The Sacramento Kings are off to a solid start this season, but Dave Joerger may not be winning the front offices’ approval with his allocation of playing time.
Dave Joerger is now into his third season as head coach of the Sacramento Kings, which qualifies him as a long-term solution for a franchise on its fifth head coach in six years. Even with a second straight loss Saturday night, the Kings are also off to a solid start this year with a 8-8 record.
But according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo!, there’s a disconnect between Joerger and the Kings’ front office about how minutes are being distributed to young players. Going further, 2018 No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III is reportedly the primary source of the disconnect and the front office’s ire.
Nemanja Bjelica has started every game at power forward for Sacramento so far this season, and he’s producing well (11.3 points per game, 48.3 percent from 3-point range). Meanwhile Bagley has not started a game yet, but he played 27 minutes (his most in November) with 16 points and eight rebounds against the Houston Rockets on Saturday night. Bagley’s per-36 minute averages are robust (18.9 points and 9.0 rebounds), and point to his substantial upside.
For what it’s worth, Kings’ general manager Vlade Divac has denied Haynes’ report and professed support for Joerger.
“Dave has our full support and confidence. We continue to work together to develop our young core and compete.”
Past first-round picks Skal Labissiere (No. 28 in 2016) and Harry Giles (No. 20 in 2017) are not playing much. But De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein are the top three on the Kings in minutes per game, and the team’s top three scorers thus far. So the idea of not playing young players enough has to be most specifically centered on Bagley, as he’s ceded a starting role to the surprising contribution of Bjelica. In time, a correction should come.
The Kings seem to be on a nice track, as a restructured front office has done some good things to build the roster. But it’s a typical move for the organization to find flaw with Joerger, 16 games into the season and when things are mostly working.