Blaming one individual for the Kings’ struggles is not a solution but a burden

It’s so easy to point fingers. Everyone has a name to throw into the fire. Anyone can be a critic. Pointing out the problem is always much easier than coming up with a solution.

While there are plenty of problems that can and have been pointed out involving the entire organization, not a single one can be labeled the problem, contrary to popular belief.

It’s not DeMarcus Cousins’ fault that the Sacramento Kings are a struggling and dysfunctional franchise. He is literally the only draft pick by the Kings that has worked out long-term since Jason Williams in 1998, (an argument can be made for Kevin Martin in 2004). He single handedly has carried the team in nearly every statistical category since coming into the league in 2010.

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While his efforts and achievements haven’t translated into wins or playoff appearances, Cousins has consistently improved year after year, developing into the clear choice for the best big man in the league.

His on-court antics, technical foul issues, and unrelenting passion are all part of the package that makes him the dominant player that he is. It is unrealistic to expect him to be any different, and still put up the same incredible numbers.

How can the only player that the Kings have been able to develop (along with being the first All-Star the team has had since the 2003-2004 season) be the one key problem? He can’t be.

It’s not Vivek Ranadive’s fault that the Sacramento Kings organization has been considered synonymous with “dysfunctional” since the hiring of former General Manager Pete D’Alessandro after head coach Michael Malone.

Malone was and is clearly a very talented coach that seemed to be leading the Kings to their best start in years. D’Alessandro had a proven track record in his time with the Denver Nuggets, an expert with the salary cap and player negotiations. Both were well-received hires at the time with good reasoning behind them. What more can you ask from an owner, who also delivered on building a brand new, state of the art arena.

It’s not Vlade Divac’s fault that the Kings are still struggling to put the right pieces together and develop talent. First off, he took over a very dysfunctional situation involving his star player, a hall-of-fame head coach, and the impatient expectations of a fan base.

He has made the moves that he believed were the best for the future of the team and franchise. Some have worked out (the signing of free agents Garrett Temple and Kosta Koufos), and others have not (drafting Willie Cauley-Stein and Georgios Papagiannis). No General Manager in history has ever gotten every decision right. All you can ask is that a plan is developed and complete effort is given towards its execution.

It’s not George Karl or Pete D’Alessandro’s fault that the last few seasons have been relative disasters. Both were experiments that backfired. Logical risks that failed. Rather than just stand idle and wait for lightning to strike twice, the organization attempted to make the moves that appeased the fans and put the team back on the path of success.

Karl and D’Alessandro both presented pros and cons that the Kings deemed worth the risk. It didn’t work. So you move on.

So who is to blame then? Certainly not the fan base or the city. While not being the most attractive market, compared to a Los Angeles or New York, Sacramento has a unique charm and loyalty that has left an impression on current and former players, from DeMarcus Cousins to Chris Webber. The truth is, nobody, and everybody, is to blame.


Basketball is a team game. A roster consists of a team of players. A coaching staff is a team of basketball strategists and leaders. A front office is a team of executives working behind the scenes to put together the best product. All work together to achieve one goal; win games and bring a title to Sacramento. Therefore, the blame cannot and should not be pinned on one particular person or group.

Change has to come from the organization as a whole. Trust must be established, all sides coming together in the hopes that the franchise can achieve what each individual has not been able to. There is no quick fix.

It starts at the top and ends at the bottom. It’s time for the fans to hold the whole organization responsible, and demand all sides commit to one goal. Until they stop competing against each other, they will never be able to compete in the NBA.

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Matt George
Producer & Board Op: CBS Sports 1140 KHTK's The Drive 6am - 9am. Host of the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast.

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