December 16, 2008
Reggie Theus was fired as coach of the Kings on Monday after a rough 6-18 start. He was the 35th NBA coach fired this season. (True story.) Here's what they're saying out in the ether about the latest coaching casualty ...
Larry Brown Sports: "When I look at the Raptors or the 76ers, I see what they did last year and the talented players on the roster, therefore I can understand people having fairly high expectations for the team. But when you’re the Sacramento Kings and you’ve been in the lottery the last few years and you traded away one of your best defenders in the off season in Ron Artest, what are you really expecting for the season? Additionally, factor in Kevin Martin’s ankle injury that has caused him to miss pretty much the last five weeks, and you’re looking at a team that’s — let’s face it — not very good. I guess from an outsider’s perspective, the move was surprising given the timing."
Sactown Royalty: "This team was in a superbly awful way when Theus got the job. The Kings sit in a better place today. Why is that? Mike Bibby turned into Beno Udrih and cap space. Ron Artest turned into Donté Greene and a draft pick. Spencer Hawes came to town. Jason Thompson came to town. Kevin Martin continued his ascent. John Salmons embraced the spotlight, and Francisco Garcia did everything he's supposed to. If you'd like to credit Theus with Hawes, you're probably mistaken. If you'd like to credit Theus with Thompson ... well, he's had the kid for 2-1/2 months, and Shock is doing the things he did in college. Martin's development? Garcia's development? Udrih's development? Can any of those be credited to Reggie Theus? It doesn't seem like it."
The Rip City Project: "Theus didn't even get a year and a half. How can a coach make a difference in a year and a half? And why would the Kings fire him? He exceeded expectations last year and the Kings are off to a slow start this year becuase a) they are terrible, look at that roster and b) Kevin Martin has sat out 14 of their 20 games. Not to say he doesn't have his issues ... I mean they have negative identity, but if you're going to hire a guy you have to give him more than a year and a half. Especially when you aren't supposed to be sniffing the playoffs anyways."
The FanHouse: "[Geoff] Petrie has only fired a head coach once in his near 20 seasons as a basketball executive. In four years in Portland, Petrie stayed with Rick Adelman; Petrie left when Adelman did. Upon arriving in Sacramento in 1995, Petrie kept atrocious incumbent coach Garry St. Jean for nearly two full years. However, in March of 1996 with 15 games remaining, Petrie canned St. Jean. Since then, the Kings have gone through four coaches; only Theus saw his end come during a campaign."
Dime: "Whereas coaches have always been given a grace period in the past, whether it was dealing with a young roster or injuries to a team’s key players, GMs nowadays seem to have little patience when it comes to the bottom line. Looking at the League from the bottom up, if more losses than wins means you’re out of a job, the next coaches statistically in line for an ESPN studio gig are Mike Dunleavy (Clippers), Larry Brown (Bobcats), Don Nelson (Warriors), Jim O’Brien (Pacers), Marc Iavaroni (Grizzlies) and Scott Skiles (Bucks). Of this group, Brown (7-17) and Skiles (10-15) are in their first season, and should be immune to dismissal; O’Brien (43-62) and Iavaroni (31-75) are in their second year, and have programs in serious rebuilding mode; and Nelson (97-91) is in his third season with the previous two accompanied by winning records. Out of all six, the veteran Dunleavy and O’Brien should potentially have the most to worry about."
Hardwood Paroxysm: "I think this firing was fairly predictable. Kevin Martin and 'Cisco Garcia have missed some serious time to start the season, but their absence can't be blamed for a defense only Nellie could love, despite unexpectedly solid production from Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes. I think Theus has some admirable qualities as a head coach, and I'm very confident that he'll get another gig pretty soon. But what's to become of the Kings? Who knows. Well, I mean Ziller probably knows, but ... y'know. Tops we're looking at a team vying for 10th in the West, and conversely they're bottoming out around 13th. They weren't expected to compete for a playoff spot, but I think there's certainly a level of disappointment there."