Jeff Van Gundy sat courtside and announced the Sacramento Kings vs. the Golden State Warriors preseason game for ESPN back on October 5 at Key Arena. The former New York Knick and Houston Rocket coach jumped all over the Kings throughout the game as they fell behind early and were trounced by the Warriors by the final of 122-94.
Van Gundy hasn't called a Kings game since, but on Halloween night, he brought up coach Dave Joerger and the upstart Kings as he played analyst in the Pacers and Knicks game from Madison Square Garden.
"Can I give you an early candidate for Coach of the Year?" Van Gundy asked broadcast partner Mark Davis. "Dave Joerger. Sacramento is 5-3. We had them in Seattle and I thought if they won 15 games, I thought it would be a miracle."
Van Gundy may have mentioned that 15-game win total in the Kings' loss to the Warriors. He wasn't impressed at all with what he was seeing, but he's clearly made a 180-degree turnaround after a quick start by Sacramento.
"The statue in Sacramento, they should build it now," Van Gundy said of Joerger. "The job he and his staff have done to get them playing at an efficient level offensively with movement, the spirit they've shown. They just beat Miami and Orlando on the road "
The word is getting out around the league. Sacramento is playing excellent basketball through the first two weeks of the NBA season. They push the tempo and their young core is starting to show major signs of development.
After running off four straight wins, the Kings look to make it five in a row Thursday night in Atlanta. It's another test for a team that is riding high, but there is a little bit of history on the line. The Kings haven't won in Atlanta since March of 2006, a stretch of 11 games.