Surely you can’t be serious but I am – hire Kupchak to help Divac and the Kings

By Charlie O. Mallonee

When I posted this tweet, I expected to get some reaction but the reaction I received surprised me. Everyone thought I was joking and it was very funny. The only problem with that reaction is that I am not joking. I am very serious.

The Sacramento Kings are at a very critical juncture right now. They have traded away their one legitimate All-Star and flushed their chances to make the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. They have for all practical purposes hit the reset button and are starting over in the basketball operations division.

The Kings in all probability will have two first-round draft picks and two second-round draft selections in the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft which has been labeled “star-studded”. One of those first-round opportunities is going to be a lottery pick. The second first-round pick is expected to come in the “low teens”. Both selections bring the opportunity to add exceptional talent to the Kings roster.

Sacramento cannot afford to make a mistake with either pick. With the Cousins era over, the Kings must rebuild quickly to hold the interest of a long suffering fan base that will not have a great deal of patience for excuses about why a first-round draft pick did not work out. Kings fans are looking for results not excuses.

The Kings front office needs help and it needs it now. Enter Mitch Kupchak. I know his recent results have not been that impressive but if the reports are true, there are some explanations for those poor results. Kupchak may well have been handcuffed by an owner who thought he knew more about basketball personnel than he really does. The team’s governor Jeanie Buss spent several of those years concentrating on a bicoastal relationship with Phil Jackson.

Kupchak worked under the great Jerry West before taking over as general manager in Los Angeles in 2000. He is credited with leading the efforts that brought Shaq and Kobe to the Lakers. The team won four championships while he was in charge. The man knows how to run the front office of an NBA franchise.

There have been reports that other general managers have complained that they cannot get Divac on the phone. There is a style and art to being the head of basketball operations for an NBA team. Other general managers must be comfortable working with each other to make deals happen and most of those deals start with phone calls.

Kupchak could act as a mentor, confidant and friend to help Divac during what is going to be a high pressure period between now and the 2017 Draft. Kupchak could also go out on the road to college games, conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament to scout the top talent that will be available come June. Scouting has also been listed as a weakness for the Kings organization.

Basketball executives with 17 years of experience as an NBA general manager do not become available everyday. The Kings are in need of expert help right now and Kupchak is an expert. It is time for Vivek Ranadive to fire up the jet, fly to LA, open up the checkbook and hire a consultant to help take his franchise to the next level.

Game Preview: Kings vs the Lakers tonight 11/10/16 in Sacramento


slamsonby Charlie O. Mallonee

TRIVIA QUESTIONJames Harden leads the NBA in assists (12.3 apg) and ranks fourth in scoring (31.5 ppg). Who is the only player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring and assists in a single season?

Los Angeles Lakers

This is not Kobe’s Lakers team

This is the actually “the team” Mitch Kupchak  has been trying to put together for the past three seasons. No longer are the Lakers centered around an aging “star” who would not accept a reduced role for the betterment of the team.

D’Angelo Russell – the number two-overall draft pick in 2015 – is leading the team in scoring with an average of 15.4 points per game. Third-year forward Julius Randle out of Kentucky is beginning to be an impact player in the starting line up averaging 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He has two double-doubles so far this season. Guard Jordan Clarkson is adding 15.1 points per start for LA. The “youngsters” are starting to make their mark on the team.

New coach – new attitude

Luke Walton is in his first year as head coach of the Lakers. He was the “hottest” coaching prospect on the market during the off-season after the job he did filling in for Steve Kerr at Golden State. Walton is the eighth person to have played for and coach the Lakers. He is also the youngest head coach in the NBA at 36 years old.

Lakers come into the game tonight with 4-4 record

The Lakers have won three of their last four games. They are coming off a 109-97 loss at home to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night. It was the first time LA had not scored at least 100 points in their last five games. They also suffered a defensive lapse as Dallas shot 52.4-percent from the field.

The Lakers biggest win of the season came on November 4 when they downed the Golden State Warriors 117-97 on national television.

One of the most improved teams

The Lakers are considered by some to be one the most improved teams in “the association”.

Sacramento Kings

Trying to keep the winning streak alive

After winning big in in Toronto last Sunday to close out the road trip and handling the winless Pelicans at home on Tuesday night, the Kings are anxious to up their winning streak to three in-a-row.

DeMarcus Cousins is still leading the way on offense for the Kings with 25.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. He scored 28 against the Pels. Rudy Gay continues to be hot averaging 22.4 points per game. Darren Collison will play in his second game since returning from suspension and should have some significant impact on the second unit against the Lakers.

Defense is the key

The key to the back-to-back victories for the Kings has been holding their opponent to under 100 points. They are still averaging giving up 101.9 points per game which is too high but is coming down from the 102.5 that is was at the beginning of the road trip.

The Lakers have scored 108 points or more in each of their four wins.

Going for the sweep

The Kings swept the Lakers in the four-game series last season for the first time in their history. Sacramento would like to send a message in this game that they have every intention of repeating that feat again this season.

The Kings have won seven games in-a-row against the Lakers and five in-a-row in Sacramento.

Tough back-to-back

The Kings host the Lakers in Sacramento tonight and then have to travel to Portland to play the always tough Trail Blazers on Friday night. They face a reduced chance to win on the road because of the back-to-back scenario in Portland.

For entertainment purposes only using their CARM-elo system gives the Kings a 70-percent chance of winning tonight’s game with the Lakers. They say take the Kings minus 5.5 points.

Some of the other well-known entertainment sites also have the Kings as the favorites at minus 5.5 points with an over/under of 209 to 209.5.

Nationally televised game

Tonight’s game is being televised across the nation by TNT. That means their is no local play-by-play cable coverage on Comcast California.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Nate Archibald of the Kansas City-Omaha Kings led the NBA in scoring (34.0 ppg) and assists (11.4 apg) in 1972-73.