Sydney Kings Part Ways with Coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah Amid Team Turmoil

Sydney Kings face turmoil amid coaching and defensive challenges.

by Nouman Rasool
Sydney Kings Part Ways with Coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah Amid Team Turmoil
© Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

In a turn of events that many saw as inevitable since the midpoint of the 2023-24 NBL season, the Sydney Kings have officially severed ties with head coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah. This decision comes in the wake of a series of performances that raised eyebrows and sparked concern within the basketball community.

Despite securing victories against the New Zealand Breakers and the Brisbane Bullets in November, the Kings' gameplay exhibited troubling signs, particularly in their defense, leading to a pattern of squandered leads that would plague them for the remainder of the season.

Following their triumph over the Bullets in Round 7, the Kings found themselves unable to string together consecutive wins. A subsequent loss to Melbourne United prefaced a break for FIBA, during which the fissures within the team became more apparent.

According to sources close to ESPN, this period marked the first players-only meeting, signaling the initial signs of discord between Abdelfattah and his squad.

Defensive Strategy Flaws

As the season progressed, dissatisfaction emerged regarding Abdelfattah's defensive strategies, which notably diverged from the team's previous success under former coach Chase Buford.

Despite efforts to adjust defensive tactics, the Kings concluded the season with one of the league's poorest defenses, a stark contrast to their prior accolades. The friction between Abdelfattah and the players was not rooted in animosity but rather a misalignment of vision and strategy.

Star player Jaylen Adams' laid-back approach seemed at odds with Abdelfattah's dynamic coaching style, contributing to a visible lack of synergy on the court. Without a unifying figure like Xavier Cooks, the team struggled to find its footing, leading to a disappointing season finish.

As the Kings navigated through the challenges, including injuries and considerations for roster adjustments, their performance in a play-in qualifier against the New Zealand Breakers encapsulated the season's struggles—a promising start followed by a familiar collapse.

This outcome, combined with dwindling confidence from the team's ownership, culminated in the decision to part ways with Abdelfattah. Looking ahead, the Sydney Kings face a significant rebuilding phase, with the search for a new head coach already underway.

Rumors of Brian Goorjian's potential return have circulated, highlighting the Kings' determination to recalibrate and strengthen their roster for the upcoming season. With a few players under contract and interest in retaining local talent, the Kings' management is poised to make strategic moves to ensure a competitive and cohesive team for the 2024-25 NBL season.