After a solid 5-4 start to the season, the Sacramento Kings are in the midst of a four-game losing streak, an all-too familiar sight for Kings fans. After suffering through a pair of nine-game droughts last year on their way to missing the play-in, the Kings are apparently not going to be as patient with head coach Luke Walton this season.
According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Shams Charania, Walton will not be given as long of a leash this season as there is a mandate from within the organization to snap the team’s 15-year playoff drought. As such, long losing streaks won’t just put Walton on a hot seat but could get him actually fired, as Amick and Charania say he will “likely be in peril soon if the current slide continues.”
That the Kings are already back in this position is incredibly frustrating to the Sacramento faithful, many of whom felt a coaching change was needed this summer. That Monte McNair and the Kings brass backed Walton and chose to keep him around, only to throw him back on the hot seat after 13 games leads many to wonder why he was given a third season to begin with. The next three games will be critical for the Kings and Walton, as they face the Pistons, Timberwolves, and Raptors, all games they should have a chance to win. With a brutal stretch of the schedule following this three-game respite (Jazz, Sixers, Blazers, Lakers, Grizzlies, Lakers, Clippers, and Clippers) if Walton is to save his job, it seems necessary that they win at least two if not all three to bring some positivity back to California’s capital city.
If not, the Kings may be headed towards a midseason coaching change and more uncertainty, which has been the unfortunate default setting in Sacramento for some time.