When I heard Joe Maloof's comments about Reggie Theus on the Rise Guys radio show last week, one thought popped into my head. Welcome to being a Kings fan Joe.
The Maloofs bought the Kings at the tail end of the 90s and got insanely lucky when the '99 lockout ended. In the years before the lockout, and coincidently before the Maloofs owned the team, the Kings flat out sucked. They couldn't rebound, they blew games in the 4th quarter, they turned the ball over constantly and they barely played anything resembling defense. Sound familiar? You think Brad Miller's bad defensivly? You've obviously forgotten a time when Olden Polynice patrolled the paint.
As most people know, the post-lockout team differed vastly from the Kings of the 90s. We drafted White Chocolate, traded Mitch Richmond for Chris Webber, finally lured Peja over from the Greek league, and signed walking chimney Vlade Divac. I was at the first post-lockout game at Arco. I recognized one player from the 90s (Corliss Willamson), if there was one thing I took away from that game it was that change might finally have come to Sacramento.
Fast forward 9 years or so and change is once again arriving in Sactown. One of the big offseason storylines was the impending youth movement. The last few people holding onto the glory years of the early '00s finally realized that it's over. I get the feeling one of those people was Joe Maloof.
Now I don't fault Joe Maloof for saying what he said. It's his team and he can say whatever the fuck he wants. I just wish he didn't think what he thought. But I understand why he thinks so. He's not used to his team reeking of sucktitue.
Don't worry, this isn't going to turn into a die-hard vs. bandwagon debate. I'm just pointing out that Joe Maloof is pissed because this is pretty much the bottom of the barrel for him. Sure, the team sucked when he bought it, even if not for very long, but at least he could always count on a sold out Arco bringing in revenue. Now? Notsomuch.
The result? A Maloof freakout of epic proportions. They gave us what we wanted! Ron's gone, Bobby Jackson's back, no more playoff delusions, double the amount of $10 tickets. What more could we posisbly want? Why aren't we showing up to games? This is Reggie's fault! Fans would show up if we could defend better from behing the arc! Quick! Someone call up the Kevin Nash so we can do a basketball version of Fuse's "Redemption Song"! (Unfortunately "Rebuilding the Kingdom" will probably be hosted by Angela Tsai.)
Well, I'm here to offer Joe and the rest of the Maloof family some advice from a lifelong Kings fan. Calm the fuck down. For one, I don't know if you've been paying attention but the team's actually not that bad. Sure things started out kind of ugly, but we're a young team. We still have to find our rhythm. Plus, we're injured. El Flacco hasn't played a game this season and Kevin Martin's been out. We've played pretty well considering our best player and our best 6th man have been out most of this short season.
Why be negative? Reggie didn't sprain Kev's ankle. He didn't take a golf club to Cisco. The only thing Reg is guilty of this season is denying us his glorious lip warmer (and posisbly leaving Mikki Moore in the starting lineup way too long).
Attendence will pick up too once people see the exciting brand of basketball the team can play when at full strength. You saw that New Orleans game last night right? That was fucking awesome. Remember the game before that? Yeah, it blew. That's how this entire season is going to be. Highs as high as Brad Miller and then lows as low as Kenny Thomas' self-esteem with a bit of Shock and Hawes interspersed throughout. Yes, it's frustrating. Consider it your right of passage. You want to be accepted instead of regarded as the outsider billionaire from the Carl's Jr. ad? Take your lumps like I had to in the 90s and you'll be fine. Trust me, the past couple years have been a cakewalk compared to the 90s. The 90s had the youthful frontcourt combo of Brian Grant, Yogi Stewart, and Mike "The Animial" Smith. The 00s has Jason "Shock" Thompson and Spencer Hawes. Your lumps aren't that bad. But still, welcome to being a Kings fan.