Sometimes an innocent question and the corresponding answer grows legs and becomes fodder for discussion. That was the case Sunday afternoon when Sacramento Kings head coach, Dave Joerger, was asked about Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic. What was supposed to be a tame quote took on a life of its own on social media.
Before the Kings suited up to play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, Joerger was asked to clarify his previous statement, which he did.
“All we’re trying to do is say something positive about another team’s player,” Joerger said. “There’s no veiled shots at anybody. De’Aaron (Fox) gushed about him and Bogi (Bogdan Bogdanovic) gushed about him and his ability and wishing him the best. It’s unfortunate that we had to play him and so is the rest of the league because the guy is playing really well right now.”
“It was out of love and positivity and people are trying to turn it something between Vlade (Divac) and I. Vlade and I are like this. Three years we’ve been working together and we love it. I love him.”
“When we drafted Marvin at two, we were high-fiving like crazy. We got the right guy for us and where we’re going to be. This isn’t going to be a story in three days and it will definitely be buried five years from now when we have the next (Kevin) Durant, (Russell) Westbrook, because that’s how good they are going to be. They are both going to be in the All-Star game and we’re going to be deep in the playoffs and I’m excited about that. I like where we are and love we’re going.”
Here's Joerger's comment about Doncic that led to Monday's clarification:
“He’s got a lot of different skills.” Joerger told media members in Dallas. “I think he’s going to become a heck of a shooter and when that happens, it will make him quicker. He’s got good ball handling set and he knows how to play. Perhaps there was an idea that there was a ceiling on him - I don’t see it, unfortunately for us. He’s great for them and he’s great for our league.”
Was Joerger taking a jab at his front office? Was he throwing Marvin Bagley under the bus?
The answer is no to the above questions. This was a head coach being asked about a player and then giving an honest answer.
Sacramento passed on Doncic in the 2018 NBA Draft. They selected Marvin Bagley III with the second overall pick instead, and have been very happy with the 19-year-old’s production so far.
Clearly Joerger is trying to put the debate to rest.