New Sacramento Kings Coach Has Long Road Ahead

Jason ColdironCorrespondent IJune 16, 2009

17 Nov 2000:  Head Coach Paul Westphal of the Seattle SuperSonics yells from the sidelines during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. The Mavericks defeated the Sonics 99-95. NOTE TO USER: It is expressly understood that the only rights Allsport are offering to license in this Photograph are one-time, non-exclusive editorial rights. No advertising or commercial uses of any kind may be made of Allsport photos. User acknowledges that it is aware that Allsport is an editorial sports agency and that NO RELEASES OF ANY TYPE ARE OBTAINED from the subjects contained in the photographs.  Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule Jr.  /Allsport

New Sacramento Kings head coach Paul Westphal has a lot of work ahead of him.

 

Westphal recently completed his four day media tour as the new coach, and spent much of his time talking about how his career has almost never involved failure.

 

He enjoyed a successful NBA career that included five All-Star selections and an NBA title with the Celtics.

 

As a coach, he had a .627 winning percentage and took the Phoenix Suns to the finals in 1993, eventually losing to Michael Jordan's Bulls.

 

But that is all old news, part of his past. The concern now is how to turn around the league's worst team. In doing so, he knows he is only a guide, one part of what must be a collective effort for the team.

 

Coaches only coach. What this team needs is a significant upgrade in talent on the court.

 

"There are no coaching saviors in this league. We've got to get that right straight from the start. Coaches can help, but players win the games," Wesphal told the Sacramento Bee.

 

The Kings' problems extend beyond the court. Attendance reached a record low last year in what was once a guaranteed sell-out every night.

 

This leads right back to the product on the court. The team needs to rediscover the excitement and success of the Kings squads from earlier this decade.

 

Charles Barkley, who played under Westphal in Phoenix, shared these sentiments.

 

"They've got to get some players, man," Barkley said. "That's the bottom line. I mean, it doesn't matter who the coach is, they've got to get some better players."

 

Barkley continued, saying Westphal is the right man for this job.

 

"I think he's great for young guys," Barkley said. "He's going to teach them how to play the game, and I think he didn't get enough credit for that in Phoenix.

"He is very good creatively, offensively, and that's what Sacramento needs is something to excite their fan base."

Many Kings fans had hoped for a bigger name, such as Jeff Van Gundy or Kurt Rambis.

But the reality is that, no matter who the coach is, this team has a long way to go.

 

Westphal is just one part of the equation.