Tristan Thompson is having none of it.
The Sacramento Kings have missed the playoffs for 15 straight years — in a league where more than half the teams make the playoffs — and there is pressure from ownership to end that streak. Coach Luke Walton is feeling it. The Kings just went 1-3 on a road trip with losses to the Spurs, Thunder, and Timberwolves, and Sacramento has dropped 5-of-6 and fallen to 11th in the West.
An 11-year veteran with a championship ring, Thompson has had enough. Frustrated after a 107-97 loss to the Timberwolves, Thompson went on a rant (via NBC Sports Bay Area).
Tristan Thompson unloads on how his team should not need a coach for inspiration 😳 pic.twitter.com/r9cS4HT8iL
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) November 18, 2021
"C-Webb and Bibby ain't coming through that door"
Tristan Thompson says it's on him to show veteran leadership pic.twitter.com/NPyLi3kCia
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) November 18, 2021
“In the NBA you’re going to have nights where you’re going to make shots, you’re going to have nights where you don’t make shots,” Thompson told reporters postgame. “Like we’ve been preaching since training camp, your offense can’t determine your defense. We gotta understand that if we’re trying to get somewhere this team hasn’t been in over a decade or damn near two decades, it’s the little things that are going to put you in a position to be there. It doesn’t guarantee you it, nothing is guaranteed in life, but it puts you in position.”
“It’s a compound thing and what guys gotta understand is those little things over the course of 48 minutes, the ‘my bad’ after ‘my bad’ after ‘my bad’ is what is going to cost you a game in the fourth quarter and the reason why we got a loss…
“I’m gonna say this,” Thompson said. “I think no man in this world should rely on another man to inspire them. Point-blank, period. You can put that in all capitals. Me personally, no one should ever need a coach to inspire you. If you don’t get inspired in the game, then you shouldn’t be on the court. Losing teams, losing players, you need to get inspiration from your coach, and I’m not with that s***.
“My teammates aren’t with it, because I know guys want to win and win badly. It’s not about coach Walton inspiring you, this is not no freaking Glory Road s***. You gotta be ready to play. Your number’s called, you in the damn game, I don’t need no f****** coach to inspire me. Never have, never will. The day I need a coach to inspire me, is the day I’m f****** retiring, I’m going to go play with my kids in the park. I speak for my teammates with that quote, we don’t need a coach to inspire us…
“At the end of the day the reality is this road trip should have been a 4-0, point-blank, period,” Thompson added. “I was going on this road trip planning on going 4-0. The teams that we played against, OKC, they don’t want to win games. They want to rebuild, everyone f****** knows that. The Spurs, they have all young guys, they’re trying to figure it out. They have damn near eight guys playing the same position, they’re trying to figure it out.
“Do they want to win games? Maybe, sure. But do they really want to be in the playoffs? Probably not, probably want a top-10 pick. Timberwolves, they’ve got names, but are they trying to win? Roll the dice and see what happens, figure out their roster. Detroit? They do not want to win, they want another top-three, top-five pick. That’s no disrespect to the players on their teams, they’re going to play hard and give it everything they got. At the end of the day, I know how this league works, how the front office works. I can break down every front office and I know their mentality coming into every season, especially after 20 games. Three out of four teams really didn’t want to win those games, they’re probably pissed that they won those games…
“I think everyone is frustrated,” Thompson said postgame. “I think for me, the player I am is energy, effort, hard work, punching the clock in. So of course I’m going to be frustrated because I know what this team is capable of, and also because I care. At the end of the day, I care and I want to win. I care about my teammates, but I know what we can be.”
The Kings have the ninth-ranked offense in the NBA despite De'Aaron Fox having a rough start and looking a step slow after signing a max contract extension. However, the Kings are 23rd in defense.
Sacramento is 6-9 on the season but has a +0.2 net rating, meaning they should be more like 8-7, but they are struggling to close games. Thompson is right, it’s the little mistakes game after game that cost this team in crunch time.
Thompson has had enough.