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Sacramento Kings: Vlade Divac believes that the key to winning is understanding



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Kings introduces Luke Walton as the new coach

Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac introduced Luke Walton as his new head coach during a press conference on Monday, April 15, 2019 at the Golden 1 Center. Walton agreed to a four-year deal with the Kings on Saturday.

Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac introduced Luke Walton as his new head coach during a press conference on Monday, April 15, 2019 at the Golden 1 Center. Walton agreed to a four-year deal with the Kings on Saturday.

Luke Walton is Kings' new coach because general manager Vlade Divac does not care what the sports experts think.

He does not care if they hit him or make fun of his accent or if they consider that his decision to fire former Kings coach Dave Joerger is proof that the Kings are still not working after 13 years of losing seasons in the wilderness. NBA

Last week, Divac quickly abandoned Joerger even though the Kings finished with their best franchise record since 2005-06. At no time, Divac was chasing Walton, who was also fired last week by the Los Angeles Lakers.

And Walton joined Divac Monday at Golden 1 Center, where they were smiling, happy, ready to work together as "teammates."

The keywords of Divac about its new employee, new appearance, new partner and new culture were these:

"We understood each other very well," said Divac.

That, my friends, has been the compass in the life of Vlade Divac: Understanding.

Undoubtedly, Americans underestimate how this Serbian peacemaker has been informed by his country devastated by the war.

We forget how he played basketball with blood brothers who became blood enemies because his country split with Serbian players and Croatian players suddenly on opposite sides. Love was replaced by hate. Understanding gave way to discord. Close friends died and reconciliation never happened.

So now, if you really pay attention to what Divac says and what he does, he clearly has no time for discord.

Divac is not looking for utopia. He knows that the NBA is a fierce business. He knows that hard words are part of the business. He gives as well as he takes.

But what Divac does not have time for is the people who can not find a way to work within a structure where winning is achieved through understanding.

If you really saw the Kings stumble and stumble to the finish line, you would not be asking why Divac fired Joerger and replaced him with Walton. If he really listened to Divac when he talked about what is important to him, he would not wonder why Joerger left and why Walton is here.

That question has been asked and answered negatively by sports experts who do not see the Kings regularly or listen to Divac.

Some people in Sacramento have wondered why a certain segment of the Kings nation is emotionally and psychologically hungry.

Fans have seen a team so central to Sacramento's identity to be so bad for so long that any kind of success seems like a gourmet meal. These poor souls are so hungry to win that they looked beyond the crumbs that Joerger was serving when the Kings went 9-16 after winning their 30th game on February 10th.

Which brings us back to the critical questions, which you would do just by looking at the games. Why did the Kings have a big advantage after a big advantage? Why did they minimize their competence? Why did not they appear in too many games?

Why did Joerger argue with guard Buddy Hield in a close game against the Golden State Warriors that the Kings lost when Hield faltered when he should have been shooting? Why did Hield vanish in the stretch?

Did you see the pathetic last home game of the season when a noisy crowd was treated to one of the worst defeats of the season in a loss to a New Orleans pelican without defense? Did you see the Kings exploit a 28-point lead in the final game of the season in Portland when the Trail Blazers did not even try to win?

None of that was good or positive, collaborative, intelligent or strategic. What did a group of young players learn from these experiences? Well, they learned how to exploit large potential customers in games. They seemed to learn to disconnect their coach.

In January, when I sat down with Divac to write a profile about him, it marked the first time it occurred to me that the Kings might be making a coaching change.

It happened quite innocently. I asked Divac about how Hield seemed to be responding well to Joerger attacking him constantly. I was surprised by the response: "From a player's perspective, I'm sure (Hield) does not appreciate it," said Divac. Whoa

Divac gave the impression that he was observing the situation closely. He talked about how he had told the owners of the Kings to wait to give Joerger an extension until the season was over. I wanted to see how the team would perform when the stakes were high.

It did not go well. Joerger never ceased to be a prickly control madman. The players did not seem to be playing hard for him on too many nights.

Someone that Divac really wanted as a coach would have solved this puzzle. Someone that Divac wanted would have found a way to be bigger than him and find a level of understanding that would make victory possible.

For any reason. Joerger was not that guy.

The day after the loss of Portland, Divac obtained a four-year contract extension and Joerger was gone.

Is Walton the answer? You will have to prove that it is. But Divac moved for him at once because he saw a partner who understood. They were partners in the last season of Divac in the NBA, with the Lakers. They are both friends, communicators. Both clearly like people. They are not mercurial or tight wound.

They understand each other The understanding of the people and the construction of a life of achievements are the legacy of Divac. Through these achievements, he was included in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Now, according to Divac, understanding will be the glue that binds the Kings to the championship.

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Marcos Breton writes comments and opinion columns about the region of Sacramento, California and the United States. He has been a California journalist for more than 30 years. He graduated from San Jose State University, voted in the Baseball Hall of Fame and is a proud son of Mexican immigrants.


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