By Mardeio Cannon | OBSERVER Columnist
As the long-suffering Sacramento Kings fans endure another disappointing season that started with so much optimism, General Manager Monte McNair has two very important decisions to make this off-season.
First, he has to select the right head coach to chart the Sacramento Kings’ future.
McNair inherited former Kings head coach Luke Walton and surprised many Kings fans by not firing Walton and giving him an opportunity to continue to coach the Kings to start the season. However, after a disappointing start, McNair dropped the hammer on Walton and turned the reins over to lead assistant Alvin Gentry. The highly respected Gentry did his best to convince McNair that he should be named the permanent head coach, however the Kings’ futility on the court sealed his doom.
Now, McNair will select his first head coach. There is no shortage of quality candidates to choose from and the Kings benefit because there are not a lot of job openings in the NBA right now. McNair has to choose from one of two directions: will he choose from an experienced former head coach whom he believes has a track record of turning around moribund franchises or will he choose from a wide array of assistants whom he sees has the qualities to lead a young team to success? One thing this past NBA season proved was that first-year coaches can make a difference with the success of Ime Udoka of the Boston Celtics, Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks and Willie Green of the New Orleans Pelicans.
My personal favorite for the Kings job is Mark Jackson who has the experience of turning around the fortunes of a team and has had head coaching experience.
Kings fans shouldn’t care who he selects, just get it right.
McNair also needs to hit a home run in the upcoming draft. The Kings are projected to pick 7th unless they get lucky again and get a chance at a top three draft pick. This upcoming draft is predicted to be solid but not spectacular. Whoever the Kings select must be good enough to contribute right away and be a part of the new head coach’s rotation. If the Kings draft pick is a starter, then the Kings will indeed have hit a grand slam in the draft. If the draft selection has to go to the G League, then the pick was a bust even if the player eventually becomes a contributor.
The bottom line is this fan base cannot, and will not, keep supporting a team that is a permanent lottery team every year.
McNair has no room for error this off season.