The Kings hired Monte McNair as general manager 14 months ago with a mission to end their long postseason drought, and he believes the best approach is patience rather than splashy moves, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic. In a lengthy interview, McNair explains his philosophy on team building and delves into several other topics.
McNair didn’t arrive in Sacramento with a desire to put his “stamp” on the organization, Amick notes. That’s why he has chosen to build through the draft and minor deals, rather than taking a big swing on a risky talent like Ben Simmons.
“One thing that’s really helped us is (that) we have a very, very clear goal,” McNair said. “We want to get this organization back to the playoffs. We want to get back there (and) that helps (that) we have a singular focus.”
The Kings are off to a 5-6 start that has put them in the middle of the Western Conference playoff race. McNair has drafted well, landing Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell in the last two lotteries, and was able to keep Richaun Holmes in free agency, re-signing him to a four-year deal over the summer.
While Sacramento’s management team has sometimes been chaotic over the past decade and a half, McNair believes the current group works well together and will ultimately be successful.
“The thing we are definitely all doing is rowing the boat in the same direction,” he said. “Now we want to row as fast as we can and as straight as we can. … But we are for sure rowing in the same direction, and that makes it a lot easier. We’ve got a great group. And so now, it’s just, ‘Can we do it?’”
McNair covers several other issues in the interview, including:
The decision to draft Mitchell when the Kings already had plenty of guards:
“Certainly, when you just look at the team we had and who we had drafted the year before and Tyrese and who we already had on the team with De’Aaron (Fox), and you say, ‘Why would you draft another point guard?’ (But) this is where we talk about being a best player available in the draft. And it’s a hard thing to do sometimes, but we truthfully sit here and try to (draft) best player available. And when Davion is sitting at the top of our board, we do not hesitate to draft him.”
The relationship with Buddy Hield after he was nearly traded to the Lakers over the summer:
“Yeah, we had some (trade) conversations over the offseason. I don’t want to go into too much detail there, but (the approach was to) treat Buddy like the adult that he is and I think he appreciated that. He does the same with me. And I said, ‘Look, you know, obviously your name has been out there. But if it doesn’t work out, if nothing happens, you come back, you’re expected to let it fly.’ And he’s been doing that.”
The status of Marvin Bagley III, who has complained about how the franchise has handled him after drafting him second overall in 2018. Bagley has only appeared in one game this season and is on track for restricted free agency after not receiving an extension offer:
“Marvin has been putting in the work and staying ready. And just like we tell all our guys, when your number’s called, you go in, and you help us win. It’s a long season. We’re gonna need — we’ve (got) 17 guys now on the roster and we’re gonna need all of them at some point. And you know, Marvin as well as everybody else is going to be ready when they’re called.”