The Sacramento Kings and head coach Luke Walton part ways as he was entering his third season in charge. The kings are dealing with a lot of uncertainties as former 2018 second overall pick Marvin Bagley III is looking for a change in scenery.
The Sacramento Kings Promote Assistant Coach Alvin Gentry to Interim Head Coach
The Sacramento Kings dismissed head coach Luke Walton after a dismal start to the season. The team. Coach Walton’s success came when he was the assistant and head coach for the Golden State Warriors as the franchise created a dynasty.
Walton was slated as the interim head coach for the Warriors where he led the team to a 19-0 start to open the 2015-16 season as head coach Steve Kerr was recovering from back surgery in the offseason that year. He couldn’t find much success with the Lakers as the organization was in the midst of rebuilding and searching for its identity.
The Kings have selected in the lottery in eight of the last nine years. Some of their risks have not turned out as they hoped, but De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton have exceeded expectations and are building blocks for the future. Rookie Davion Mitchell is still a work in progress as he has only played sixteen games so far, but he is currently ranked number ten in the Kia Rookie Ladder last week.
The Kings are searching of putting together a cohesive unit to generate wins. The team went 31-41 under Walton each of the past two seasons, and have lost seven of their last eight games dropping to 6-11 this season, which is good for twelfth place in the Western Conference. Several of their most recent losses came against struggling teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Walton’s record as head coach of the Sacramento Kings is 68-93, which was not the direction the team was hoping for. General Monte McNair stated,” We all know all of us have to be better, especially over the last two weeks,…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.”
What the Coaching Change Means for the Sacramento Kings
Alvin Gentry joined the team prior to the 2020-21 season and will take charge of his sixth team. Since he started coaching in 1988, Gentry holds a record of 510-595. Gentry will receive a raise in pay as he was slated for the assistant coach role until the 2022-23 season.
Assistant coach Rico Hines has also been promoted as he joined Luke Walton’s staff as the player development coach in 2019. If the Kings can turn it around, Gentry may be able to secure the head coaching position for the long term. If not, the Kings will be searching for a new coach once again.
The Kings offensive rating has been their strongest asset as the team ranks tenth; however, their defensive rating has been their kryptonite as they rank 26th in that category. The Kings have the longest active playoff drought since 2006 and have had ten head coaches during that time span. Gentry last made the playoffs as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2017-18 season with a 48-34 record.