SACRAMENTO – Dave Joerger is out. What does this all mean?
The Sacramento Kings surprised a good part of the basketball world on Thursday, when they left the veteran coach after three years at the helm. They go in a new direction, although at this moment it is not known in which direction they are going.
Joerger started the season strong, escaped a behind-the-scenes battle with badistant general manager Brandon Williams that extended to the public and won more games as the Kings' coach than anyone other than Rick Adelman or Garry St. Jean.
He also saw his team fight in the final straight, finishing 9-17 in the last 26 games and losing the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season.
In the defense of Joerger, it was predicted that the Kings would win 25.5 games from the creators of Las Vegas bets. The fact that they showed an improvement of 12 games over the previous season and had the most victories since the 2005-06 season is impressive.
Who made the decision?
General manager Vlade Divac had plenty of time to evaluate Joerger and his coaching style during their three seasons together. According to Divac, the decision was his alone.
"It was clear, it was my decision," he said. "Obviously, I had to report [ownership] about that, but they supported that. "
Because right now?
It is complicated, but the short answer is this: Joerger was entering the last year of his contract and there was little chance of him entering the next season as coach of "lame duck".
Divac had two options, let it go or extend it. He chose to let it go and find someone more compatible with the way he wants the team to venture down.
"The next level is a team that will be a playoff team and in the future, a contender," Divac said Thursday. "I think our children are very talented, we have to believe in them and give them the opportunity to take advantage of their work and talent."
The final merger of the Portland team game did not help at all, but plans were underway long before the Kings lost a 28-point lead at the Fashion Center.
What went wrong?
The end-of-season losses were a problem, but according to Divac, he began to consider a change of coach after the All-Star break. That's when the Kings sat down at 30-27 and finished making a series of moves to improve the talent on the roster.
"I think he did a great job to take that step, but moving forward, I felt we had to go in a different direction," said Divac de Joerger. "It's been three years and we've made progress, but this year, I know that with you, and I feel the same, it was a good season, but I think we could do more, especially after the All-Star."
While Divac did not force Joerger's hand, he did not agree with at least one specific rotational problem.
Divac preferred that Marvin Bagley start in the position of power forward, especially at the end of the season. Selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Bagley was incredibly promising in his rookie season, although two separate knee injuries cost him time.
Joerger chose to start Bagley with a total of four games out of a total of 62 possible opportunities. Bagley performed extremely well in those early days, averaging 20.0 points and 11.5 rebounds in 33 minutes per game. On the downside, Bagley ran a minimum of 11.8 per game as a starter and the Kings lost all four games.
The issue of the beginning of Bagley was also one of the main problems behind the break between Joerger and Williams. While Divac was trying to play the peacemaker, the tension was palpable behind the scenes throughout the season.
Divac allowed Joerger to train his team, but that does not mean he did not have different opinions on some of his decisions. In the end, the winner stopped and very few adjustments were made.
Who is the next one?
"Our new coach, I'm looking for, has to bring, in the first place, the style we had last year, that's the style of the Kings," said Divac when addressing the possible replacement of Joerger. "We have to play that way." Uptempo and moving the ball and communication and defined roles and obviously believing in the team.
Names like Luke Walton, Ettore Messina and Monty Williams have already appeared. The Kings have a young and exciting roster that is on the rise, which could attract Walton or one of the highest-level aides in the league.
Walton is still employed by the Lakers, although that will not last long. The second-year coach had a disastrous first season with superstar LeBron James. The Lakers finished the season two games behind the Kings in the standings, with James losing the playoffs after eight appearances in the Finals in a row.
Messina has spent the last five seasons on Gregg Popovich's staff after an extremely successful career training abroad. He has been in the race for several jobs in recent seasons, but for one reason or another, he has not achieved a head coach position.
Williams has experience as a head coach since his time with the pelicans. The 47-year-old became a coach and posted a 173-221 record in five seasons in New Orleans. He has made his way into the league as an badistant with the 76ers after a personal tragedy took him away from the game.
It is likely that additional trainers will be added to this list. Divac conducted a thorough search before Joerger was available at the end of the process the last time. Messina and Mike Woodson figured prominently in Divac's list of candidates at the time.
Was this the right movement?
While Joerger was a very good trainer of X and O, he has an advantage that rubs certain people incorrectly. Williams' problem was a problem, but the murmurs of a disconnection with his players began to filter at the end of the season.
[RELATED:[RELATED:[RELACIONADO:[RELATED:Kings end once promising season in the lowest note]
Maybe it was the fault game or maybe Joerger's focus had run out. Either way, this is a great bet from Divac. Joerger not only exceeded expectations, but also showed the ability to completely change his coach style to complement his squad.
"We know as a group what we want to do," said Divac. "We are aware of the challenges, but we are going in the right direction."
Joerger was the ninth head coach in Sacramento since Adelman left in 2006. He lasted longer than any of the previous eight and also won more. In his first year at the helm, he enlisted on a veteran roster, fought through a complete rebuild and won the most victories in more than a decade in his third season.
It was not a perfect mandate, but Joerger and his staff were a great reason for the Kings' success this season. Time will tell whether or not this was the right decision, but it was certainly a bold move on the part of Divac, who is appropriating his legacy in Sacramento.