In the end, it got him fired. Picking Marvin Bagley III. over Luka Dončić has the potential of going down as one of the biggest draft mistakes in NBA history. Vlade Divac owned up to the pick, but it still seems he doesn’t think picking Bagley over Luka was a mistake.
In an interview with Marcos Breton, Divac openly spoke about all his decisions, many of which are considered to be mistakes, without looking for excuses. When Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé called him to inform him Joe Dumars will take over as interim GM, Divac was not surprised. He confirmed that not picking Luka was an issue between him and the Kings owner, and it was the straw that broke the camels back.
“That was my decision. I still believe Marvin has big upside. But I needed more time to prove it. I’m sure Marvin is going to prove everybody wrong. But in this league, you need to produce right now. People don’t have patience but I’m OK with that.”Vlade Divac, SacBee.com
Picking Bagley over Luka was a matter of fit for Divac. He loves De’Aaron Fox and believed Bagley would fit better next to him than Luka. That logic may make sense if you’re picking outside the lottery and are a contender. But a team that has the longest playoff drought in the NBA going strong at 14 years needs all the talent and upside it can get. Particularly at no.2!!
This is the problem GM’s often get into. Fox was Vlade’s pick at no.5 and turned out to be a special player. GM’s often fall in love with their guys and decide too early that’s the guy to build a franchise around. As good as he is, Fox isn’t there yet.
The interview revealed Divac has a romanticism about basketball a GM can’t afford. He often stuck with his guys or lost opportunities on others because it was “the right thing to do.” On many levels, he might’ve been right. But GM’s are hired to create winning teams – Divac had seven years and failed to do so.
“What’s far more important than having a goal is the way you act on the way to your goal.”Vlade Divac, SacBee.com
For Sacramento fans, the future is not bright. Ranadivé fired Vlade a year after giving him a contract extension. Having Dumars searching for a new GM, while we know he wants to be the new GM, doesn’t smart like a great process. Dumars may be a fine candidate, but with the Kings, as is with most dysfunctional teams, the problems start at the top.
Kings fans have to hope for the rarest occurrence in NBA – a bad owner learning from his mistakes and changing his ways. Good luck, Sacramento.