Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

February 25, 2009
Opening tip: The coaching options, continued

Bobcats (22-35) at Kings (12-46)

Scoring: Kings 15th (99.4), Bobcats 30th (92.2).
Shooting: Kings tied for 24th (44.6 percent), Bobcats tied for 22nd (44.7).
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.9), Bobcats sixth (94.5).
Shooting defense: Kings 30th (48.2 percent), Bobcats tied for 11th (45.3).
Rebound differential: Kings 30th (minus-5.7), Bobcats 17th (minus-0.5).

The link: Bobcats coverage in the Charlotte Observer.
The almanac: On this date in 1977, Pete Maravich of the New Orleans Jazz scored a career-high 68 points. On this date in 1995, Dana Barros of the 76ers set a record with a three-pointer in 44 consecutive games, a mark that eventually reached 89 in a row over two seasons. On this date in 1998, Bill Fitch of the Clippers passed Red Auerbach for second place on the career list for coaching wins. On this date in 1999, Reggie Miller of the Pacers became the first player to reach 4,000 three-point attempts in a career.


Here's the other consideration: the when, not the who.

There's almost zero chance the Kings resolve their coaching uncertainty before the end of the season, barring the unexpected of some greatly desired candidate signaling he is ready to commit now, but there are pros and cons to weigh no matter how unlikely. Kings execs have obviously scanned a similar rundown in their minds, if not out loud, and Kenny Natt knows the way the process works, so no such thing as undermining the interim guy who may win the job as the inexpensive guy.

But a little more than a quarter-season still remains, 24 games in all between now and the April 15 finale, and that's more than enough time for someone to have an impact, even on a roster disjointed by trade. Players themselves know bad habits are forming, mostly related to young players and learned behavior on attitude and effort, or lack thereof, and that will be the gift that keeps on giving into next season unless corrected. Dismissing the final seven weeks as playing out the string is definitely not the approach you want.

Considerations, considerations, considerations.

An advantage to making a permanent hire before the end of the season: It's a valuable head start to putting a system in place, especially if the chosen one is an outsider. Getting comfortable with players, seeing which assistant coaches he works well with and may retain, building a comfort zone with the front office -- everything. Summer league will be that much more productive, and summer league is crucial for any young team, and training camp won't be such a get-to-know-you time.

Disadvantage: You could miss out on someone who becomes unexpectedly available by getting fired elsewhere in the fallout from an unsatisfactory finish. It happens most every year. The calendar is an important factor.

Advantage: It's an aggressive move, and not merely for the sake of being aggressive. A team so lacking in direction through too many effortless nights would, for a change, be taking control of what it wants to be rather than trying to box out other clubs for their guy. How did that turn out with Stan Van Gundy playing the Kings off against the Magic?

Disadvantage: Money. More money than it might take for the same hire in the offseason. Coaches want to survey the openings just as much as the teams want to survey the coaches, and getting a candidate to not wait for the potential of a better situation would require the kind of convincing that only comes from a checkbook.

All important debates as the Kings move toward the three-quarter pole with the coaching situation as uncertain as the future roster. No decision appears to be imminent, meaning it's almost certainly Natt's job through mid-April. But there are considerations in the meantime.

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