Sacramento Kings: Could David Blatt be Right for Kings?


Despite rumors of multiple other candidates, the Sacramento Kings should target David Blatt as the team’s next head coach

Many Sacramento Kings fans far and wide are feeling crushed today. The feeling comes on the eve of Tom Thibodeau taking the job in Minnesota, ending the futile hopes of most Kings fans who would wish the defensive guru to come to Sacramento.

All the while, common sense says that the Kings never had a chance in this regard. He was never going to consider Sacramento, when much better situations were available. Little information and many rumors have been the only thing going on with the team since the firing of George Karl the day after the season as everyone waits anxiously to see what Vlade Divac and Vivek Ranadive will do.

This week finally brought some new information. According to multiple league sources (ESPN, Yahoo), Mark Jackson, Vinny Del Negro and Sam Mitchell will be the first three candidates scheduled to interview for the recently opened coaching position in Sacramento.

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In the last week, vacant coaching jobs have been filled in New Jersey and Phoenix (and now it appears Minnesota), who moved quickly to get their guys and start preparing for the coming NBA Draft and free-agency periods this summer.

Other coaches in the news with remaining vacancies include Scott Brooks (Washington, Houston), Jeff Van Gundy (every opening except Sacramento). The coaching job with the Sacramento Kings is not considered a desirable one and it’s going to be a tough sell to get someone good, (and most of the guys considering it think of it as their last option).

The team is going to have to find someone who truly appreciates that there are only 30 of these jobs in the whole world and that they are all precious and worthwhile.

One name that I haven’t heard talked much about is David Blatt, who is my first choice for the Kings’ opening (just slightly ahead of ANYONE NOT NAMED MARK JACKSON). David Blatt seems like the most promising of any name I’ve heard mentioned with the Kings.

I am not here to say that Blatt is a savior or an obvious choice. I’m just saying that for my money I’d rather take a shot on him than to go with any of the other re-tread coaches that are being talked about

While the other coaches all offer something in their own way, Blatt seems like the most likely to become lead the team to a major turnaround in season one at the Golden 1 Center.

At the time of his hiring in Cleveland, the Cavs clearly weren’t expecting LeBron James to return to them. Blatt was initially hired in Cleveland to babysit a bunch of kids (Andrew Wiggins, Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters). Through a series of events the best player in the world arrived, along with the forced breaking of the core by trading Wiggins for Kevin Love in an attempt at immediate success.

Instead of having time to learn on the job, the job now entailed catering to James (an almost impossible job for anyone) and skipping over the part where Blatt got to do to what he was hired to do.

It was an impossible situation. And in that impossible situation, he managed to go 83-40, for a .675 winning percentage, with a trip to the NBA Finals and a team that was first in its conference in less than two seasons. You can say that he had a loaded roster and I see that point, but that record, under those circumstances, as a first-time NBA head coach, is very impressive.

On top of the record on paper, you have to consider that he now has his first job out of the way. He’s learned a lot of what TO DO and what NOT TO DO, along with getting a chance to adapt his style to the NBA game (as opposed to his dominance in Israel and for a couple of decades).

This is also a coach that is likely to be incredibly motivated to win games. His firing in Cleveland was unfair to him, (but somewhat understandable for the Cavs). Wherever his next job is, he is going to want to prove himself in a new situation and show people how good he is.

Perhaps there’s even a European connection with Blatt and Vlade Divac. They’ve both been around the game over there for so long that they likely know a lot of the same people and maybe even know each other.

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I am not here to say that Blatt is a savior or an obvious choice. I’m just saying that for my money (and as a Sacramento Kings fan) I’d rather take a shot on him than to go with any of the other re-tread coaches that are being talked about.

In the meantime, we will have to see what comes of the three interviews announced yesterday.