When the Sacramento Kings lost last Wednesday to the Minnesota Timberwolves, it was the first of a three-game losing streak.
Kings big man Tristan Thompson went on an epic rant after the Timberwolves loss that would prove prophetic for the head coaching position.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 21, 2021
Fifteen Year Drought
For a team that hasn’t seen the postseason in 15 years, Thompson showed frustration that only stems from a franchise’s almost 20 years of unrealized dreams.
MUST LISTEN FROM TRISTAN THOMPSON
"No man in this world should rely on another man to inspire them…I don't need no f—g coach to inspire me. Never have, never will. The day I need a coach to inspire me is the day I'm f—-g retiring."
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) November 18, 2021
“No man in this world should rely on another man to inspire him,” said Thompson in the Timberwolves postgame press conference. “Point-blank, you can put that in all capitals. Me personally, no one should ever need a coach to inspire you. If you don’t get inspired in the game, then you shouldn’t be on the court.”
Luke Walton Fired
Fast forward to Saturday’s loss to the Utah Jazz, and the Sacramento Kings decided to fire coach Luke Walton.
The team announced the decision on Sunday. During his over two seasons with the Kings, Walton went 68-93.
“We all know all of us have to be better, especially over the last two weeks,” said general manager Monte McNair at a press conference. “We’re not meeting expectations. That’s not just on Luke. That’s on me, the rest of our coaches, and players. Everyone acknowledges that.”
Hail The Gentry
Now associate head coach Alvin Gentry has been elevated to the interim head coach position. The 67-year-old Gentry has led five different NBA teams.
Already under contract for the 2022-23 season on his assistant coaching contract, according to sources, Gentry will receive a pay raise.
Sources: Alvin Gentry will become the Kings’ interim coach. Gentry is already under contract through 2022-2023, gets a raise to take interim job and agreement on some benchmarks of success rest of this season with team to try and keep job longer.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2021
In addition, assistant coach Rico Hines was elevated, according to reports. Hines was initially brought on as a player development coach in 2019 by former coach Walton.
He served as an interim head coach for the Miami Heat in the 1994–95 season and later coached the Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, and New Orleans Pelicans.
However, Thompson made a great point in his rant about the Kings. It will take a lot more than a great coach to push the team past the doldrums of the bottom of the division.
“The reality is [the] road trip should have been a 4-0,” said Thompson after their 1-3 journey that included losses to San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Minnesota.
“Those teams, three out of those four teams really didn’t want to win those games,” Thompson groused. “They’re probably [ticked off] that they even won those games. Tonight was another night, these are the games you have to win. If you’re trying to be in the playoffs or be in the play-in game, these are the wins that you have to capitalize on.”
Where The Hope Resides?
However, the Kings general manager believes the team has what it takes to turn the corner.
“I think we have the talent,” McNair said. “We’ve shown that we can do that. We’re going to get back to that, and Alvin will be the guy to lead us there.”
According to reports, Gentry will have benchmarks to meet to stay in his head coach position with the Kings long term.
In the 15 years without a playoff run, ten head coaches have attempted to solve the postseason problem for Sac-town. However, minus the inherent inspiration from the game itself, the Kings will not defeat their internal demons.