Jason Jones on Vlade Divac (excerpt from The Athletic)

VF21

#KingsFansForever
Staff member
#1
...
Divac took over as general manager in 2015 and the Kings’ still have not approached the success the franchise had in his time as a player. He believes they are on the path to being the winning team the Kings were when he played. But initially, there was no Webber-type trade or signing like Divac that would accelerate the process to build around DeMarcus Cousins.
“When I came back it took me a couple years to realize that’s not the way it’s going to happen so we shifted to starting from scratch with the young guys and it’s getting there,” Divac said. “It’s taken us a few years, we’ve made improvement and we’re going to keep doing it until our young guys, especially De’Aaron (Fox) and Marvin (Bagley III) get there. I’m sure we’re going to be competitive again.”
Just how do the Kings get there? Divac’s plan to go young and build around Fox has shown promise as Fox, in his third season, has begun to look like a future All-Star. Bagley has only played in 13 games in his second season because of a broken thumb and a sprained foot that sidelined him twice.
Divac said free agency isn’t “too different” from when he signed with the Kings in how players move. What is different is Sacramento is not as quiet on a late night as it was 21 years ago.
“The big markets, it’s still easier for them to bring the key players, but in the small markets like Sacramento, we have to make it an environment where we are a good team,” Divac said. “And obviously everyone knows about our fans and that’s a plus. And Sacramento, from the days I played and now is a different city. You have a lot of restaurants, a lot of new places, a new arena, our ownership is together and supporting. That all plays a key in free agency.”...

https://theathletic.com/1875343/202...him-to-sign-with-the-kings/?source=dailyemail

(There's a lot of excellent content in The Athletic. If you don't subscribe, you might want to consider it. Sam Amick and Jason Jones are doing some good stuff there IMHO, among others.)

It's no secret to anyone that I support Vlade and his vision for the Kings. I know there are those who feel otherwise but I don't think anyone can doubt his commitment to trying to make the Kings relevant again.
 
#2
I also support Vlade and his vision for making the Kings relevant again. But my patience is wearing thin. Need to see some results soon. If we lose Harry, my patience will be wafer thin.
 

SLAB

Hall of Famer
#3
I don’t doubt his comminent, I just think he is completely incapable of fulfilling what he wants. I legitimately feel we’ll start hearing more heat against him because Vlade won’t be protected by his red-headed guard dog anymore.
 
#7
I already went pretty deep into this a few months ago and concluded that purely going off his track record, he's been a better GM than I gave him credit for. He's active during the draft about trading up or down to maximize his picks. He's willing to spend money on veterans in Free Agency but usually maxes out with 3 year deals to maintain long-term roster flexibility. He's been quick to scrap a plan when it isn't working and try something new. The rosters he's assembled make sense. We don't have a bunch of redundant guards who can't shoot like New York this season or a bunch of defensive role-players who can't score like the teams in Charlotte and Orlando for most of the last decade.

The main problem I have with Vlade at this point (aside from his draft scouting, which is admittedly a mixed bag for pretty much everyone) is that he hasn't shown that he's able to develop a long-term plan and stick to it for longer than a year and a half. Most new GMs ultimately turn over the entire roster within their first few years on the job though. Hiring and firing Dave Joerger so quickly was eye-opening but there was a lot going on behind the scenes which led to that decision. If we take him at his word that he's found his preferred coach, he's got the core group of players he thinks can carry this team to playoff success, and he's now going to focus on finding the right complimentary pieces to push them forward then I'd say he'll settle in as a competent GM with one egregious draft miss on his resume. That's better than most.

It'll be interesting to see what happens next with Buddy Hield's evident dissatisfaction about playing off the bench, Bogdan Bogdanovic's upcoming free agency, and a lottery pick all on the horizon. Vlade has a chance to cement his legacy with the decisions he makes next. If we ascend to the ranks of annual playoff contender, he'll have fulfilled his promise to build a roster from the bottom up that we can be proud of. If we tread water and start selling off pieces for cap space or watch some of the slowly simmering discontent boil over into on-the-court issues than he probably isn't up to the task. Either way, we should see within a few years.
 

SacTownKid

Hall of Famer
#8
Vlade Divac is incompetent as a GM.

I can't honestly call any GM willing to backtrack their mistakes as quickly as Vlade has incompetent. Incompetent is beating your head against a mountain and expecting it to eventually move. I will say, the biggest issue Vlade has is he goes so overboard on depth and accumulation of talent that he appears to give very little thought as to how it will actually work on the floor. It's like every summer, people bask in the glory of signing 3 Dedmons and never take it from paper to reality and give a reasonable answer as to how it will work. This "re-start" is going to feel like a whole new season to these players so the babying of players and distribution of minutes is going to be a sketchy process.
 
#9
Biggest thing I took away from the excerpt is that apparently the ownership is together and supporting. that's great if it's true! Most of the stuff is just common sense, so I'm guessing this is just a basic slow news time interview, but wouldn't be surprised if Vlade's seat starts warming up at the start of next season.

If we make the playoffs this season or next, then I'm good with him. I don't think he's a great GM, but I think all of us long-time Kings fans know that it could be much worse.
 
#11
I don’t doubt his comminent, I just think he is completely incapable of fulfilling what he wants. I legitimately feel we’ll start hearing more heat against him because Vlade won’t be protected by his red-headed guard dog anymore.
Ham's still toeing the company line though, by downplaying all of Vlade's bad moves and pretending he was dealt a raw hand when he came in. Yet when he came in, he had a 24 year old first-time all star, veterans on friendly contracts (Rudy Gay had rebuilt his value and was coming off his best professional season) and a relatively clean cap. He had all the tools ready to rebuild, waited too long before deciding he was gonna do it, flubbed the trade with his superstar, got bailed out by lottery luck two years in a row and then proceeded to blow one of said picks.

But he had a raw hand... sure. This team is a contender by now if we had even a below-average GM making conventional wisdom trades and draft picks. Easily.

Vlade's speciality is getting blessed with good fortune by the basketball gods and then squandering it, with a side of getting hungup over stupid BS. Time and time again.
 
#12
Ham's still toeing the company line though, by downplaying all of Vlade's bad moves and pretending he was dealt a raw hand when he came in. Yet when he came in, he had a 24 year old first-time all star, veterans on friendly contracts (Rudy Gay had rebuilt his value and was coming off his best professional season) and a relatively clean cap. He had all the tools ready to rebuild, waited too long before deciding he was gonna do it, flubbed the trade with his superstar, got bailed out by lottery luck two years in a row and then proceeded to blow one of said picks.

But he had a raw hand... sure. This team is a contender by now if we had even a below-average GM making conventional wisdom trades and draft picks. Easily.

Vlade's speciality is getting blessed with good fortune by the basketball gods and then squandering it, with a side of getting hungup over stupid BS. Time and time again.
Cousins was not a superstar. His trade value was diminished by his on and off court antics. His agent purposely torpedoed trade talks by telling potential trade partners Cousins would not sign a contract with them. He was a good player on offense and a great rebounder but he could have been so much more with a good attitude.

Gay's value flat lined with the achillies injury.

I'm lukewarm on Vlade at this point. I think he and Walton should get another year to work things out. A lot of it depends on how Fox and Bagley develop.

The real crime IMO was the Malone firing when Cousins was sick:mad:
 
#13
The real crime IMO was the Malone firing when Cousins was sick:mad:
I agree... and that decision pre-dated Vlade. The best thing he could have done to keep the Cousins/Gay core together was get Coach Malone back but he was already in Denver at that point. And in retrospect, with Cousins and Gay both suffering achilles injuries a year apart, that core wasn't going to carry us anywhere regardless. Rebuilding through the draft was our best chance at sustained success.
 
#14
I agree... and that decision pre-dated Vlade. The best thing he could have done to keep the Cousins/Gay core together was get Coach Malone back but he was already in Denver at that point. And in retrospect, with Cousins and Gay both suffering achilles injuries a year apart, that core wasn't going to carry us anywhere regardless. Rebuilding through the draft was our best chance at sustained success.
You think achilles injuries are like a ticking time bomb, and it’s just a matter of fate? Man, you a man of fate! What other injuries are fate-based??
 
#15
You think achilles injuries are like a ticking time bomb, and it’s just a matter of fate? Man, you a man of fate! What other injuries are fate-based??
It's not like these are freak accidents that happen out of nowhere. An achilles tear is a non-contact injury that occurs because of repetitive stress to the tendon. Paul George breaking his leg in the Team USA training camp was a freak injury. I think it's reasonable to conclude that anyone who tears an achilles tendon was likely going to tear it within a span of time (say 5 years) unless they ceased or dramatically curtailed the activity which ultimately caused it. That's not fate, it's just common sense. Go back and watch the videos of both guys getting injured, they're not hard to find. You're going to see them making normal plays they've made thousands of times before. DeMarcus was fighting for a rebound, Rudy was driving the baseline. The routine nature of those plays is why the injuries were inevitable.
 

Tetsujin

The Game Thread Dude
#16
You think achilles injuries are like a ticking time bomb, and it’s just a matter of fate? Man, you a man of fate! What other injuries are fate-based??
There is a difference between an injury caused by a build up of years of muscle stress and strain and Gordon Hayward immediately snapping his ankle during a freak injury on national television literally five minutes into the first game after he signed a max contract. Neither is fate-based but one of these is not like the other. It's the same reason I was confident Giles could still play after several major ACL injuries (freak contact injuries) while not being sure if Jabari Parker can contribute in the NBA long term anymore (two ACL injuries, neither particularly contact related)
 
#17
It's not like these are freak accidents that happen out of nowhere. An achilles tear is a non-contact injury that occurs because of repetitive stress to the tendon. Paul George breaking his leg in the Team USA training camp was a freak injury. I think it's reasonable to conclude that anyone who tears an achilles tendon was likely going to tear it within a span of time (say 5 years) unless they ceased or dramatically curtailed the activity which ultimately caused it. That's not fate, it's just common sense. Go back and watch the videos of both guys getting injured, they're not hard to find. You're going to see them making normal plays they've made thousands of times before. DeMarcus was fighting for a rebound, Rudy was driving the baseline. The routine nature of those plays is why the injuries were inevitable.
I was content to just enjoy your fate-based injury theory. But if you’re going to challenge my common sense, then here’s some risk factors to consider:
(Risk factors for a professional athlete rupturing their Achilles’ tendon...)
-Steroid injections (to treat injuries)
-Certain antibiotics
-Lack of proper stretching (especially of the calf muscle)
-Poor blood flow at the place where the rupture occurs (who knows why)

I believe “playing through” some other injury (like to the calf) can also be a risk factor for an Achilles’ tendon rupture.

Not saying your theory is wrong, but given all the risk factors, I don’t see this type of injury being quite as inevitable as you imagine it to be.
 
#18
There is a difference between an injury caused by a build up of years of muscle stress and strain and Gordon Hayward immediately snapping his ankle during a freak injury on national television literally five minutes into the first game after he signed a max contract. Neither is fate-based but one of these is not like the other. It's the same reason I was confident Giles could still play after several major ACL injuries (freak contact injuries) while not being sure if Jabari Parker can contribute in the NBA long term anymore (two ACL injuries, neither particularly contact related)
I understand the difference between the two causes of injuries. I just don’t think that a ruptured achilles tendon is always the result of “a build up of years of muscle stress and strain.” Pls see my response to hrdboild.
 
#19
I was content to just enjoy your fate-based injury theory. But if you’re going to challenge my common sense, then here’s some risk factors to consider:
(Risk factors for a professional athlete rupturing their Achilles’ tendon...)
-Steroid injections (to treat injuries)
-Certain antibiotics
-Lack of proper stretching (especially of the calf muscle)
-Poor blood flow at the place where the rupture occurs (who knows why)

I believe “playing through” some other injury (like to the calf) can also be a risk factor for an Achilles’ tendon rupture.

Not saying your theory is wrong, but given all the risk factors, I don’t see this type of injury being quite as inevitable as you imagine it to be.
Those are reasonable counterpoints however, the use of Cortisone injections to treat pain (and play through minor injuries) is so prevalent in the NBA that it may as well be considered an occupational hazard. But also, you could have just said this in the first place instead of "lol, fate".

I think the biggest factor for DeMarcus is that he's a big guy being asked to run up and down the floor and launch threes all game now instead of walking the ball up and banging in the post. The run and gun era is not going to be kind to big guys physically. If it wasn't the achilles it was going to be something else leg related. Rudy Gay's injury was more unexpected as he's not close to 300lbs and he'd only just turned 30. To a certain extent every player in the NBA is at risk for this kind of injury and I don't see any reason to conclude that Rudy was more at risk than the average player. So you're right that it wasn't a particularly well-informed comment in that regard.

Even if George Karl hadn't been such an enormous jerk that he got himself run out of town after just one season, that Rondo/Gay/Cousins core didn't have a particularly large window though. Having a bruising big guy and two wings pushing 30 play the fastest pace in the league was asking for trouble. And I say this knowing that I was totally in support of the strategy at the time because I loved Rondo dating back to his days at Kentucky and DeMarcus was putting up video game numbers in that offense. It's much easier to see the problem in hindsight.
 
#20
I must say, having the athletic has shown me another side of Jason Jones writing. I thought his writing while at the Bee left a lot to be desired, but he is putting out very good work with the athletic
 
#21
I already went pretty deep into this a few months ago and concluded that purely going off his track record, he's been a better GM than I gave him credit for. He's active during the draft about trading up or down to maximize his picks. He's willing to spend money on veterans in Free Agency but usually maxes out with 3 year deals to maintain long-term roster flexibility. He's been quick to scrap a plan when it isn't working and try something new. The rosters he's assembled make sense. We don't have a bunch of redundant guards who can't shoot like New York this season or a bunch of defensive role-players who can't score like the teams in Charlotte and Orlando for most of the last decade.

The main problem I have with Vlade at this point (aside from his draft scouting, which is admittedly a mixed bag for pretty much everyone) is that he hasn't shown that he's able to develop a long-term plan and stick to it for longer than a year and a half. Most new GMs ultimately turn over the entire roster within their first few years on the job though. Hiring and firing Dave Joerger so quickly was eye-opening but there was a lot going on behind the scenes which led to that decision. If we take him at his word that he's found his preferred coach, he's got the core group of players he thinks can carry this team to playoff success, and he's now going to focus on finding the right complimentary pieces to push them forward then I'd say he'll settle in as a competent GM with one egregious draft miss on his resume. That's better than most.

It'll be interesting to see what happens next with Buddy Hield's evident dissatisfaction about playing off the bench, Bogdan Bogdanovic's upcoming free agency, and a lottery pick all on the horizon. Vlade has a chance to cement his legacy with the decisions he makes next. If we ascend to the ranks of annual playoff contender, he'll have fulfilled his promise to build a roster from the bottom up that we can be proud of. If we tread water and start selling off pieces for cap space or watch some of the slowly simmering discontent boil over into on-the-court issues than he probably isn't up to the task. Either way, we should see within a few years.
He gets no blame for the Joerger thing not after what we saw in Memphis, it seems Joerger just has problems where he goes. He followed that up by hiring Luke whose a good young coach anyways
 

SLAB

Hall of Famer
#22
He gets no blame for the Joerger thing not after what we saw in Memphis, it seems Joerger just has problems where he goes. He followed that up by hiring Luke whose a good young coach anyways
One of the very few things I’m “with” Vlade on. Yogurt could go kick rocks with how he handled the second half of that season.
 
#23
It's time for new leadership. Vlade's guilty of trying to repeat the late 90s, early 2000s magic, but fails to realize that their isn't a Webber or a Vlade on the roster. Drafting young, high upside players (JWill, Bibby, Peja, Turkoglu, & Wallace) and acquiring savvy, under the radar players via trades/FA signings (Doug, Maxwell, Barry, Bobby J, Bonzi...) doesn't work without a Webber or a Vlade on the team. He's tried to apply this philosophy three times within 5 years--the Philly trade (and the players that came from that trade), the George Hill/Zbo/Vince phase, and the most recent Dedmon/Ariza mistakes. 3 strikes. Enough is enough.
 
#24
It's time for new leadership. Vlade's guilty of trying to repeat the late 90s, early 2000s magic, but fails to realize that their isn't a Webber or a Vlade on the roster. Drafting young, high upside players (JWill, Bibby, Peja, Turkoglu, & Wallace) and acquiring savvy, under the radar players via trades/FA signings (Doug, Maxwell, Barry, Bobby J, Bonzi...) doesn't work without a Webber or a Vlade on the team. He's tried to apply this philosophy three times within 5 years--the Philly trade (and the players that came from that trade), the George Hill/Zbo/Vince phase, and the most recent Dedmon/Ariza mistakes. 3 strikes. Enough is enough.
Thats not 3 strikes he caught his mistake early enough and those weren’t big ones. His biggest mistake was not taking The Wonderboy from Slovenia which should’ve got him fired minutes after the pick but nothing else he’s done would make me fire him.
 
#25
Thats not 3 strikes he caught his mistake early enough and those weren’t big ones. His biggest mistake was not taking The Wonderboy from Slovenia which should’ve got him fired minutes after the pick but nothing else he’s done would make me fire him.
Yes, A prima facie case-Fireable
 
#26
He gets no blame for the Joerger thing not after what we saw in Memphis, it seems Joerger just has problems where he goes. He followed that up by hiring Luke whose a good young coach anyways
Did you forget the part about how Vlade was the guy who hired Joerger in the first place? How does he not take responsibility here? This sound like more excuses and that doesn't really count from his buddy Grant.
 

Tetsujin

The Game Thread Dude
#30
Does anybody know how long Pistons fans complained about Dumars drafting Darko? Because in the event Bagley doesn't pan out, I just want to know exactly long I'm going to have to put up with this.
I mean I'm pretty sure we could find someone out there still pissed off at Joe Axelson for picking Kenny Smith instead of KJ in 1987 if we looked hard enough.