Sacramento Kings: Adios, Dave Joerger
After an embarrassing 28-point comeback win by the Portland Trail Blazers, the Sacramento Kings won’t reach the 40-win plateau for the 2018-19 season. One of the biggest question marks going into next season was the status of head coach, Dave Joerger.
General manager, Vlade Divac, opted to fire Dave Joerger. A lot of Kings fans believed he was the worst coach in the NBA. Some claim Dave Joerger was a very good coach. There really was no middle ground.
The Kings had one of their best seasons in 15 years. The relationships Joerger and his staff made with the roster had been key to the Kings success. The growth of Sacramento’s young players wouldn’t have been possible without his guidance. However, there were plenty of issues that prevented him from being the best coach possible.
There’s been a lot of talk about Joerger’s rotations. He’s had some questionable decisions late in games. For some reason, he was very hesitant to put De’Aaron Fox into the fourth quarter until around the five or six-minute mark, which was puzzling, as Fox is the heart of the Kings roster. During close games, Fox could help the team dig themselves out of the hole.
Joerger has terrible late game management. This doesn’t just include the Fox situation, but his entire coaching job as a whole. The Kings were a league-worst minus-20 in the fourth quarter. If Joerger had worked on that aspect, chances are he’d still be the coach.
One of the biggest issues fans had with Joerger was his rotation of Marvin Bagley. The rookie forward/center was the best player for the Kings during the second half of the season. Instead of starting him, Joerger decided to keep Bagley in a bench role.
Joerger went with lineups of Nemanja Bjelica starting at the 4, or Harrison Barnes playing out of the position at the 4. He’d do this with the knowledge that Bagley was the team’s +/- leader and leading scorer on most nights. It’s known that Joerger didn’t put a lot of faith in rookies. However, there comes a point when you need to make a much-needed move.
There was a real debate going on among Sacramento fans if Dave Joerger was the guy for the job. The Kings pretty much conceded for last two weeks of the season. Joerger seemed to be coaching the team on cruise control. There was no drive or fight left with the roster. Sacramento struggled against poor competition.
These issues were all factors in Divac’s decision to fire Dave Joerger. This will be met with a lot of mixed emotions. In the end, the Sacramento made the right choice. A change was needed after the last two weeks of the season.