Spencer Hawes, Know Your Role

Did you notice the big, tall white guy dressed in a nice suit around the Kings bench on Tuesday night?

His name is Spencer Hawes and he is the starting center backup center no wait he’s the starting center again you know what let’s bring him off the bench guy in Paul Westphal’s dog house. After comments made in the Sacramento Bee on Tuesday, Spencer was benched and not allowed to dress out for the home game against the Pistons. The last time the Kings played the Pistons, Spence had 11 rebounds in 27 minutes. It was just the eighth time this season that he grabbed double-digit rebounds. So why wasn’t he given the chance to repeat that performance? Because of these comments:

Hawes acknowledged his frustration, saying “that’s about right” when asked if this trend made an already-tough situation tougher.

“All year we’ve kind of been dealing with that,” he said. “When you think you have kind of gotten over that hump, it comes back up again. That’s the philosophy, so you’ve just got to deal with it.

“Everyone up and down the roster has had a taste of that, so everyone can relate. I think it’s kind of tough, the not-knowing part on a game-to-game basis, to get in that rhythm. But that’s the way it’s going and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it.”

The nerve of this man!

Actually… that’s not really a big deal in my opinion. Now, as many of you know I’m not exactly Spencer Hawes’ biggest fan. I see the immense amount of talent and wonder why the consistent effort and determination don’t seem to match. But even with someone like myself who is so hard on Spencer, I really don’t see anything wrong with what he said. It certainly isn’t something that warrants a benching.

The rotations have been all over the place and inconsistent. You can see that here. So why banish Spencer for stating a complete fact? Especially when Sean May said this:

“It’s hard. Every (general manager) and every coach wants consistent results. That’s all anybody wants in this league, a consistent player, consistent results. But any time you have an inconsistent system, it’s hard to ask for consistent results, and I think that’s where a lot of guys’ frustration is right now.”

Sean May played 12 minutes tonight. He wasn’t benched. He wasn’t in a suit. He knocked down a pick-and-pop jumper from Tyreke. Heck, what about Tyreke? He said this:

“Guys never know when they’ll be having their time to play or they might be (starting),” Evans said.

“They’re going into the game confused, and when they get into the game they want to impress the coach and (try) to play well. ? It’s probably hard for a player to keep that focus when they know that if they’re playing bad they might not go in again.”

Those comments seem just as bad as Spencer’s and yet he played 44 minutes against the Pistons. So what gives? Why didn’t Tyreke Evans and Sean May suffer the same punishment for making similar comments to Spencer Hawes. Why the double standard?

Looking back at the team ever since Paul Westphal was named the new head coach, he and Spencer have seemingly butted heads in an indirect way.

There was the whole drama with Spencer not showing up to the Las Vegas Summer League. Spencer didn’t come to the summer league because he had “family commitments” that apparently couldn’t be rescheduled. It seemingly pissed Geoff Petrie off. And in a way, it showed Paul Westphal that Spenny wasn’t interested in learning the coaching staff and system early.

Then Spencer didn’t get to start the season and had to come off the bench behind Sean May. It’s one thing to be outplayed for your starting spot but Sean May wasn’t exactly re-slicing bread at the center position during the pre-season. He’s been in and out of the lineup ever since, which has to be frustrating for someone that is supposed to be a building block for this franchise.

After the loss to the Pistons Tuesday night, Westphal seemingly had some smarmy and possibly vindictive comments regarding the situation:

After the game, Westphal provided just short answers when asked about Hawes’ benching: “At least he knows his role.”

The Kings coach went on to add, “We have an open door, everyone knows their role. All you have to do is ask, anytime day or night.”

“At least he knows his role.” Seems kind of catty, doesn’t it? I almost expect that to come out of Jenny Garth’s mouth after she tried to prove a point to Shannon Doherty that she was the girl Dylan would like on an early season of 90210. It doesn’t sound like something that would be coming out of the mouth of a 59-year old coach who is trying to send a message to his young, brash center about falling in line with the system.

Ultimately, who knows if this is personal or if this is a legit learning lesson. Based on the comments made by other guys who didn’t feel this wrath, it’s hard to classify this as strictly a lesson.

But hey, at least he knows his role now.