The Kings have fired coach Paul Westphal, according to CBS Sports.com. The conventional wisdom in the business world is that when leadership fails you, the best plan of action is to replace that leadership with a fresh face. We know how hirings and firings go in sports—often fans think that a changing of the guard in itself will morph the franchise and turn things into immediate good fortune.
These are the Sacramento Kings, unfortunately. The Kings are currently 2-5 and should be (at least) 4-3. To say that firing Westphal is going to make a significant difference would be foolish. On the other hand, there is definitely something to be said for cleaning house at the top. The Kings have some reasons to be excited, despite some terrible play of late, combined with a conceited baby crying in the other room.
Ignore Westphal's abysmal 51-120 record in two-plus seasons. Ignore the fact that DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans are tired of losing and can't stand the fact that nobody (including owners Joe and Gavin Maloof) seems to care. Ignore the fact that talent-wise, the Kings can beat just about every team in the Western Conference, given how watered down it is right now (maybe not the Blazers, Lakers—who the Kings already beat and Thunder).
The only thing that matters right now is that Westphal wasn't getting it done as a leader. What does a solid leader consist of?
A leader is someone that guides a group of people and helps them to be successful. In the NBA, this is one of the key elements to being a successful head coach. Just ask Phil Jackson or Red Auerbach, or even Bill Russell (who won two titles as a player-coach and was the first African-American head coach in the NBA. Fun fact: Bill Russell coached the Kings for one season in 1987-88. They went 17-41 and he was fired).
These guys were successful because they knew how to guide their players and help them figure out how to win (although John Wooden would debate me on that winning part). Paul Westphal was a player himself and almost made it under the tutelage of Russell himself, playing for the Boston Celtics from 1972 to 1975 and amassing over 12,000 points in a 12-year career.
So where did he go wrong?
Why was he such an incompetent leader for a team that should have won a lot more games than it did?
Here's five reasons why.