Time You Realized Excellence at Kahn’s Expense

June 28, 2009

Tyreke! Tyreke! Tyreke!

Forced to record the NBA Draft and work I was in the middle of a dinner program surrounded by 50 somethings politely nibbling on their strawberry spinach leaf salads, I slyly pulled out my iPhone to check the draft results: I couldn’t believe my eyes. I yelped and pumped my fist, then sheepishly looked around as the other guests expressed their disdain through winkled smirks as if I was at the Arden library circa 1979 looking for the latest issue of Sports Illustrated still on the shelf.

Petrie picked Tyreke with Rubio still on the board, Oh My God! it really happened. Petrie picked my guy! It took another day before I could pull an all nighter and read through the abyss of part timers weighing in, venting, feigning disgust and bewilderment, while others stepped up and respectfully believed TEVO (try it on…if you no likey you may like Te-Rex, still no? I come back later, ok?) was the BPA,  while still others conceded in GP we trust. Now I am all caught up and have a lot to say.

Before I delve into Tyreke and some other draft/trade observations, let me digress a little to put to bed (yeah right, I wish) GP’s decision not to draft Rubio.

I was confident that Rubio, the obvious pick to most, would not be Petrie’s selection. I did post several pieces alluding to this but I am no Nostradamus and was as clueless as most as to whom I thought would end up a King. I would never have guessed Tyreke was it. I wished it but  I didn’t post why because I am very superstitious when it comes to my Kings (as some of you have read before) and subsequently didn’t vote the other day because I was afraid if I voted for Tyreke, Petrie would not pick him–as he had yet to pick anyone that I was enamored with until now.

While Tyreke was a surprise, upon closure inspection we should have foreseen that Rubio was not it. Huckleberry Hound Reynolds hinted on the type of player we might draft not too many picked up on that. Other STR brethren commented Geoff has a tendency to take a lot of stock in the pre-draft workouts and the Rubio camp not being proactive in Petries’ PG Palhoopsa might have backfired. The return trip and last ditch shooting drills by Rubio probably just sealed his fate something Amick’s cell phone interview seemed to subtly capture.

In Amick’s interview, Rubio admitted that he hadn’t picked up a ball in a month. Really? On the eve of the biggest event of your life you weren’t hiding out like a gym rat working on your 18 footer to mask your few but noticable flaws? His interview at the airport reminded me of the video ride in the limo after a contestant is knocked off of the Apprentice (insert your reality show plug here). He definitely was tired, but his somber looked like The Kings didn’t give him the thumbs up.

Then he all of a sudden meets with Kahn down in LA? Fegan must have been like, “Mr. Kahn, yeah, sorry I am just now getting back to you. Turns out Rubio is available for a quick chat if you are still interested…REALLY? er really, ok. We will see you at 8, it’s gonna be great.”

If you watched the workouts, Tyreke looked solid–aside from his release–the shots were falling. He obviously was able to dispel the concern to the staff about him playing or defending the one. Compared to Harden, Flynn and Holliday he looked like a stud. Tyreke stated one of his goals was to keep hitting the gym hard this summer. Tyreke, I’m not using my 24HR fitness membership, it is all yours. Here is the catch, ya gotta show some leadership and get KMart and Cisco to spot you in hopes it inspires them to add some muscle to their slight albeit wiry frames.

Other clues included a closer peek at Petrie’s Draft History which I posted last week–thanks to both of you that read it–I am still trying to get off the Trolls Most Wanted list. It  detailed that we can expect him to do two things: Pick a contributor and pick someone we didn’t expect.

J-Will, Peja, Hedo, Hawes, Thompson, Douby, the list goes on and on on guys that we first went huh?. Everyone can argue that a different pick might have had an equal or greater result but Quincy and OMSJ aka Tariq (note to GP – No more draft choices with a Q in the name) aside, Petrie has consistently made our team better through the draft.

So knowing Petrie likes to pull the rabbit out of the hat and given all the national attention and the dare I say consensus belief that Rubio was the next best thing to Griffen and who the Kings should select, you had to know Petrie would pick elsewhere. In fact the more the King’s scouts, ownership and media gravitated towards him the more Petire seemed to distance himself. I suspect he saw enough of him to formulate an opinion. I bet he was not even keen on him coming to Sac for a workout adding fuel to a fire he wasn’t flaming.

I was blasted in my post a month ago that compared him in part to Jason Williams. As an aside, I spoke to Eddie Jordan the day after J-Will came in for his rather hush hush workout and learned he lit the net up from 25 feet all over the floor and showed some sweet alley oops and good court vision. He was a risk reward type of guy and the King’s staff was in love with his upside.

Maybe there was enough of a resemblance to scare Petrie away. In reality they are completely different players. Rubio is taller, better IQ, longer and stronger, has more defensive potential, better finisher, more mature, less turnover prone, nicer, better looking, more marketable, yada yada. Got it. Here is how they are similar.

Here are J-Will’s career NBA avgs.              .396 FG%, .325 3FG%, 2.4 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.3 SPG., 11.4 PPG.

Here are Rubio’s stats in the Olympic Games: .35 FG%, .167 3FG%, 4 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.1 SPG,  4.8 PPG.

And Rubio’s stats for Spanish League ’08: .391 FG%, 41.7 3FG%, 2.7 RPG, 5.8 APG, 2.4 SPG, 9.8 PPG.

I think we all know Rubio has more upside than J-Will, but that is partly because we know how J-Will ended up. If you rewind to his auspicious start most of us were loving the ESPN highlights featuring White Chocolate and figured he was going to be great.

Finally, some have argued point guards that lack a consistent outside shot and cannot defend their position don’t become all-stars. Our experiment with flash and sexy did bring excitement but it didn’t bring us championships either it did provide us trade value for a PG that almost got us to an NBA Championship, but as many have pointed out a capable PG to facilitate the offense and is not a defensive liability is really the baseline.

Rubio won’t be great next year. He will have to adjust to life in the US, the NBA, the NBA game, and not least of which the language. I spoke with Peja outside of Harlow’s one night between after his third season and he said he was just finally feeling settled and the transition of having parents very involved in all of his basketball decisions to being really isolated from home and family was a long process.

He will likely be very good but in a few years, Peja and Hedo really shined in years 3 and 4. But I don’t think the Maloofs, Petrie or even Westphal with his anemic two year $1.5M a season contract can be patient enough for Spanish Chocolate to let it rain at newly appointed Arco III, Cal Expo Redux or the Raley Center in West Sac if one of those palaces ever get built.

No, unfortunately we need to get to the playoffs in two seasons and versatile players that can help us rebound and defend will likely take precedent.

I am sure most of you agree that Petrie deserves our respect since his picks beats our picks right? Heck I won’t bore you with my draft choices over the last several years because only Rajon Rondo (I still like the dude, he will steal you blind) fared better than Petrie’s Doubyious selection in 2006. So he picked Tyreke Evans. Take your picture and let’s move on, nothing more to see here folks.

The folk who blasted Petrie should hold their judgement since the Draft is really only the start of the whole off season shuffle. In other words, Petrie and other GMs in the leagure including Minnesota’s ‘ David Kahn have not played their final hand.  “This is only the first period of activity…no matter what occurs (in the draft Thursday), training camp doesn’t start Friday. We have all summer to continue to explore some opportunities and to address the roster, and three months is a long time.”

By Petrie not selecting Rubio, he has a chance to have his cake and eat it too. He had to know the odds of Rubio opting to stay in Europe if drafted elsewhere and the likelihood most GMs are going to draft the BPA. If you look at Minnesota’s situation they had the same purview hence the multiple PG picks. Kahn is going to wheel and deal and one of his point guards will likely end up elsewhere given they currently have Bobby BrownKevin Ollie (hmm where have I heard of these guys before), Wayne EllingtonJonny FlynnRicky Rubio and Sebastian telfair. Other than Love and Jefferson they have more holes in their roster than the swiss cheese at Tony’s Deli.

Now that Rubio is following suit by vocalizing a desire to stay in Spain expect the horse trading to begin. We have a glut at the 3 spot. Garcia/Nocioni/Greene/Casspi. I know Garcia can play the two, Nocioni can play some 4, Greene can play some four and Cassp allegedly is a four but I seem him being more like a slasher spread the floor 3 than a back to the basket 4.

Since we are in a rebuild/save money mode, I prefer Greene>Casspi>Nocioni>Garcia. I would like us to package Beno and say Garcia a future 2nd rounder for Rubio a big like Etan Thomas with his expiring contract. Minnesota might also be interested in Sergio/Nocioni for Rubio, Ryan Gomes and Brian Gomes’ expiring contracts.

We could also package Sergio and Garcia to Orlando for Hedo who is opting out of his contract. My point isn’t to take control over the trade discussions in this thread but merely mention that Rubio landing in Sacramento is still possible via a trade given Minnesota has way too many 1/2s and 4/5s. Surprisingly when you consider Sheldon Williams and Darius Songalia, the T-Wolves look like Sacramento’s JV team.

Anyway, so we now have Tyreke in a Kings Uniform and I am excited. I think he provides us an immediate lift, will be be able to step in and compete for a starting spot right away. I don’t think Rubio could have done that and I don’t think Curry or Flynn could do that immediately (although certainly mid year or by next year Flynn and Curry could).

The last few seasons with injuries we have at best been inconsistent offensively and even when we scored we let the other team score more, sometimes a lot more. If Martin plays 82 games regains some lateral quickness maybe we don’t need to worry about the 2 position except of course when we have to defend the 2.

When Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Tracy McGrady, Andre Igoudala, Joe JohnsonCorey MaggetteJason Richardson (just to name a few) come to town, our defensive counter of Martin and Garcia is just not working. Tyreke gives us a better match up switching up coverage on defense while still being able to facilitate distribution of the ball on offense. We suffered with Garcia and Martin trying to do that and if we have BJax, he is much better as a spark off the bench.

While Tyreke may not be a pass first point guard, he is comfortable bringing up the ball, can effectively work the pick n roll around the high post, take his defender down to the low post, drive and kick to the open man or take the ball strongly to the hoop.

Probably more importantly we can expect better rebounding on both ends of the floor (IMO he will out rebound Kevin, Francisco and be close to Nocioni) while effectively contesting shots and stealing at an above average clip with those 7′ arms of his.

He will be able to present match up problems for the opposing speedy PGs who won’t be able to defend him, in the same way Baron DavisChris PaulJason Kidd among others took advantage of our PGs in the past and depending on the match ups Tyreke can defend the 1,2,3. position–especially any teams that utilize a point forward half court game.

A combination of Tony Parker scoring instincts in a Latrell Sprewell body, expect Tyreke to be awhile to develop a solid assist/turnover ratio like Parker or an outside shooting touch like Sprewell, but possess their gift at scoring.

I expect the following productivity from him next year:

25 min., 12 ppg., 4.5 apg., 4.8 rpg., and 1.6 spg., 1.5/assist to turnover ratio.

Long story short, I love this pick, I appreciate Petrie’s decision making and expect that with Sergio Rodriguez as a true PG option we have the best of both worlds. And just wait; when Petrie is done with another trade or two everyone will be able to put their worries on the shelf until our first loss.


Petrie’s Draft History

June 25, 2009


via www.princetonbasketball.com

Here are some stats on Petrie’s Draft History . This link tracks all the picks but note that Petrie’s handiwork started with the Kings in 1994.

Totals 15 Years (1994-2008)

1st Round Picks: 13       
Avg. Draft Position: 16

5 Players have had or having very successful NBA Careers outperforming expectations:
Peja StojakovicKevin MartinHedo TurkogluJason Williams*, Gerald Wallace

5 Players had or are having decent careers meeting expectations:
Brian Grant, Corliss WilliamsonJason Thompson**, Spencer Hawes**, Francisco Garcia

3 Didn’t Pan Out:
Tariq Abdul Wahad, Dan DickauQuincy Douby

Drafted By Position Rd 1:
PG   2   15%     
SG   3   23%      
SF   5    38%      
PF   2    15%      
C    1      8%

Where Drafted:     
Elite College     6   45%      
Mid Major           1    8%      
Small                  4   31%     
International      2   16%

2nd Round Picks: 14       
Avg. Draft Position: 49

6 were career role players:
Michael Smith, Lawrence Funderburke, Tyus Edney, Anthony JohnsonJerome James, Dejan Bodiroga***

8 Players drafted had No NBA Career:
Jason Sasser, Ryan Robertson, Jabari Smith, Maurice Jeffers, Corsley Edwards, Ricky Minard, Sean Singletary,Patrick Ewing, Jr.

Draft By Position Rd 2:
PG   4    29%      
SG   2    14%      
SF    2    14%       
PF    4    29%      
C      2    14% 

Where Drafted:
Elite College    5   35%
Mid Major          3   21%      
Small                 5   35%    
International     1    7%

* = J-Will traded for Bibby       
**= Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes could still Outperform   
***= Dejan Bodiroga was a stud power forward that decided not to come to the NBA; Top 35 Players all time in Europe. Possible a better player than Peja

Interesting Facts:

– Petrie has picked an NBA Career Player 77% of the time out of the first round.
– Petrie has found a solid NBA back up player 43% of the time in the second round.
– Petrie has only drafted a big 3 times in the first round–2 in the last 2 years.
– Petrie has drafted SFs more than any other position.
– Petrie has drafted a player from either a small college or internationally 46% of the time in the first round.

I am sure this will not tell anyone whom he will select in the draft later today, but we should all expect he will most likely not select who we expect him to pick. With that said, whomever he does select has a greater likelihood of being a solid NBA player aka no bust versus the player we might have selected.

Man oh man is this going to be fun tomorrow night!

Rubio Esta Aqui, But Will He Stay?

June 17, 2009

Ok, so I cannot sleep. I am surfing the STR posts for a fix, I have watched Rubio’s video like 4 times, ok maybe more than that, but if I tell you I might get reported for video stalking. I have gone on several rants over the last two months: First trying to defend the notion that Blake was better than Rubio. Check. Then I went through my own period of Man Crush, followed by denial which was covered up via Jennings bandwagoning. I broke my ankle jumping off that bandwagon after his interview and not because of his comments on the hype surrounding Rubio–but that is another story.

Impressed although frustrated that Rubio’s camp was marvelously protecting its prized jewel, I felt like Gollum being denied even the chance to see ‘The Precious’ with Dan Fegan in his role as Sam worthy of an ESPY.


via www.callofbeauty.com

I began to sour on the notion that our team’s future was going to be shaped in part by incomplete player data on several fronts with each PG promising and risky in their own right.

1) A Spanish kid who turned pro at 14 and 4 years later we squint watching pixilated video highlights on Youtube, where he looks like he might merely be in California to audition for the re-make of Taxi with his boyish charms and girl ga-gaing smile factory.


via redriverautographs.files.wordpress.com

2) Jennings body of work shows similar upside but honestly even fewer highlights with that same video camera that even a JV coach at Encina High School wouldn’t use to tape practice.

3) Jrue Holiday, who went along with his older brother Justin (did you know he had a brother?) to the N. Hollywood private school Campbell Hall (grades K-12, enrollment 1000) and led his team to the Division IV State Championship.

He looked like he was going to be it with an average of 25.9 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 6.9 apg, and 4.8 spg. his senior year and followed up with an impressive showing at the McDonald All Star game with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists. VH1 “Where are they now?” Producers would have a field day with this game as it features the likes of  Evans for the East and Jennings, Mullens, Holiday and Derozen for the West. Here is a quick video recap…

In should be noted that Tyreke was the MVP of this game with 21 pts, 10 rbs, and 4 asts, besting Jennings and Holiday in a game that could be an indicator of what to expect by these guys in years to come:

Boxscore for 2008 McDonald All Star Game

Holiday’ grade at UCLA is really an Incomplete–despite respectable numbers–as Howland had him playing the two to share the floor with Collison.

4) Tyreke, the only freshman finalist for the US Basketball Writers of America National Players Award, started at PG 11 games into the season and they never lost until the tournament to Missouri. He had better numbers than Jrue overall but also toggled between roles and only has 1 year of college to show his stuff.

5) Jonny Flynn has at least two seasons for us to look at to support his impressive Kings workout the other day and I don’t want to restate sroufe’s nice write up on Jonny Flynn but concur that I cannot concede he is a better choice than Rubio.

So getting back to Rubio, his interview really drew me back in. I am fighting the man crush cuz I don’t want to jinks or be disappointed once again this draft year–my heart cannot take it. I was impressed with how approachable, affable, genuine and confident without coming across cocky.

Most of all I was intrigued by his desire to be on a team that has young guys that he can befriend. NOTE TO PETRIE–Since the Maloof’s Gulf Stream is now mothballed can we get a video conference and some Tweets going ASAP to connect Rubio with our Generation Y Club?

Who all is in Sac-town right now? If a part of his criteria is liking our peeps then let’s get those Facebook and My Space invites emailed pronto so Rubio can ‘confirm’ his friendship status. In fact let’s tell Stern that Rubio is going to go to the team who has the most Friend Requests between now and Draft day.

Anyway, Ricky sorry I doubted you, and on behalf of the STR contingency, welcome to our cow town. We hope you stay.

In Catalan: Ho sento jo dubtava que vostè i en nom de la STR de contingència, la benvinguda a la nostra ciutat vaca. Esperem que l’estada.

In Spanish: Lo siento yo dudaba de que usted y en nombre de la STR de contingencia, la bienvenida a nuestra ciudad vaca. Esperamos que la estancia.

In Hip Hop: Yo Euro Hoops Gansta R to the U to the B, sorry fo frontin’. Props from my homies and welcome to the heifer hizzouse. Feel fre to kick it my Catalan brutha, aheyet?

Rubio Where For Art Thou Rubio?

June 13, 2009

Ricky Rubio with his snippets of video highlights, game appearances and press releases has successfully managed to garner international interest, a probably NBA Lottery contract, and a line of endorsements that would make even Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag whine, “Why is he getting all the publicity?”

So where is he and why isn’t he here?

Although the Spanish sensation is young, I doubt for a second that his career and future ‘corporation’ are nothing less than a calculated if not schemed maneuvering to maximize his fortune and fame without the expense or risk of having to prove himself on the court–at least not in a traditional sense. In other words his camp is a marketing genius leaving us awe struck and thirsty for more while we ponder if it is justifiable hoopla or a hoodwink in the making. His body of work is as streaky as his game, one minute he is filling the stat sheet with productive razzle dazzle and another he is biding his time on the pine.

From his camp’s perspective what is the upside in coming out of hiding right now other than for PR interivews? There is no need to prove the detractors correct by showing up and looking average against the other PGs that will comprise the middle to later portion of the first round. Most of the workouts are individual drills and 3 on 3s where his outside shot that comes free with a quirky release (picture Kevin Martin watching with glee in his eyes as he thinks to himself, mine looks better than that)  and lack of physicality will be accentuated over his creative passes, steals, alley oops and ability to execute the pick-n-roll.

Five on five camps that feature full court looks for scouts also make sense to pass up as most of those venues help showcase athletic abilities and one on one skills as their isn’t sufficient time to develop offensive schemes and cohesion between players. Rubio’s prowess is going to be better served where he knows his teams’ abilities and has a feel for where and when to pass the rock. The motley crue he would play with in these pick up games are ill prepared for his passing antics. Specifically his assists would likely be less and turnovers higher–no need for that to be highlighted.

Given his camps preference for the big markets any additional proof that he is the next Bond will only further incite Memphis and OK to remain geeked on him as their next star. Selfishly, he will make more cake if he drops in the draft and gets to play in a bigger market despite a down scaled starting salary. BTW – Don’t buy into the philosophy that he won’t be able to pay the piper back in Spain as his first real endorsement will more than cover that tab if he ultimately loses his pending arbitration.

Finally, given the polls of public opinion, there is no real upside that the Clippers are going to take a chance on Rubio over Blake, who has spent more time in Hollywood this last month than Britney Spears. So why showcase anything there so that the other teams can steal looks or hear rumors that either erode his enigma or complicate his destiny to another more attractive market.

Let’s be frank: He belongs in New York or LA where his marquee potential can rival his basketball gifts. Anywhere else will only be a 3 year hiatus before his free agent stock would illicit a bloated overpaid contract in a big market anyway. Sacramento could get a lot better with Rubio, but I doubt he would stay in Sacramento unless we are threatening to win an NBA championship and we have already voted that we are at least 2 seasons away from making the playoffs.

Furthermore, I honestly don’t recall a time when there was this much attention given pre-draft for a bunch of semi-talented high risk/high reward players, especially at the guard position. With Rubio leading the pack, it is safe to say that very few of us are fully committed to any PG in this draft and yet we all feel at least 3 PG and 3 Combo guards would make our team better in a hurry.

What gives most of anxiety is using the 4th pick on someone that doesn’t become an All Star for the Kings. To make matters worse none of us are convinced anyone will absolutely become a top 10 player in the NBA from this draft. If I am wrong on that please speak up or or ever hold your peace.

SO, after reading about several other team’s needs and blogs and there definitely seems to be some interest in the trade machine around Rubio. If we play our hand right we can leverage Rubio’s lust for the limelight while satiating our desire for a player that wants to and can start for our Kings while improving the team elsewhere.

My Two Cents in Making Sense of it All

June 10, 2009

WOW! Anyone who wanted a Kings fix had plenty to take in over the last 18 hours or so. After reading everyone’s take on the hiring of Paul Westphal I cannot help but jump into the fray albeit a day late and a dollar short on a myriad topics.

On the Maloofs – Thanks for allowing the process (as painful for us fans as it was) to run its course. Of course I have seen old ladies run faster at JJ North’s for their ‘early bird buffet’, but that’s a boring story only my dead grandma would love.

Petrie had a strong friendship and great synergy with Adelman that he was never able to leverage during the last few coaching stints. By allowing Petrie to make this call, the success or failings of this decision can now be attributed to Petrie and given his lame duck status, it would be unfair to not renew his contract after this season because your short list of coaching hires were less equipped for performance than a Yugo at Daytona.

On Geoff Petrie – Geoff, has one last hurrah to make this franchise good again. I trust that he will maximize the opportunity to prove himself yet again (remember he was voted Executive of the year twice). I believe he will overcome the challenges associated with the Kings presently. But consider what Petrie is up against:

– A deficient roster that would not win in the Euro League.

– A Business hemorrhaging money that even Obama’s stimulus package won’t remedy.

– A facility that without a successor may reduce basketball in Sacramento to just the Monarchs (ugh) and the every other year NCAA Regional or Prep State Final (Sorry Sac State, Hornet Basketball is somewhere between AAU and the Fulton-El Camino Rec League at this point.

– A draft so weak that the team who selects the last PG in the first round has an equal chance to make the All Rookie Team next year. We are so lucky that we get three picks in this draft versus any other year when this could be the difference in the Kings being in the lottery again versus the 8th seed.

– A fan base that will no longer spend their last disposable dollar to witness bad basketball.

– A new coach who must dust the cobwebs off his ’93 playbook on how to take an awesome team to the finals and write a new chapter on how to make an awful team awesome.

All this in 10 months just to be considered for a contract extension.

On Westphal – In agreement with a lot of your posts, Westphal makes sense. It would not have been my choice, but I already ranted and raved about that. In Westphal, Petrie has a guy that he can trust:

– Handling the Media (no idiotic statements, rants to the press after tough losses, no DUIs, etc.)

– Handling the pressures of the NBA Carousel (he is not going to pine to the Maloofs behind Petrie’s back, or become overly stressed about the lack of security in the coaching ranks. Won’t worry about his rapport with the players.)

– Head Coaching Responsibilities (He will be very comfortable with managing the day to day stuff, knows what needs to be done, how to do so confidently. Will round out his staff with senior guys that will be delegated with responsibilities without fear that they will take his job.)

– Evaluating Players (Petrie has an opinion and Westphal will likely feel the same so little rub here. They will be able to discuss trade scenarios, draft options with similar perspectives.)

– Win Games (We were 2-15 in games decided by 3 points or less last year. Being able to design a play that will win the game is an art and requires a feel for the game situation, but most importantly experience. As a former player and long time coach, Westphal has a lot more to pull from than anyone else we could have hired.)

– Developing Players (He like Adelman knows how to deal with players and most players like the guy. While the verdict is still out on how well he can cultivate young talent, he will benefit from a hungry young team that wants to get better. While I don’t think Westphal helps our defense, insert defensive assistant here, he does have the Johnson and Payton eras to draw from so assuming we improve at point guard execution this year is a safe bet.)

On Westphal’s future staff – A few names have been assumed so far. It is funny that some of the positive feedback on Petrie hiring Westphal stem from an assumption that Ellie and Porter come too. Absent that, I wonder if some pessimism quickly leaks into our psyches knowing how painfully bad we are defensively. Regardless here is some info on this alleged short list:

Terry Porter – I loved this guy back in the late ’80s and early ’90s when he played for Adelman (under Petrie) with Portland. Porter averaged 12.2 points, 5.6 assists and 1.24 steals, an All-Star  in 1991,1993 and he is 11th on the NBA’s all-time assist list (7,160). Most interesting is Porter played for five of the top 36 coaches (games won) in NBA history: Pat Riley (1,110), Jack Ramsay (864), Rick Adelman (603), Gregg Popovich (339) and Flip Saunders (328).

As a Head Coach, despite that windfall of coaching mentorship, Terry has not faired well. His over all record in 194 games is 87 W – 107 L. He spent one season with the Kings in ’03. 2 with the Bucks, and half a season with Phoenix. During the ’05-’06, ’07-’08 and 1/2 ’09 seasons he was out of the league. In other words he has only worked full time about 50% over the last 5 NBA seasons. Those are big gaps. His defensive rating as the head coach at Milwakee was 23rd and 28th for those seasons.

As an assistant coach with Detroit, their defensive rating was 7th with a very talented core that included Chancey Billups, Tayshaun PrinceRichard HamiltonRasheed Wallace but a hobbled Chris Webber. As an assistance coach with Sac back in ’03 the defensive rating was 2nd in the league–although it was Terry’s first gig as a coach so not sure how much can be deduced there.

I get that the guy can help teach defense in an up-tempo offense that Westphal will likely run, I just think as as coach he may be over-rated.

Mario Elie – Super Mario was a late bloomer having more success playing ball on the streets of New York and in Europe before finally becoming an NBA player 5 seasons after being drafted. He has 3 RIngs, two with Houston and one with the Spurs before retiring after the ’00 season.

He started his NBA coaching career 6 season ago with the Spurs and also spent two season at Golden State before landing in Dallas two years ago.. He has a good knowledge base of the European game and also speaks Spanish, French and Portuguese.

In the ’04 season the Spurs were the best defensive rated team. The Warriors were 16th and 17th during Elie’s stay there. The Mavericks defensive ratings over the last two seasons were 9th and 17th. I am not sure why Elie would leave Dallas with an owner that has money and a team that is in the playoffs where his visibility for a head coaching job will continue to improve.

I like Elie more than Porter but don’t see why Kings pay for a contract buy-out and why Elie takes a step down from a winning franchise to the Kings.

Brian James – 4 years with the Bucks and stints with the WizardsRaptors and Pistons. 5 seasons in the playoffs over 10 years. Was a scout with Seattle prior to that and former high school basketball coach. He worked under Porter while with the Bucks.

Bryan Gates – Head Coach of the Stampede in the NBA Development League. Despite never playing college basketball has been a very successful coach including 9 seasons with the Stampede where they won the D-League championship last year. He is known for teamwork, rebounding and defense.

Overall I don’t have an issue with any of these coaches joining Paul Westphal. I just still feel we are light on candidates with proven defensive success in the NBA over the last several years.

On Rambis – A lot of us down here in So Cal are not surprised that Rambis was not going to happen. Phil will be done soon if not after this season, and Rambis is myopic enough to wait longer if need be to take over the most prestigious franchise in Basketball (sit down, chowder heads I know you have more rings) with all the money, acclaim, celebrities and success it will expectedly bring.

Not lost on Rambis is that the Staples Center is the crown jewel of the NBA right now. LA Live with the Nokia Theatre across the street is sick so he won’t have to work part time selling the Kings to developers or worried about moving to some other hell hole mid-season.

As much as we love Joe and Gavin kickin’ it with an occasional celeb, Jerry Buss is second only to Heffner in pulling in the ass. Rambis will make double what we are paying Westphal if he takes over for  the Lakers so there was little upside in leaving LaLaland for the Kings. Petrie did the right thing by pulling the trigger on a guy who wants to be in Sac versus a guy that would only consider Sac as a consolation prize.

On Mayor Kevin Johnson – So this triangulation between The Kings, Coach Westphal (the sound is growing on me) and Petrie is intriguing. I hope I speak for all of us that we hoped that there would be some Kings benefit with Kevin in charge. Perhaps Westphal helps bridge that gap. I am sure Mayor Johnson wants the Kings to be successful, but you gotta believe that there will be even more love coming the Kings way now that his buddy has the job. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that somehow, either downtown, West Sac, Natomas or Cal Expo translates into the Kings remaining in Sacramento.

On the Draft – We have all dissected this draft in hopes of feeling comfortable on who the 3-4 choices will be based on the what happens with picks 1-3. Even a few months into this I still don’t think there is a consensus on the logical trade scenario(s) , trade(s) up/down, or needs by teams above us in the draft. Simply put Blake will be drafted first, but will the Clippers keep him and what happens next is still completely unpredictable.

There is no argument that we will draft a point guard. Given Westphal’s history with Johnson and Payton, I suspect his influence will be valuable in assisting Petire on who to draft. I am keenly interested in any potential feedback on the guard evaluations this week and expect we will be debating the point guard position intensely up until draft day.

In Summary – I love all the responses regarding our beloved Kings. I am optimistic about the draft and next season and the future of the Kings remaining in Sacramento. I mean, I have to be, I don’t have a cat to kick…

Here’s one reason to root for the L#$ers…

June 7, 2009

So assuming the Purple & Gold get past Super Man Redux and Hedon’t (this year), Jackson will have surpassed immortality and have nothing left to prove. Although winning never gets old, dating the boss’s daughter might if she continues with the behind the scene’s home videos. There was a longer video taken where he is interviewed in bed, but after watching it, I was overcome with nausea, so I give you this one so you at least you get the idea…

Jeanie Vision – trailer for promotion (via seabridgeone)

Jackson may be somewhat bound to the team to please Jeanie. Here is a pic that further illustrates what effect she may have on him and what he does going forward.


via i178.photobucket.com

There is a real strong possibility that he may have to coach a little longer if he likes basketball. (Insert — How ’bout them basketballs?)

If they lose this year, expect him to stay on as the coach at least for another year.

If they win, 50/50 chance he steps away from the sideline. Normally, Executive positions open up for coaches in this situation. However, The Lakers are already stacked with a full staff. In fact Phil’s future father-in-law Jerry just filled the open assistant General Manager role. Bonnie Jill-Laflin, who looks to me to be quite qualified.


via 1.bp.blogspot.com

Although Mitch Kupchak has never been beloved during his tenure, I don’t see how Phil taking over for Mitch and inserting himself into a Buss club sandwich with Jeanie reporting to Phil and Phil reporting to son Jim or Jerry. I also don’t see the Buss regime disbanding anytime soon, so, Phil may have some big decisions to make after the season is over. At best it is incest, worst case, it is fodder for Jeanie’s Reality TV Series – The Busts and the Buss’s.

So what does this mean for our Kings:

Does Phil’s departure mean Rambis is out for the King’s gig? You would think so but, er, no. Lots of rumors down here that Phil wants Rambis to succeed him as Coach–others want Byron Scott to be the next Coach. There is a little bit of a quandary given Rambis leaving the organization is somewhat dependent on Phil’s decision which is somewhat dependent on the Lakers winning (given) and somewhat dependent on the Buss dynamics such as, “Sweetie, I know Daddy will pay you $15M to coach one more year, what do you say? Pretty Please?!”

Rambis is tight with Phil for sure. In fact he went on KLAC AM Sports Radios Show and blasted Jim Buss for insinuating that Phil was fired the first time by Jerry Buss. exclaiming. “Jim Buss was puffing up his chest a little bit and trying to take charge and make his voice heard and make his voice known. But some of the comments he said (about Jackson) … flat out weren’t right.”

He also defended Phil over other comments Jim made about Phil’s development of younger players,We’re working with our young guys constantly on a daily basis to improve them. But Jim doesn’t know that because he doesn’t come to practice.”

Regardless, I doubt Rambis is tighter with Phil than Jeanie so I am not surprised over reports that Rambis has not yet played his hand with the Kings yet–still holding out for a sign that the keys to the Staples Center are his.

The only thing that is certain is if the LA team dispatches the Magic quickly, then decisions will be made sooner.

If Rambis leaves Jack Nicholas Court, then most likely it is because Phil is staying put. that is bad for the Kings. So if you want to increase the likelihood that the LA team drops off of supremacy, then root for those bastards this week.

And then take a long hot shower to wash yourself free of that nauseous feeling you will have. Just thinking about it all makes me want to puke purple and gold.

Petrie: Hear our Crazy Cow Bells Ringing!

June 3, 2009

It was brought to my attention that some of the STR contingency is resigned to the fact that the Kings are going to hire Paul Westphal. Many of you responded to my previous polls (thanks btw) indicating a strong preference for either Kurt Rambis, Tom Thibodeau, Avery Johnson, Ettore Messina, and Jeff Van Gundy. Paul didn’t make our short list.

Am I too optimistic or myopic to assume that the true Kings Fans that religiously read STR and pine about what is needed to turn around the organization don’t realize that we have an actual opportunity to perhaps leverage our collective soul to potentially influence this process to ensure all of the contenders above are equally considered?

What does it hurt to share with the Maloofs, Geoff Petrie, local media or even K9 that we strongly believe Paul Westphal, while not a terrible choice is not even in our top 5 list of candidates?

At best he is as good as Rick Adelman, a competent coach that can steer the team in a new direction and get us back to playoff caliber basketball. Like Rick Adelman, he lacks the Je ne sais quoi to get a team over the hump to win the Championship. (Sorry Rick, we know the league screwed us in 2002 and Chris’ injury in 2003 ruined your legacy). Like Adelman’s Kings, Westphal’s Suns were arguably better than Phil Jackson’s team (The Bulls) but was out coached by Phil Jackson.

Worst case is he is as good as Rick Adelman (nobody at STR would pick ’em over Adelman mind you), a coach that was unable to turn around in 2 years a bad team like Golden State (Even though they had Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, Joe SmithLatrell Sprewell).

Adelman’s teams averaged 3rd and 10th respectively–none of which ever won the NBA Championship. Westphal’s teams averaged 8th and 19th respectively. I will post separately some more analysis on this topic later.

Westphal and Adelman both have winning percentages above .600, but neither coach ever turned around a team that was bad or young and turned them into a contender. Portland, Phoenix, Sacramento, Seattle, and Houston were all play-off bound teams all had at least one All NBA player on them. If we were looking for a coach to deal with Shaq and Kobe shenanigans then they could be your guy. Both maintained status quo and dealt with Egos like Clyde, Barkley, Ainge, Latrell Sprewell, Kevin Johnson, Ron Artest and Tracy McGrady. That is a nice feature, but is irrelevant give our team right now.

If Westphal becomes our Coach we are destined to repeat history. If this happens we lose K-Mart at his prime and most likely push JT and Hawes to greener pastures. We cannot stress enough how important it is to mold the young nucleus of potential we have over the next two years.

If you take a look at just two factors that determine the success of an NBA Team here they are: Pace Factor and Defensive Rating. I am not saying they are the only two of course but there is amazing consistency amongst the NBA Championship teams. Only two teams in the last 20 seasons, the ’02 Lakers and the ’95 Rockets cracked the top 10 in Pace Factor and still won the title. Likewise, Defense wins championships and only those same two teams were non Top 9 Defense Rated teams and still won the title. The winning average? Pace Factor average of 19 and Defensive Rating average of 4.5.

We need a coach that has won a championship or who was the assistant coach for a team that won a championship or came from a system that instilled a philosophy that slowed the pace down and improved our defense so we increase our upside to win a championship. Based on all of the above I will remind our Kings faithful here about the other picks:

Kurt = 3 championships, 5 finals under Phil Jackson. Pace Factor is an 11.3 avg. and 6.1 Defensive Rating avg.

Avery Johnson = Took Nelson’s team with a Pace Factor of 2nd and Defensive Rating of 29th and in one season they were 9th and 9th respectively. The next season they were 26th and 11th respectively and went to the NBA Finals. His career Pace Factor average is 21 and his Defensive Rating is 8.5. Don’t forget his NBA Coach of the Year honor in ’06

Tom Thibodeau = 1 championship 2 finals; as a lead assistant his teams averaged a Defensive Rating of 6th and a Pace Factor of 22nd. If you subtract the lame duck coach years under Chaney, Tarkanian and Lucas his Defensive rating moves to 4th!

Jeff Van Gundy = 1 Final as a head coach and 1 Final under Riley. Career Pace Factor average of 21.7 and Defensive Rating of 4.

Ettore Messina = Won 87.8% of his games throughout last 21 season as a Head Coach in Professional Basketball not including at the Junior National level. In total he has won 5 Junior Championships, 11 Cups, 8 National Championships, and 4 Euroleague Championships. At every level he has won titles with multiple teams. At quick glance his team has led the Euroleague this year in fewest points allowed while having an estimated Pace Factor of 16 out of 24 teams. His team is 8th in points scored, 3rd in shooting, 1st in 3 point shooting, 1st in fewest turnovers, and 1st in blocks. Subsequently they are below average in rebounding but if you take the ball away and allow fewer possessions it follows those stats would be lower.

In Summary, we have a golden opportunity to turn this franchise around and a head coach is an integral part of that goal. Please give me your feedback on if or how we should sound our crazy cow bells and be heard!