The less than impressive showing of Sacramento King in the on-going NBA season has cost Luke Walton his job. The 41-year old was fired after a 6-11 start to the season and losing seven of eight, making him the first coach to suffer such fate just a month after tip-off. The ouster comes after an eighteen point defeat to Utah Jazz on home court Saturday night.
Breaking: The King have fired coach Luke Walton, sources tell @wojespn. pic.twitter.com/2gUo5AjLXA — SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 21, 2021
WALTON’S RECORD AT KINGS In just over two seasons as head coach, Walton finished with a record of 68-93 – a win rate of just over 42%. Walton, the son of Blazers legend Bill Walton, also served as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers from 2016-19. Expectations were high for the Kings under Walton, who are in 12th place in the Western Conference to make a spot in the play-offs for the first time since 2006 after his signing in April 2019, but current results suggests otherwise.
Uproar surrounding Walton’s job status grew in recent days and got delicately poised after surviving back-to-back 31-41 seasons. The Kings, with a young core, started the season 5-4 before entering their current downward spiral, which had their own fans chanting “Fire Luke Walton” at recent home games. The Kings rank 26th in defensive efficiency, and their season has been marked by both close and blowout losses. A recent four-game losing streak coupled with just one victory in the team’s last eight games sealed Walton’s fate. Walton was Sacramento’s eighth coach, including interim coaches, in the past 11 seasons, and the Kings have not reached the playoffs or had a winning record since 2005-2006.
Since letting Rick Adelman go in 2006, the Sacramento Kings have had 10 coaches in 15 years and have not made the playoffs. pic.twitter.com/vHmI5xFYjK — Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) November 21, 2021
GENTRY HAS HIS WORK CUT OUT Associate head coach Alvin Gentry, who recently was the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, is being named interim head coach. Coming in, Gentry will be haunted by the fact that the various front offices the team has had in recent years have used 10 lottery picks in the past 11 drafts to select some of the biggest busts in NBA draft history.
Alvin Gentry Has Been Named Interim Head Coach pic.twitter.com/a01BAW4o5W — Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) November 21, 2021
Over the years, the Kings have been unable to establish an identity of what their basketball is supposed to look like. Now would be an ideal time to refocus the franchise and find one with a roster featuring gifted but under-performing players such as De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Richaun Holmes and Tristan Thompson.