George Karl: If your’re sleeping on his Nuggets, then something’s wrong with you.
We as NBA, fans should be ashamed of ourselves. For the past two months, we have been on a Miami Heat binge that has been so strong that we’ve become oblivion to anything else around us. This includes, and in no particular order, food, family, work, NCAA March Madness, and the Denver Nuggets. How could we miss all of these things in such a short time, I’m not sure. However, we did, and all of it is steadily passing us by. To show how cheap I’ve been in because of my dire attention being focused on the Heat and my lacking attention to more important things such as March Madness, I’ve went as far as to do my bracket out of the newspaper…the newspaper. It’s embarrassing at best. However, that’s been the case. If I can shift your attention, I would like to take your about 1000 miles north west to Denver, where the Nuggets are quietly having one of the best seasons in franchise history. It’s crazy that this should be quiet considering that they’re just lost to New Orleans last night, ending a franchise best 15 game win streak, a streak that was also the second best this season. Now, I understand shouldn’t get as much attention as first place. However, this Nuggets team deserves a lot of respect, much more respect than they’re getting. With the western conference being so competitive this season, going on a streak like Denver’s this late in the season says a lot about this team. For one, they’re hungry. Seeing a team like Denver fight so hard to win every night is like music in a sad day. It’s a beautiful thing to see in a NBA that now focuses most of their attention of prime time teams and superstars that brings the company a steady profit. However, make no mistake, there are still young, grind it out teams out there in the NBA that don’t believe that simply going to the finals against the Heat is the best that they can do until 2014. No, there are teams that truly feel that they can make it to the finals, and beat Miami. Denver, coached by George Karl, is one of those teams.
George Karl has been infamous in his career for coaching great that simply never gets to the big one. A lot of times his teams are peppered with elite stars here and there. However, make no mistake, Karl teams, superstar or not, Karl’s teams are still very dangerous. Dating back to his days in Seattle, a team that he helped clean up from ashy to classy, Karl has been able to create magic with guys that a lot of GM’s would pass on in the draft. Given the fact that the 1995-96 Seattle Supersonics squad consisted of the talents of Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, Nate Mcmillan. And Detlef Shrempf, and Sam Perkins, other Karl squads were this lucky. The 200-01 squad consisted of about 3-4 (depending on who you ask) star talents; Rafer Alston, Michael Redd, Sam Cassell, and a young Ray Allen. However, this team lacked a truly dominant big man, and played horrible defense. However, Karl was able to work something with this team despite their obvious weaknesses.
Fast forward about three years later, and we find Coach Karl in the top coaching chair of the Denver Nuggets. A fairly young team, Coach Karl would eventually turn this team into a western conference powerhouse. With the help of newly drafted talent in Carmelo Anthony, this team would make it all the way the way to the first round of the 2003-04 NBA playoffs, even winning a game against the much more talented Minnesota Timberwolves. What’s bad about that? This particular Nuggets team featured three big talents, Marcus Camby, Nene, and a rookie Carmelo Anthony. With that, this team was in desperate need of depth. However, once again, Coach Karl was able to perform a miracle.
Coach Karl’s Nuggets would go through a lot of phases during his tenure. At one point, Carmelo teamed up with Allen Iverson to rip through the west for about three seasons. At this point, the Nuggets were still a great team. However, they were never good enough to win a title. With that being said, Coach Karl’s has remained in the middle of the pack as far as coaches are concerned. This is crazy considering the fact that while Coach Karl may have never won a championship, his teams have been as threatening as any other playoff bound team in the NBA. Take a look at this years’ roster, a bunch of young, yet hungry talent. The biggest name on this roster is likely Andre Igoudala. However, tell me how many teams will take a Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, or Wilson Chandler lightly when they’re running Coach Karl’s run and gun offense. Don’t get me wrong, these guys are very talented in their own right. However, if we’re talking about a Coach Karl that beat cancer, imagine what he can do for a NBA team.