Basketball

How Long Will Next Sacramento Kings Head Coach Last?

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The Sacramento Kings and general manager Monte McNair are on the search for their next head coach. A head coach who will be tasked with leading the Sacramento Kings to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2005-06: an NBA record of 16 straight years missing the playoffs.

The Kings have employed 11 head coaches since deciding to not renew the contract of Hall of Fame head coach Rick Adelman after the 2005-06 season. Whoever the Kings decide to hire will be the 20th head coach since the team moved to Sacramento in 1985.

This is perhaps the most important decision in Sacramento Kings history. The question I have is … how long will the next head coach of the Sacramento Kings last?

List of 7 Candidates Whittled Down to 3

The franchise announced a REAL list of coaches they are going to interview. EXCITING is a word that comes to mind, as a Kings fan.

Candidates that have been NBA head coaches previously: Mark JacksonMike D’AntoniSteve Clifford, and Mike Brown. Candidates that have not been NBA head coaches, but assistant coaches: current Milwaukee Bucks assistant coaches Charles Lee and Darvin Ham, and current Boston Celtics assistant coach Will Hardy.

That list was then shortened to three candidates as reported on April, 30th by James Ham. Those candidates are Mark Jackson, Steve Clifford, and Mike Brown.

Short Tenure in the Capital City

Rick Adelman is the longest-tenured head coach in the history of the Sacramento Kings, with 625 games coached. Adelman was not retained by Sacramento after a first-round playoff exit in 2005-06, which was the last season the Kings made the playoffs. In the 16 seasons since that fateful decision, the Kings have employed 11 different head coaches.

The average tenure for a Sacramento Kings head coach in the post-Adelman era is just above 114 games. The longest-tenured Kings head coach in the post-Adelman era is Dave Joerger, who coached a respectable 326 games between 2016 and 2019. Joerger was 98-148 overall as Sacramento head coach.

In 2018-19, Joerger’s final season with the Kings, Sacramento finished with their best record (39-43) since they finished the 2005-06 season with a 44-38 record. That 39-43 finish, 9th in the NBA western conference, would have earned the Kings a play-in tournament berth in the current NBA playoff format. The word ‘UGHHHHH’ comes to mind.

Aside from Joerger, the number of games coached per Kings head coach since 2005-06 is quite disappointing. The legendary Paul Westphal coached 171, Luke Walton 161, and no one else has reached the two full season mark (164 games). The shortest tenured head coach in the post-Adelman era was Tyrone Corbin, who coached 28 games at the end of the 2014-15 season after the Kings fired Michael Malone.

How Long Will the Next Kings Head Coach Last?

Aside from personal or legal scandals, I think there is NO way the next head coach of the Sacramento Kings lasts LESS than two full seasons (164 games). I could see the Kings moving on during the third season, if they don’t make the play-in tournament in the first two seasons, and are essentially out of the play-in hunt post-all star break of the third season.

My HOPE is that the next Sacramento Kings head coach earns a contract EXTENSION! That means the Kings most likely made the play-in tournament, and have a realistic shot at a top 7 seed in the western conference. Though, more importantly, a contract extension most likely means BOTH parties are bought into each other, which has not been the case in SacTown since 2004 or so.

As Always, Go Sacramento Kings!

-Tom Witt

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Tom Witt has been in sports media for just under a decade. He started off freelancing, earning a role as an editor and Sacramento Kings writer at Overtime Heroics.

He also is an avid Spikeball fan/competitor (roundnet is the name of the sport played on Spikeball equipment) - Tom is also the head editor at the Roundnet World blog.