Fit for the Kings: New coach George Karl could be just what Sacramento needs

Karl offers a steady hand to a rocky organisation. He also brings one of the best basketball minds to a Sacramento team badly in need of direction, writes Jonathan Raymond.
Coach George Karl of the Sacramento Kings looks on in the game with the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on February 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers won 126-99. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images/AFP
Coach George Karl of the Sacramento Kings looks on in the game with the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on February 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers won 126-99. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images/AFP

The Sacramento Kings have had a bizarre season.

They looked like a surprise team early as DeMarcus Cousins rampaged through opponents. Then he contracted meningitis, missed three weeks and the Kings’ season derailed.

They fired a well-regarded coach, Michael Malone, and replaced him with the little-regarded Ty Corbin, and they tumbled towards the bottom of the Western Conference, where they had been expected to land.

And they replaced Corbin. The good news is that for all of their weirdness this year, they improbably have stumbled into what likely will be a lasting answer.

Sacramento last week hired George Karl, bringing the 63-year-old legend back to the NBA after a couple years away.

He offers a steady hand to a rocky organisation. He also brings one of the best basketball minds to a team badly in need of direction. He has more than 1,100 victories in the NBA and a record that spans 25 seasons and 22 play-offs appearances.

For a team starved of post-season play since 2005/06, that is a comforting record to welcome.

One thing Karl, a cancer survivor, has not done in all his years is win an NBA championship.

He will need to forge a relationship with Cousins, who can be difficult. He will need to check the impulses of the Kings’ actively involved owner, Vivek Ranadive.

He will, obviously, need to bring more talent to Sacramento.

It says something about his ambition that he has chosen such a project for his final act.

jraymond@thenational.ae

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Published: February 22, 2015 04:00 AM

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