November 19, 2018, 9:28 pm
Despite a better-than-expected start to the season, Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports reported on Saturday that the Kings’ front office was dissatisfied with third-year head coach Dave Joerger:
Yahoo Sources: There’s growing discord between Sacramento Kings and Dave Joerger that could eventually lead to change. https://t.co/THzErzZt8D
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 18, 2018
This story was a blow for many Kings fans who were beginning to believe that the team’s history of dysfunction could soon be a thing of the past, but a new story from Sam Amick of The Athletic on Monday morning painted an even clearer picture of the unhealthy power dynamics in the team’s front office:
According to sources, Joerger has believed since last season that Kings assistant general manager Brandon Williams was on the lookout for a new coach to replace him. Yet Joerger, sources say, is not in danger of being fired anytime soon.
While Amick indicates that the team is likely to avoid a scenario where Dave Joerger is let go, there is still a lot to unpack here.
A fractured front office without a clear, singular voice is a recipe for disaster, and a leak like this seemingly coming from an assistant general manager shows a willingness to undermine the team to push an agenda.
The rest of the article, which goes into great detail on the team’s current predicament, can be found here (subscription required).
While the report does not specifically state that Williams was behind the leak, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee helped advance the theory:
I’ve been holding back on this, but there is widespread speculation that @SacramentoKings assistant GM Brandon Williams was the primary source for the Yahoo Sports story suggesting Dave Joerger’s job could be in jeopardy due to philosophical differences with the front office.
— Jason Anderson (@JandersonSacBee) November 19, 2018
I want to stress that we don’t have confirmation, but this has been rumored since the story broke Saturday night. Williams and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports were seen having a lengthy conversation during the Kings-Lakers game Nov. 10.
— Jason Anderson (@JandersonSacBee) November 19, 2018
It appears that Williams’ influence in the organization has grown since he joined the organization, but even if he was a proponent of moving on from Joerger (and had organizational support), the team’s recent success would render that discussion moot for most organizations. The Kings are playing well and Joerger is pushing most of the right buttons.
That’s before considering Vlade Divac’s role in overseeing all of this. Theoretically he has the final say on everything, but owners in all sports can tilt the scales and the organizational structure is anything but clear.
Not only was this report poorly received by fans, but Hoop Ball’s own Aaron Bruski shed some light on the front office’s frustration over the leak:
Power structure issues have existed in Sac for a while, reaction within the walls was extreme frustration over this leak. How it is resolved, or not, remains to be seen, sources say. They believed before the season that a new regime was probable. Winning, however has quieted that https://t.co/nmPska5nT1
— Aaron Bruski (@aaronbruski) November 19, 2018
While Williams has been in the spotlight for all of this, the role of chief operating officer Matina Kolokotronis should not be ignored. She is not typically mentioned as often as other members of the front office, but her influence is far reaching:
The structure at the top, including Vivek’s influence and Matina’s involvement, has been something of an urban legend in Sac. Indeed, she has sat in on high-level basketball ops meetings, and influenced decisions of all types. The layers of this management structure are complex.
— Aaron Bruski (@aaronbruski) November 19, 2018
Amick’s article on the Athletic also noted Kolokotronis’ growing influence:
By all accounts, Kolokotronis’ level of influence on both the business and basketball sides is at an all-time high. The same can’t be said for internal morale.
All of this adds up to a very complicated and unsettled situation in Sacramento. While there hasn’t been any irreparable damage done to the team, it’s not hard to see continued dysfunction if the root causes aren’t addressed. It’s unclear what exactly needs to be done to resolve this, but the Kings cannot expect to move forward as a franchise with this type of instability at the top.
July 13, 2020, 11:32 amBrandon ClarkePF, Memphis Grizzlies
Brandon Clarke finished his rookie year averaging 12 points and 5.8 rebounds, landing him a 104/80 ranking in 8/9-cat leagues.
While Ja Morant stole most of the headlines in Memphis, Clarke may have been the most surprising rookie for the squad. After an ADP in the tenth round, Clarke out performed those expectations and nearly cracked the top-100 in both 8/9-cat, finishing the season ranked 104/80. His value was carried by his consistency and FG%, where he finished top-five in the NBA at 62.3%, the highest mark for any rookie with at least 300 FGA, ever. Before missing the the final two weeks of the season with hip and quad injuries Clarke had proven to be a valuable fantasy asset scoring 12 points and grabbing 5.8 rebounds per game. He should sneak into the top-100 of drafts next season.
July 13, 2020, 11:09 amJaren Jackson Jr.PF, Memphis Grizzlies
Jaren Jackson Jr. finished his second season ranked 65/66 in 8/9-cat leagues, averaging 16.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
After an impressive rookie campaign, expectations were high for Jackson Jr., as he came into the year with an ADP just inside the top-40. Although he did not quite live up to those standards he did manage to improve on his overall rankings and jumped from top-90 to top-70. The long, 6'11" forward provides a combination of shooting and defense no other player in the league can. Jackson Jr. is the only player in the NBA to average over 2.5 3PM and 1.6 blocks per game on at least 46% shooting from the field. The substantial increase from 2.4 3PA last year to 6.3 this year, while shooting just under 40% from deep has made him an unique offensive threat. While his block numbers already have him in an elite category we would like to see the big man assert himself more often on the glass and increase his rebound stats from his 4.7 per game career average. The tools are there, we just hope JJJ can continue to improve and solidify himself as a superior fantasy option.
July 13, 2020, 10:43 amJonas ValanciunasC, Memphis Grizzlies
Jonas Valanciunas held 5th-round value all season, averaging 14.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game.
Valaciunas posted the best fantasy season of his career finishing the year ranked 54/49 in 8/9-cat formats. After an ADP in 69 heading into the season the consistency and value he provided was all an owner can ask for. He was a double-double machine, ending the year in the top-eight in both FG% (59%) and rebounds per game (11.2). For a big man he was decent from the line and was the only player in the league that at least shot 73% from the line, 55% from the field while averaging at least 11 rebounds and 1 block. He has shown the consistency over the last few years and we expect more of the same to come next season. He could sneak into the top-five rounds in next years drafts.
July 13, 2020, 10:20 amJa MorantPG, Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant finished his rookie season holding 73/129 value in 8/9-cat formats.
Morant, the presumptive Rookie of the Year, finished his first season averaging 17.6 points, 6.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds on 49% shooting from the field. The high-flying Morant has become one of the more exciting players in the league but could not solidify himself as a top-tier fantasy player at any point this season. His playmaking ability carried him throughout the fantasy season, with well above average assists and average scoring and field goal percentage numbers. The lack of any other stats to speak of and very high turnover rate held Morant back from becoming a top fantasy player, as seen with the disparity of his 8 and 9-cat rankings. As a rookie, much of this is to be expected and he should post more well rounded numbers in the future. More threes (0.9/game) and steals (0.9/game) could eventually substantially increase his fantasy impact and have him flirting with being a top-50 player sooner rather than later.
July 13, 2020, 9:51 amDillon BrooksSF, Memphis Grizzlies
Dillon Brooks shot his way into the top-175 in bot 8/9-cat leagues.
With the addition of Justise Winslow, Brooks could be relegated to a bench role but this season proved to fantasy owners what type of player he is. Starting all 65 games and playing 28.5 minutes a night Brooks was a hit or miss points and threes guy finishing the year averaging 15.7 points and 2.0 threes per game. It was boom or bust from the field for the most of the season as he shot 40% from the field and 37% from deep. The volume was consistent, but the output was not, as seen over the final two months of the year where Brooks was outside the top-325 due to his poor shooting (36% on 16.3 FGA). If he can contribute consistent steals, he averaged 1.0 per game the first 49 games and 0.5 the final 16, he is a worthy end of the bench, points and threes fantasy player.
July 13, 2020, 9:28 amDe'Anthony MeltonPG, Memphis Grizzlies
De'Anthony Melton completed his second season ranked 167/169 in 8/9-cat formats.
Melton proved he had value for not only Memphis but fantasy owners, as well. In 52 games this season he averaged a pedestrian 8.1 points, 3.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds. The upside came with his low turnovers and high steals. Averaging 1.3 steals per game, Melton was one of only two players in the league to average 1.3 steals in less than 20 minutes per game. If Melton can increase his percentages in future seasons he can become a consistent backup fantasy option.
July 13, 2020, 9:13 amRajon RondoPG, Los Angeles Lakers
Rajon Rondo will miss 6-8 weeks after surgery on his fractured right thumb.
ESPN's Dave McMenamin reports Rondo suffered the "significant" hand injury during practice on Sunday. Rondo averaged 7.1 points and 5 assists in 20.5 minutes per game this season. With Avery Bradley opting to sit out the remainder of the season Rondo was expected to pick up some of the available backcourt minutes. LeBron James will continue to run the show with the first unit while Alex Caruso and Quinn Cook have the opportunity to get some extra run.
Source: Dave McMenamin on Twitter
July 13, 2020, 12:16 amAlize JohnsonPF, Indiana Pacers
Second-year forward Alize Johnson spent most of his time in 2019-20 playing in the G League than with the Pacers, allowing him to finish ranked just inside the top-500.
Johnson was a little bit less than an afterthought in fantasy this season as he simply could not crack the team's rotation. In 13 games played for Indiana, the former second-round pick was able to post averages of 1.4 PPG and 1.4 RPG. He's not in line to see a significant bump in value anytime soon.
July 13, 2020, 12:11 amTJ LeafPF, Indiana Pacers
T.J. Leaf found himself on the outside looking in the Pacers' regular rotation in 2019-20, averaging just 7.7 minutes for 2.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.2 threes per game in 26 games.
The 6-foot-10 power forward is still widely regarded as a "project" for the team. He saw some action in the G League, where he was able to shine 23.3 PPG and 2.3 3PG. Leaf's fantasy value is still close to the bottom of the proverbial barrel, ranked at 421/411 in 8/9-cat per-game value.
July 12, 2020, 11:41 pmJakarr SampsonSF, Indiana Pacers
Jakarr Sampson was underwhelming in 26 games for the Pacers, winding up ranked 382nd in 8-cat per-game value and 359th in 9-cat.
There were enough productive forwards ahead of Sampson on the depth chart that pushed him back. He also dealt with the injury bug, stymying his opportunities to deliver when the Pacers were shorthanded. Sampson was pretty much a non-factor, averaging just 13.1 minutes per game and producing 4.2 PPG and 2.3 RPG. He was actually a bane from the line, shooting at a dismal .550 clip from the stripe.