Moore: Betting Impact After Sacramento Fires Luke Walton, Promotes Alvin Gentry

Moore: Betting Impact After Sacramento Fires Luke Walton, Promotes Alvin Gentry article feature image
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Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Luke Walton and Alvin Gentry.

Another year, another coach for the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings fired Luke Walton on Sunday following a week that saw Sacramento blown out against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors before being beaten soundly by Utah in a game where someone puked on the Kings bench in an instance of art imitating life.

Walton finishes 62-82 straight up and 78-80-3 ATS with the Kings, also notably going 23-32-1 (41.8%) as a favorite and 55-48-2 (53.4%) as a underdog. That pretty much sums up the experience under Walton, with Sacramento surprisingly competitive when it shouldn’t have been and a train wreck when it should hang. As less than a 3-point dog, the Kings went 7-10 ATS under Walton.

Now, Alvin Gentry is set to take over in Sacramento.

Kings have tabbed Alvin Gentry as the next coach, source tells @TheAthletic

— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) November 21, 2021

Gentry is exactly .500 ATS through his 10 seasons as interim or head coach.

The Kings never really generated an identity under Walton. The team slowed down significantly from the successful fast-paced track its was on under Dave Joerger, despite having young talent and one of the quickest point guards in the league in De’Aaron Fox.

As always, questions about overall direction and leadership under Vivek Ranadive’s majority ownership group persist.

“(Walton) never really had them on the same page. Your team either needs to love to play together and play hard or have a scheme that makes you better than the talent. The Kings haven’t been either,” one league executive commented Sunday.

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It’s important to note Walton predated the hiring of general manager Monte McNair, who came to Sacramento from the Houston Rockets. Now, McNair gets to hire his own coach. In the meantime, questions remain about why the Kings haven’t shaken up the roster either by trading the unhappy Marvin Bagley, the valuable Buddy Hield or both.

There’s more to figure out with the Kings roster and organization, but Gentry should provide a steadier hand that better connects with the players. Don’t be surprised if Sacramento makes a push for the play-in tournament unless its opts for a full teardown.

Look for the Kings to play a faster pace under Gentry. The under is 10-7 this season for the Kings, despite them having the 24th-ranked adjusted defensive rate. The Pelicans had the fourth-highest pace league wide in Gentry’s last season as coach in New Orleans.

The Kings are +425 odds to make the playoffs at DraftKings as of writing.

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