Sacramento Kings of Dysfunction: First Half Recap


It was expected to be a turning-the-corner type of season for the Sacramento Kings. Brand new jerseys, a huge contract for one of the best big-men in the league, an arena just two seasons away, and an uproarious, born-again group of fans. But, not much seems to go as planned, especially when you are a Kings fan; whether it be countless draft miscues, tough playoff eliminations to, well, coaching issues.

Fans were thrilled this season when the team started 9-5, a record that the Kings faithful hadn’t seen in many years (10 to be exact) and when Rudy Gay signed a contract extension in November, but just as the Sacramento fans were ready to claim NBA relevance, the Kings’ centerpiece, DeMarcus Cousins missed 10 games with a viral infection that left him hospitalized.

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As Cousins went down, the team plummeted, losing eight of their next 10. This ultimately led to the Kings’ firing of coach Mike Malone after an 11-13 start to the 2014-15 season. Tyrone Corbin then took over for the Kings.

From there, the Kings lost what little identity they had found under Malone. The defense became fictitious, and even with the team’s offense picking up, the team’s flow became an issue. When the team’s best player is a low-post, half-court presence, that’s seemingly going to affect their rhythm.

While the team ineffectively went 7-21 under Corbin, all while not racking up a single winning-streak, the demeanor of players began to noticeably change. While the team was winning, they were having fun, posting Instagram pictures and what-not, but when the struggles began, social media accounts of some of the players went quiet and the enjoyability had disappeared. Many players seemingly threw in the towel, effortlessly just being on the court rather than actually playing.

Then came the leaking of negotiations between the front office and George Karl and the he-say, she-say which ultimately led to Cousins having to explain to members of the media that he had nothing to do with Malone’s firing and that he would have nothing to do with Karl’s hire. This all came after a Cousins game-winner against the Phoenix Suns, nonetheless, proving that the focus of the team during the bizarre episode had shifted from on-court to off-court.

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While the fingers were being pointed, the Kings fans began to wonder if Pete D’Alessandro’s transparency was a little more than was needed, since it seemed there was a new leak to the media every hour. The stories that were being reported made little sense to many, and it effectively made the Kings front office look a bit like a circus.

While the Kings fans didn’t hope to contend for a title right away, obviously, they wanted to see a changing of the course for a team who had been anchored at the bottom of the NBA for far too long. So far this season, that expectation has dwindled to wishing for a better record than last season (28-54).

With Cousins earning his first All-Star appearance and the Karl hire all but wrapped up, the Kings have a second half they can look forward to. It’s time for the team to continue to grind out and, although they won’t be playing for a playoff spot, they can continue to build towards next season when they’ll still boast a Darren Collison, Gay and Cousins triple-threat with a group of advancing young role players.

Next: Sacramento Kings Finally Get Boost to Victory