Michael Malone seems like a nice guy.
And it seems like the players respect him.
But he has done nothing to prove he's an NBA coach. And Thursday night's mind-numbing meltdown at the hands of the Grizzlies is big, fat Exhibit A.
Before we talk about the tragic final play, let's explore how the Kings gradually let their 26-point lead evaporate in the second half. The primary reason? Malone's offense came to a grinding halt. Not that it's ever really in any other gear.
Yes, the defense wasn't exactly stellar, but it's the offense, stupid.
You see, the Kings have no offense. It's all about DeMarcus Cousins bulling his way down low or Rudy Gay faking and pumping until he gets off a tough 15-footer. When those two players are hitting shots, everything is seemingly fine. But when the going gets tough, the Sacramento offense needs roto-rooter. It's a clogged, poopy mess.
Sometimes Darren Collison gets into some open space and creates, but for the most part, there is nothing. Zero. A painful sharp stick to the eye of NBA observers.
This is on Malone. Sure, the Kings don't exactly have unselfish players, but that's not an excuse for a system that is unable to generate even a small amount of easy shots.
By the way, where exactly is rookie hot shot Nik Stauskas? And why can't this team run a single play for him?
But enough about the offense, let's take a long, hard look at that final play with just 0.3 seconds left on the clock.
Go ahead, look at it.
Bet you don't see any Kings players defending the basket, do you?
That is inexcusable. And that is on the coach. Period.
All you have to do is be clear and say this: DeMarcus, you stand along the right side of the hoop, Jason, you stand on the other side, and Ryan, you just stand right in front of it. Nobody gets close to the hoop for a lob. Game over.
It's his job and his alone to make this clear. If his players aren't listening to him, that's his fault.
The probation period is over for Mike Malone. It's time for him to prove he's more than a nice guy.
The Kings have shown early that they have the talent to compete. But two gut-wrenching meltdowns in a row point to only one person -- and he's sitting in a suit on the bench.
I'm looking at you, Mr. Malone.