Basketball

Sacramento Kings Hire Mike Brown as Head Coach

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Sources report the Sacramento Kings and Mike Brown have agreed to a 4-year deal for Brown to become the team’s next head coach – the 20th since the Kings moved to Sacramento in 1985 and the 12th since they decided to not retain Rick Adelman after the 2005-06 season. Will Brown be the head coach who helps end Sacramento’s NBA record 16-year playoff drought?

NBA Lifer

Mike Brown has been on the coaching staff for three NBA Championship teams – 2003 with the San Antonio Spurs, and 2017 and 2018 with the Golden State Warriors.

Brown started his NBA assistant coaching career in 1997, spending two seasons with the Washington Wizards and head coach Bernie Bickerstaff. He then moved on to take another assistant coaching role with the San Antonio Spurs, under legendary head coach Gregg Popovich – winning an NBA championship in 2003. After three seasons in San Antonio, Brown moved on to the Indiana Pacers for two seasons, under head coach Rick Carlisle.

That assistant coach ‘grind’ led Brown to earn his first head coaching job with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2005. Brown helped lead the Cavaliers to the 2007 NBA eastern conference championship, and the NBA Coach of the Year honors in 2009. Brown led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 305-187 record over six seasons, – from 2005-10, and then again in 2013-14 – where he led a LeBron-less Cavs squad to a 33-49 record.

Brown was hired in 2011 as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, compiling a 42-29 record. The Lakers fired him after starting the 2012-13 season with a 1-5 record. Lakers management had just spent a good amount of money (and hope) on past-their-prime veterans Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. That, on top of rumors that Kobe Bryant was not a fan of Brown’s offense, which led the Lakers to hire long-time Kobe favorite and offensive-based head coach Mike D’Antoni.

Overall, Brown is 347-216 (.616 winning percentage) in part of eight seasons as a head coach.

In 2016, Brown was hired as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, under head coach Steve Kerr. Brown led the Warriors to a 12–0 record in the 2016–2017 NBA playoffs while head coach Steve Kerr was absent due to chronic back pain. The Warriors went on to win the championship in five games that year, defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors went back to the Finals in 2018 and defeated Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals for the second straight year.

Defense *CLAP CLAP*

The Kings haven’t finished in the top 20 in defensive rating since the 2005-06 season. The 2021-22 Sacramento Kings finished with the 27th-rated defense in the NBA. That is probably why the final three names in the Kings coaching search (Mike Brown, Mark Jackson, and Steve Clifford) were all known as ‘defensive minded coaches’.

Brown is known across the league for being a top-notch, defensive-minded coach. Golden State star Klay Thompson cited Brown as being crucial to the Warriors defensive success, telling The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami,

“One thing we’ve known in his career, he’s always been a great defensive coach.”

Klay Thompson

Kings insider Jill Adge from SportsEthos was cited in a recent Kings Herald article, “In his 18 years as a defensive coordinator on the bench, Mike’s teams have only finished twice below league average.”

International Kings Connection

Brown has been the head coach of the Nigerian National basketball team since 2020. That Nigerian team BEAT the United States in the most recent Olympics. Brown coached current Sacramento King Chimezie Metu on that Nigerian national team. Metu is a fan favorite in Sacramento but needs to improve his consistency on offense and defense to actually make a difference on a playoff-bound Sacramento Kings team.

Questions I Have

Will Brown help lead the Sacramento Kings to their first playoff berth since 2005-06?

Who will be on Brown’s coaching staff?

Will Brown earn a contract extension?

Who will the Kings draft, trade, re-sign and sign in free agency?

Roster Improvements NEEDED

A head coach can only do so much to help a team win. The Sacramento Kings front office needs to build a far better roster than they have fielded in the past 16 seasons. The Kings need five legitimate NBA starters, right now they have three.

Sacramento also needs to improve its shooting to have any chance to compete in the future. According to StatMuse, Sacramento finished the 2021-22 season ranked 20th in FG%, 25th in 3PT made, 21st in 3PT attempted and 24th in 3PT%. Adding shooters around De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis will help the Kings on offense, as well as on defense. If Fox can have some load taken off his shoulders offensively, he can spend more of that energy on the defensive end, and the Kings will improve.

I sent a text to the Murph and Mac Morning Show on KNBR 680AM radio, the home of the Golden State Warriors. They echoed what many Kings talking heads have said recently, the Kings need the HORSES to compete, regardless of who the head coach is!

Three Offseason Dates to Watch For

The NBA Draft Lottery is Tuesday May 17th, the NBA Draft is Thursday June 26th, and free agency signing period – moratorium period August 2-6, official signing begins 12:01 pm ET on August 6th! I write more in-depth about these dates in my recent article.

Overall, I am excited and optimisitic as a Kings fan.

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.