to ignore every player inside the three-point line.

Perhaps the craziest thing of this crazy game was how many times Golden State failed to take advantage of opportunities and still won.

Ultimately, though, where do the Kings go from here? Do you change the coach? How soon will the calls for talented, but quirky also-rans Larry Brown and Don Nelson begin? Do you gut the entire project starting from President Geoff Petrie?

Does Petrie stay and begin to shake up this roster? The addition of one, possibly two more veterans would do a world of good for all things Kings.

Do the Maloofs get so scared and frustrated they open their checkbooks and say we have to pay the cost to the be the boss and improve the product they are putting out to a dwindling fan base?

Their record is the league’s worst and the Kings are coming off one of the worst defeats imaginable.

From a franchise perspective, one has to go back to the 1958-59 Cincinnati Royals to find a team that was 5-21. The’73-74 Kansas City-Omaha Kings were 6-21 before finishing 33-49.

As a team, the Kings seem to be sticking together as they should. Since they are stinking it up together, they might as well stay together.


  1. I cant stand all the turnovers in the fourth, its almost predictable.

  2. Putting the ball in Tyreke's hands during crunchtime is like putting a firecraker into a child's hands. Good outcome not likely. If Garcia represents on-court veteran leadership, then we should put create an all rookie team. It can't be worse. As maddening as Hawes was, Dalembert's game makes me yearn for the good old days. What amazes me is that Petrie does not have the integrity to walk away from this mess. If he is responsible for this collection of misfits, he should fall on his sword out of respect for both the game and the community. If he is powerless to shape a watchable team because the broke Maloofs have tied his hands, he should fall on his sword in protest and to preserve whatever crumbs of reputation he has left.

  3. First things first. Instead of worrying about putting bodies in empty arena seats, the Maloofs should instead be worried about presenting a product that people are willing to watch for free on TV. I gave up season's tickets because the product I was purchasing was poor, I had less income, and I thought I could at least see the Kings on TV. Now the Kings are so bad and the viewing experience so painful that I am not sure the Kings are worth my time to watch on TV for free. Moving the franchise would represent a compassionate mercy killing at this point. Let some other community suffer the Kings.

  4. If the Kings leave I will miss Grant's pre-game warm and fuzzy interview with a player who did not completely stink in the previous game, and the inevitable return of that player to stinkdom after the interview. Grant could more easily win the lottery than find a silver lining in this King's season.

  5. There is a greater plan involved here. The Kings have the LOWEST PAYROLL in the NBA. Their plan all along has been to play the young players while waiting for the new CBA agreement to be signed, then bring on more talent at a cheaper price. They expected this group to at least be competative, but the failure of key players including Evans to perform has dragged the Kings down to the bottom. Better luck next year is the only real hope for the Kings

  6. The lowest payroll and the lowest paid coaching staff is a fact that should tell you something about the level of commitment the Maloofs have to Sacramento and to winning. The idea that this is part of some larger scheme to capitalize on a new CBA is a theory, not a fact. Its a theory as plausible as the theory that God created everything 10,000 years ago. No one knows what terms the new CBA will contain. No one knows what salaries under the new CBA will be. No one knows how smart NBA franchises who don't need to ask themselves how committed they are to winning will interpret and exploit a new CBA. Regardless of the terms of a new CBA, the NBA will always present a highly competitive environment where the best and mostly well financed franchises will rise to the top at the expense of poorly managed franchises. . .like the Kings. To believe that Kings management will behave differently under a new CBA than they have over many past seasons requires a leap of faith that the Kings have not earned or deserve.

  7. I honestly don't think that the Maloofs are trying to move the team. I think they are bleeding money and trying to be smart, and they are as surprised and disappointed as we are about the losses and failure of the team to perform well. I think they totally thought this team was going to be able to compete very well this season, right out of the gate.

    I imagine they don't want to spend the money on a new coach, plus pay Westphal too, and firing Petrie is out of the question too, for the same reasons. I think they will try to trade for a veteran player and hope to get some better shooting and leadership...

    The colossal failure of the shooters, the defensive effort, the offensive breakdowns, hey, this is like the Perfect Storm of Basketball, which really sucks. But the good news is, they can only go in one direction!