As the New York Knicks struggled out of the gate in Week 1, Mike D'Antoni earned some panicky heat from angry fans. The Knicks stopped in Sacramento on New Year's Eve, and D'Antoni took the opportunity to pass the hot seat baton over the Kings coach Paul Westphal.
Now Westphal is getting to read quotes like this in the newspaper (the Sacramento Bee, specifically):
"What offense?" [DeMarcus] Cousins replied when asked about the Kings' most obvious weakness. "I really don't want to say anything."
Oh, those two words said just enough.
When the TV cameras were on Cousins, he said that the team does and needs to do what the coach says to do about 20 times. In another Sacramento Bee story, Tyreke Evans -- the team's starting point guard -- expresses a certain ennui with Westphal's brand-new system.
"I just try to get open as I can and create," Evans said. "It's no real set for me, nobody really in the offense. Just pass, cut. We lost; nobody really knows what to do. I think that's what's really hurting us right now."
Westphal installed a new offense designed to move the ball this season. The Kings are dead-last in the league in percentage of made shots that are assisted, and have shot poorly from the field.
Of course, Evans is taking some heat, too; for every off-the-dribble jumper that Tyreke takes, you can see a little piece of the Kings' soul crumble. He's not alone, and the problems on this team are vast, but ... if the franchise has to side with Evans or Westphal, it's a no-brainer.
Westphal is in the final year of his contract, which is usually some nice kindling for the hot seat. The Kings hired Keith Smart as an assistant coach this offseason; Smart led the Warriors to a 10-game improvement as head coach in 2010-11.