Fire George Karl?

The George Karl discontent never went south. It just simmered beneath the surface, waiting for the appropriate trigger to fling the gasoline on the fire (again) so the house could burn down. A loss to Brooklyn did the trick, and because the Kings front office has the market cornered on overreaction, they began spitting and foaming and whining. But here’s a news flash for the Sacramento Kings brain trust. The Kings aren’t a good team. With George Karl or without George Karl, their roster consists of average talent, at best an eighth seed, at worst an 11th seed. The only bright spot as far as elite players go is DeMarcus Cousins. One All-Star on the roster doesn’t make you a playoff team.

The thing about the Randive ownership is that immaturity reigns both on and off the court. We know how DeMarcus Cousins struggles to control his impulses. Vivek Randive is not much different. It’s routine that average teams lose in the NBA. They get blown out. They put out poor efforts. Sometimes it is the schedule. Sometimes it is the dog days of February. And sometimes, news flash- the team is the worst defensive team in the NBA. They give up more points than they score, they don’t contest shooters, they apply no resistance on the break.

Defensive Horror Show Opponent Points Opponent FG% Opponent 3-Point % Defensive Rating
Sacramento Kings, 2015-16 108.5 (30th) 45.7% (21st) 36.4% (22nd) 107.6 (21st)

George Karl isn’t going to make DeMarcus Cousins a better defender. He isn’t going to make Rudy Gay a better defender. He isn’t going to make Omri Casspi or Ben McLemore a better defender. They are what they are, pretty dismal at rotations, footwork, making shooters uncomfortable.

Tom Thibodeau is out there lurking but with an owner like Randive why would he even want the Kings job? He just got his release papers from the Bulls front office prison.

The reports stating that the Kings front office has lost confidence in George Karl is hysterically funny. Like they every had confidence in him. In November, they were going to fire Karl after that infamous team meeting when Vlade Divac went into the locker room to gauge the team’s pulse. But they didn’t. And they probably won’t fire him again. This is just more of the Kings letting off hot air.

Team leader DeMarcus Cousins is doing what we all expect Cousins to do in the midst of a losing streak: blame Karl, take zero accountability.

“I’m not going to keep blaming these guys in the locker room. Energy and effort is a huge part of the game, but I’m not going to keep blaming it on that. We got a bigger issue and we need to figure it out as a team.”

It being Karl, perhaps?

Karl, because he is George Karl, isn’t worried. Why should he be? He fought cancer and survived to tell the story. If he does get fired, it won’t hurt his legacy. Randive will get all the blame as a reactive, clueless owner who expects success out of a group of guys that lack defensive principles and habits.

“I don’t have any control over what other people are thinking or saying. That’s their storm. My preference would be it wouldn’t be there. But there’s always energy today. Then, once something gets out, it magnifies and grows and becomes a storm. That’s not my storm. My storm is the Boston Celtics. We had a good practice (Saturday) and I’m happy with the practice.”

Since January 25, the Kings have given up an average of 116.4 points per game. That’s the bad news. The good news is  the Kings have one of the most potent offices in the NBA this year. Their defense is what is making it tough for them to win, why they are 10th place in the conference.

Rajon Rondo has the perspective that Randive doesn’t.

“When we don’t have an opportunity to get into the playoffs, that’s when we can panic. But the last 10 games, I think our record is 5-5. It’s not the worst, it’s not 3-7. We started off the season 1-7 so we’ve hit a tough stretch, some games we could have won. Brooklyn played amazing Friday night, shot the heck out of the ball. There’s going to be games like that. Hopefully, we can turn it around and get a win Sunday afternoon.”

It’s a tough position for any coach to be in. You can never exhale. You are always at the whim of an owner who doesn’t plan for inconsistencies when the players on the roster have had careers built on inconsistencies. The Kings have had a long playoff drought, so long, only the diehards can name the roster of the last Kings playoff team. Mike Bibby. Kevin Martin. Ron Artest. Peja Stojakovic. Brad Miller. Bonzi Wells. That team won 44 games and lost in the first round and since then there have been 33 wins, 38 wins, 17 wins, 25 wins, 24 wins, 22 wins, 28 wins.

“I don’t think I’m in limbo. Players questioning coaches. Coaches questioning players. That’s the way it’s going to be. The truth of the matter is you think this team has hung together pretty well through a lot of ups and downs. Our weakness has been home court, intensity and maybe overlooking a team with a bad record.” (George Karl)

Rondo goes back to his familiar ground of Boston on Sunday. If anyone has the ability to save Karl’s job, it is the only Kings player who is a NBA champion.

photo via llananba