The Kings Hire of George Karl And The Evolution Of Big Men

When the Kings unexpectedly and stupidly fired Mike Malone, George Karl was one of the first names to float around.  The former and legendary coach has worked with ESPN since his release from the Nuggets organization,  that being another sour ending.

After speculation, mis-reports, and everything else we see with this type of thing, the Kings finally announced the hire Thursday.  The former coach has 1,131 wins in his career, spanning five teams since 1984.  Karl is a great basketball mind.  He’s coached some great teams.  However, the move the Kings made ties right back to the top, or the brass of the organization.  It just so happens that it ties back to their crazy, too-involved, owner.

Vivek Randive is insane.  The guy is way too involved, and floats unnecessary ideas.  Randive is ridiculously overpowered in the organization, and nobody, obviously, has the balls to confront him about it.  Then again, he is the owner, so really, he’s in charge.

It doesn’t matter though.  Randive isn’t a good owner, and everybody knows it.  The players and front office people know it too, and it’s such a shame.  It’s quite obvious that this move came from the top.  It was made strictly by the brass and Randive.

“I don’t fire coaches or hire them. Everyone knows I liked and respected Coach Malone. I didn’t want his to happen.”

The following quote is from DeMarcus Cousins, easily the best player on this Kings team, and one of the best big men in the league.  Cousins has had his issues with himself, teammates, and brass of the team, but he’s really good.  Boogie (Cousins’ nickname) needs to have some say in this.

And it sounds like this hiring turned out the same way.  Boogie had no say.  None.  That has to be concerning.  If I’m the Kings brass, the hiring has to be 100% Boogie approved.  He’s already had his issues with the team and the brass, and clearly wasn’t fond of Malone’s firing.

This is just one example of how this needs to change, as I sound like I’m answering a question on a worksheet at school.  The Kings brass has seriously flaws, ones that are unfortunately affecting this team.  They have to hope this works out.

As for the fit itself, I can’t say I’m totally hyped about it (neither is Boogie).  I don’t know if this is the right team for Karl.  Or maybe, he changes it.  Cleans house.  Meaning, having a say on draft picks.  Building the team with the brass.  Not just coaching.  That’s what Sacramento needs.

This is a team that was close to moving to Seattle a summer ago.  It came really close.  The city kept the Kings.  They kept it for winning.  They kept it hoping for a better future.  As of right now, this isn’t what Kings fans were looking for.

Karl and the team has a tough task ahead.  They aren’t only trying to make this team good.  Getting the fan base spread around is another case that needs to be worked on.  Only people who grew up in Sacramento, which trust me, is not a big town, are Kings fans.  I lived in the Bay Area for four years before moving to the Twin Cities this past summer.  I never knew one Kings fan.  Though Sacramento is an hour northeast of the Bay, it’s still in range to catch a game.  I only went to one Kings game while living there.  That’s also concerning, giving my ridiculous fandom.

Honestly, going to a Kings game rather than a Warriors game never crossed my mind.  Golden State has always been better.  The Kings never were.  I understand that this is a PR related topic, but, if Karl can turn this team around, that’s where the other things start to churn.


A sudden epidemic has hit the NBA over these past couple weeks.  Centers, power forwards, and big men in general are getting injured.  These are players that mean a lot to their team.  Big guys anchor a team, and provide chemistry.

This rash of injuries has affected Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis, and Blake Griffin.  Now, all of their injuries are different, but it’s having impact on their teams.  It also depends on what role they play with their team, which is something that has been in rapid change over the years.

Grantland’s Zach Lowe wrote a column on Wednesday talking about the new types of big men, and how roles are being changed.  It was a great piece, yet I totally disagree.  There aren’t any true centers anymore.  Centers are strictly for rim protection and dirty work inside the paint.  They get blocks and post-up.  That’s their job, or, supposed to be.

Centers now are expanding their game and their range.  They’re taking long jumpers, some pushing 20 feet.  The rim protection is fading, though teams are taking more threes than ever.  Teams like Houston and Chicago are still running the true center system.  Houston has Dwight Howard, who as said above, is injured.  Howard isn’t the same guy he was in Orlando, but is still very effective.  His defensive presence is still there.

Chicago runs a true center system with Joakim Noah.  However, with the help they’ve employed (players like Nikola Mirotic and Pau Gasol), Noah doesn’t have to do it all.  Noah’s never been a jump shooter; neither has Gasol.  That’s where Mirotic’s role comes in.  He’s the power forward, and he’s a true power forward.

Power forwards are typically smaller than centers, but they have to be to do their job.  Power forwards and big men who can play defense and work in the paint.  Their addition is the mid-range shot.  It creates more opportunities.  Chicago has done a great job with this.  The three headed monster of Noah, Gasol, and Mirotic has worked perfectly, even with their struggles as of late.

It seems like everyone else in the league is running mutations of power forwards and centers.  Stretch 4s and point centers are becoming common.  Some of these teams are capable of running these mutations, and some aren’t.

Call it an era or a change in style of play, but big men aren’t what they used to be.  Their evolving, and whether it works or not remains to be seen.  Some teams can make it happen, but some can’t, and that’s where critics show up.

On Carmelo Anthony POSSIBLY shutting it down after the All-Star break:

Carmelo Anthony hasn’t officially said he’s shutting down after the All-Star break, but many quotes have lead on to it becoming true.  “Very likely” was the latest we’ve heard from Melo on it.  I’m gonna write this as if he is shutting down.

This season has been a mess for the Knicks, but it’s not like we didn’t see it coming.  We all knew this team wouldn’t work at the beginning of the year.  The team is now worse than the 76ers, and still have the crazy, stupid owner.  Nothing has changed, and it looks like nothing will.

That’s why Melo is shutting down.  There isn’t anything to play for.  Why risk getting hurt?

Overall, I’d love to get paid $20 million and play half a season.  Sounds great.

Melo has claimed he’ll use the All-Star break to recruit some free agents this coming summer.

New York is a mess, and it’s not going to get better unless they sign some people.  That’s why I agree with Melo shutting down and using the break to recruit people.  This isn’t a good team.  It needs help, badly.

I absolutely love the James Dolan website.  It’s hilarious.

You have to trust Phil Jackson.  You have to hope that he knows where he wants this team to go.  That’s the only chance and hope you have as a Knicks fan.

It’s absolutely crazy that we live in a age of basketball where the Knicks, Lakers, and Celtics suck.  I don’t think it’s ever happened before.  Welcome to the analytic age, where teams can draft and use stats to play good basketball.  Not just by signing players.