Do I think Paul Westphal shouldn’t be fired? Nope, not even a little bit. At some point, you gotta illustrate you can make a difference with the players you are given. But, really, firing Westphal probably won’t make a real difference, and history in the NBA has illustrated that to us quite eloquently.
You will hear nonsense comparisons like Scott Brooks in OKC. What you won’t hear is that the biggest gripe that OKC had with PJ Carleismo was that he played Kevin Durant at SG. (For, you’ll love this, defensive reasons.) If you find this puzzling, well, so did Kevin Durant. Carleismo clearly was trying to do the wrong thing in an untenable situation. Brooks moved Durant to the right position (SF), and benefitted when James Harden and Serge Ibaka became young cheap reliable contributors in the 2009-10 seasons. Even then, Brooks had a 22-47 record.
Paul Westphal wasn’t fired because Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins are unmanageable. Westphal was fired because the Maloofs and Geoff Petrie were in self preservation mode. They are well aware that their franchise is a joke, behaves like a joke, has a toxic culture, and at some point approved all of that. When heads roll, it starts with the head coach. But to give Geoff Petrie no blame for this is an absolute abomination. The only reason Paul Westphal got fired was to save Petrie’s job and the Maloofs ability to sell overpriced tickets to a beaten down market.
They are all desperate to show that Paul Westphal is the problem, and perhaps he was a minor problem. But Paul Westphal is not the actual problem. The actual problem is you have 2 unmanageable unquenchable lazy pathetic 20 something year olds who think their high draft selection merits their primmadonna acts. It does not.
Will Keith Smart make a difference? Maybe. Maybe these guys will actually do the effort things they always should be doing. There is no excuse for being repeatedly being beaten in transition. There is no excuse for the way Tyreke Evans or DeMarcus Cousins have acted. None at all. But that’s not the story you will hear. Not even close to it. You’ll hear that Westphal was asking Tyreke to play defense (what a terrible coach Westphal is), and to play a more heads up game when and where it counted. Guess what? When Keith Smart tells Tyreke things he doesn’t like, do you believe Tyreke won’t act like a spoiled brat petulant dickhead who doesn’t say anything to the media? And do you think DeMarcus Cousins won’t act like a spoiled brat petulant dickhead who is a loudmouth blowhard that says very little?
The fans, the Maloofs, Petrie, all wanted Westphal gone because nobody wants to believe that Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins are the problem. The truth is, the franchise probably wants to push Evans/Cousins differently at this point in the hope that their talent pops out and either A) a better trade value comes in down the road with improved play or B) they grow up and take this franchise where they need to go. The reality is they may have to settle for petulant dickhead immaturity that means they’ll trade them away when the fans will finally accept that both Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins aren’t the stars that many hoped and believed they each could be.
Frankly, I can’t tell whether Paul Westphal did a good job with the Kings or not. And the reason I can’t is because of the attitude and the assholes that permeated the locker room. If Paul Westphal deserved to be fired, I’d be writing that. But the truth is, Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins have only illustrated that they don’t care when things don’t go their way. That when they are down, they will pout, moan, whine, piss, shout or whatever else along with pointing fingers. Because everyone else, not them, is to blame. The other players, the head coach, especially that bastard who wants me to improve as a player, and so forth.
The good news is that Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins have no more excuses about a coach that a heavy number of fans didn’t want anyway. At some point, Evans and Cousins, along with their entourages, will have to accept that the weaknesses are very real.
Will Keith Smart be the answer? I can’t say that he’s not. I won’t cry for Paul Westphal here. He’s 4 1/2 million dollars richer minus taxes for 3 years of work. I’m pretty sure I won’t make that in my lifetime. Paul Westphal is an emblem of a cheap, downtrodden, snakebitten, arrogant and outright pisspoor run franchise from top to bottom. As long as that emblem continued to fly night in, night out, game in, game out, Westphal was going to be fired. I’m not surprised he was fired; I’m just surprised it happened today. I thought he would be fired tomorrow after another listless performance. In a way, that’s about the only good thing the Kings as a franchise have done today. (No bonus good job here.) And no, they get a hearty fuck you for rewarding 2 petulant undeserving asshole kids for firing a head coach that didn’t make or break this roster. There is talent, and perhaps even real talent that can gloss that over all this at some point.
This franchise makes me want to vomit. Shame on the Maloofs, Petrie, Evans and Cousins for their ridiculous actions. Not that I really have any love for Westphal, but this firing isn’t about Westphal; it’s about the ineptness of the ownership, franchise management and the 2 “star” players. Excuse me, I have to rape and pillage a village of midget clowns now. I don’t want to be left behind and left in the dust from a franchise that has a full 2 legs up on me in that department.