Kings coach Paul Westphal doesn't get it.
And it shows on the court. So right now, I'm calling it.
Sure, I could wait until the All-Star break. Or for an 8-game losing streak. After all, the team is just 3-3.
But I'm not waiting.
Why? Well, there are many reasons. Let's get to it:
What offense? Too many times, the offense consists of Tyreke Evans dribbling for the first 10 seconds, then darting into traffic, only to A.) throw up a bad shot B.) dish off an unbalanced pass to a lunging teammate C.) make a spectacular shot.
There is zero movement. Back-door plays are non-existent. There is not enough cutting, no moving of the ball from side-to-side.
A smart offense needs a philosophy of sharing and team basketball. Whether Westphal is preaching it or not, there is none of that evident on the court.
Good teams need discipline. Teams with DeMarcus Cousins really need discipline. There is no way Cousins should be firing up three-pointers or getting free reign to shoot with his current frequency.
Look at these numbers: He has hit just 18 of 46 shots in five games. That is an awful percentage for a skilled big man. It is also a sign that he is not clear about his role. Now, he's lost his starting job -- and despite claims to the contrary, I'd bet he isn't very happy about it. This is when a coach earns his salary. I'm not sure Westphal has the ability to handle the ramifications.
Speaking of roles, does anyone on the Kings know their role? Westphal used Carl Landry as his go-to guy against the Lakers, but he was a benched no-show against the Grizzlies, amassing a grand total of 19 minutes, 4 shots and 4 points and barely getting a sniff down the stretch. Landry has to be confused. How are you "the guy" one game and the "non-entity" the next?
Jason Thompson is another guy with a mystery role. He's now a backup small forward. How in the world did that happen?
Donte Greene is on milk cartons now, his once glorious potential completely wasted.
Players have no idea when they'll play or what their role should be. Westphal's rotations are so bizarre they border on random. And that is an awful recipe for a young team that needs structure.
Without Samuel Dalembert, the Kings are easily the worst defensive team in the league.
Not a single player seems fundamentally strong. Everyone reaches and pokes and gets called for silly fouls. Opposing teams shred the Kings from the 3-point line (opponents are shooting more than 40% on threes)
Tyreke Evans has been weak on defense early in the season, getting exposed by quicker point guards. Penetration is almost a given.
The Kings surrender points at an alarming rates. You knew this was going to be a problem when they allowed the Timberwolves to score 116 points in the opener.
Defense, like offense, is a philosophy. It's hard work. It's aggressiveness. It's moving your feet and being smart and helping teammates. None of this is evident on Westphal's team.
SO SHOULD WESTPHAL GO?
I'm saying yes. Sure, it's early to pull a move look like this. But here's a better question: Has anybody seen enough to think Westphal can take this team to the next level. I haven't.
This team needs someone with a clear philosopy and a disciplined approach. Someone who can bring structure and instill an unselfish attitude.
They need someone who can school Evans and Cousins about what they need to do to become great NBA players.
They need someone to inspire and teach.
Too much to ask? Maybe.
But I think the move has to be made.