Theus Scapegoat for Kings' Lack of Talent

Robert LucasContributor IDecember 15, 2008

Reggie Theus being fired makes him the third Kings head coach fired in the last four years. Sacramento Kings Coach Reggie Theus was the Kings’ 21st coach and ended with an overall record of 44-62.

Assistant Coach Kenny Natt will fill in as the interim coach. With all of these coaching changes, you would think the Kings would begin to look at the real reason for poor team performance. When your check engine light comes on in your car, do you buy a new one before checking the engine?

With the Kings engine being talent, the coach was fired without checking the engine light. The Kings key player and leading scorer, Kevin Martin, has been injured. In addition, as mentioned in my article earlier this year, the Kings do not have any consistent leadership and the team’s young players are ineffective.

Let’s examine the Kings’ depth chart, consisting of Martin (ankle injury), Brad Miller, Beno Urdih, John Salmons, Francis Garcia, Spencer Hawes, and Mikki Moore.

Both Moore and Miller have 10 years of NBA experience, and are averaging a combined 16.3 ppg. Salmons has had a breakout year in 2007, carrying the Kings on his back with Martin out with his 19.4 ppg average. Garcia’s third year in the league has been a productive one. He is currently averaging 10.9 ppg, and did not start the season until November 28th due to a calf injury.

Finally, Urdih’s fourth year has been impressive, as he is averaging 12.9 ppg. Rookie Spencer Hawes has been decent, averaging 12 ppg. But both players have had defensive match up deficiencies with many of the leagues more seasoned athletic players.

The new league strategy and trend in pro sports is to make the coaches scapegoats for team’s failures. Maybe they are attempting to save face, or gain respect for the fans.

In business, you can fire a CEO when the company’s profits begin plummeting. But pro sports do not work the same way. Head coaches are not always responsible for player acquisitions, trades, and draft picks.

Eddie Jordan of the Wizards was also fired on November 28th. With the Wizards’ franchise player, Gilbert Arenas sidelined, Coach Jordan started the season 1-11. Despite Jordan’s success in his previous years, the Wizards quickly dismissed him. Where has the respect and long-term thinking gone?

One of the crazier examples of these irresponsible decisions was the firing of Avery Johnson in May of this year. After taking the Mavericks to the NBA Finals and having the highest winning percentage for a coach in franchise history, no less.

Kings fans may have seen the writing on the wall with the Maloofs grumbling openly about their disappointment over the Kings win loss record and some of the coaching methods used by Theus. Coach Theus would have liked to continue to build the Kings and stick with them through the 2009-2010 season when a substantial amount of salary cap room would open up.

The contracts of Miller ($12.25), Thomas ($8.5), Abdur-Rahim ($6.6), and Moore ($6.2) will end after the next season. This will allow Petrie to once again acquire the talent necessary to rebuild the Kings like he did in 1998 and 1999 when they signed Chris Webber and Vlade Divac.

Team owners and GM’s need to begin looking inward to find solutions. However when doing this they may discover themselves to be the problem.

The Maloofs continue to say they are letting Geoff Petrie make all basketball related decisions, but continue to openly complain and intermingle in personnel decisions.