The 2020-21 season was a roller coaster for the Sacramento Kings. The highs were high, with various winning streaks and upset victories. However, each winning stretch was met with an equal or more lopsided losing skid, with the Kings losing nine consecutive games on two separate occasions. Much of that unevenness can be traced to the league’s worst defense but, after months of speculation that a coaching change could be in the offing, word broke from James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area that head coach Luke Walton will reportedly stick around for at least one more season.
According to a league source, Luke Walton will continue as head coach of the Sacramento Kings next season.
— James Ham (@James_HamNBCS) May 17, 2021
Shortly after Ham’s report emerged, Sam Amick and Jason Jones confirmed the news.
Can confirm as well https://t.co/Yp96LQgcwl
— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) May 18, 2021
Walton is under contract, so it may seem odd that this kind of reporting would be needed. After all, the Kings didn’t fall terribly short of their preseason expectations in the standings, finishing at 31-41 despite injury issues. With that said, Walton’s name has been associated with the “hot seat” for so long that it will come as a surprise, at least to some, to see him projected to return.
Defensive aptitude is often linked, at least to some degree, to coaching and the Kings allowed 116.5 points per 100 possessions for the season. That isn’t entirely Walton’s fault, of course, but it would also be accurate to say that Sacramento underachieved defensively when compared to their talent level.
It seems that after months of speculation, Walton has seemingly managed to wiggle off the hot seat… for now.