Staking A Claim: George Karl

Staking a Claim is a new column that will be taking a look at all things Nuggets through the eyes of an outsider. As those who follow me on Twitter know I am a Bucks fan, so it will give Nuggets fans an opportunity to see things through the eyes of someone who follows the team closely but isn’t necessarily a fan. Please leave any subjects that you would like to see addressed in the future in the comments below or send them to me on Twitter @Matt_Cianfrone.

In the Nuggets fan community there are a few questions that have groups of fans divided on the answer.

Who deserves more minutes, JaVale Mcgee or Kosta Koufos? Is Andre Miller worth it? And who has the highest ceiling Gallo or Ty seem to be some of the most common.

But no debate brings out more opinions, or more intense debate, than if George Karl is the right coach for the Nuggets.

Some fans want him gone as soon as possible, while others defend him against a seemingly constant onslaught, based on the way a player or two plays in a game, or even the level of talent on the roster.

I have found myself falling in between the two camps, disagreeing with some decisions Karl makes, mainly rotation ones, while still feeling that Karl is a good coach and one that is going to get the most out of the current Denver roster.

On the bad side most of the problems seem to stem from too much trust in certain players and not enough in others. That problem is the most evident in the minutes of Andre Miller and the three main bigs on the roster.

In short, mainly because the both topics will likely be a “Staking a Claims” for another day, I believe Kosta Koufos and or JaVale McGee need more minutes and Kenneth Faried needs less minutes at center and more at power forward. In the Miller situation he just does not fit the team makeup and his bad decision making has cost the Nuggets games. Also, if Karl really feels that Miller needs to play as many minutes as he does then it is time that Ty Lawson gets a bit of a break. This season Lawson is averaging 35 minutes a game, a number that is entirely too high when the backup point guard is also averaging 25 a game. But again, those two topics will be more for other days.

One of the other criticisms of Karl is the way he handles his timeouts when other teams start making runs. Karl typically will not call a timeout to stop an opponent’s run; instead hoping to let his team play themselves back into the game. While this rubs many fans the wrong way I am not actually bothered by this tactic.

It would be one thing if the Nuggets were a young team full of rookies playing important minutes, but the Nuggets rotation players for the most part, are all guys who have been through many game situations before. They should be able to handle things, and if they do those timeouts are able to be saved an important late game situation. Obviously though, this can be taken to an extreme. If the Nuggets are on the wrong side of a 15 or 20 point run a timeout needs to be taken, but I have no issue with trying to avoid burning a timeout because of an eight or 10 point run, especially with the explosiveness of the Nuggets offense.

While Karl does have his faults in the end I believe that he is the right coach for the Nuggets, and much of that has to do with his offensive system. In an era of advanced statistics Karl has built his offense around the three most efficient shots in basketball; layups/dunks, free throws and three pointers. This has allowed the team to become one of the best offenses in basketball despite not having a super scorer on the roster.

At the moment the Nuggets have the fifth most efficient offense in the league behind only the Thunder, Heat, Spurs and Knicks, all teams with at least one better offensive weapon than the Nuggets best (Durant, Westbrook,Wade,LeBron,Parker,Melo and arguably Duncan and Bosh).

That offensive firepower is very much attributed to the Karl dribble drive offense, especially since there are not a lot of floor stretchers on the roster. The ability to have an offense that is able to get into the paint so often despite not having a reliable shooter outside of Gallinari on Lawson drives or Lawson on Gallo drives, is very much due to how Karl schemes his attack. The spacing is very effective and his new compromise to allow Lawson to shoot mid-range jumpers shows flexibility to making his attack the most effective it can be. This kind of scheme and spacing is a critical thing in Denver where the ability to gain and keep an elite scorer on the roster may always be a difficult thing.

One of the other big criticisms of Karl and his tenure in Denver is the lack of postseason success. While Karl’s past is not an encouraging sign this roster is clearly the best that Karl has ever had in Denver, and while it is already battling for a possible third seed, it is clearly still growing. With another year of growth for important players such as Lawson, Gallinari and Faried and the addition of a knockdown shooter or two this team can be extremely dangerous next year with Karl at the helm.

What makes it even more encouraging is the growth of young players under Karl. While some people point to the handling of Evan Fournier and Jordan Hamilton as reasons that Karl is not good for young players much of the Nuggets roster speaks otherwise.

Lawson, Faried, and Gallinari have all shown great strides in their game since they entered the league or the Nuggets organization and all seem like possible All-Star berths are, at the very least, possible in the future. Even other players have shown a smaller amount of growth into valuable rotation players like Kosta Koufos and Corey Brewer or even JaVale McGee who has grown greatly as a player since he arrived in Denver.

The final thing that has to be taken into account when assessing Karl is the other head coaches in the league and who could replace him. Gregg Popovich is clearly the best head coach in the league and the only one who has shown a great handling of defense and offense. A look around the other elite coaches in the league show that they struggle with things too.

In Boston the Celtics offense has consistently been below average under Doc Rivers, the same with Tom Thibodeau in Chicago. The fact of the matter is that even really good coaches aren’t perfect and Karl fits that mold.

If the Nuggets do fire him, who is the replacement that can keep this team at the level they are at? Stan Van Gundy needs shooters to fit his system and the next best coach available at the moment is probably Alvin Gentry. Is Gentry really an upgrade from Karl? I doubt it, especially when the roster is so well constructed to fit Karl’s schemes.

Sure Karl may not be Popovich but come playoff time I like my chances in a Lionel Hollins/George Karl coaching matchup. Or a Karl/Vinny Del Negro duel. In fact I like Karl’s chances to outcoach, or at least not get outcoached in any possible playoff matchup in the West outside of Popovich. If he does that the game decided by the players on the floor, which is what fans want.

Is Karl perfect?

No. But the problems he has can be fixed by the strong Nuggets front office. Get rid of his crutch of Andre Miller, and maybe even Wilson Chandler forcing Karl to play a bit bigger more often. But given what the Nuggets have built, and it is a great foundation, Karl needs to be around if they want to reach their highest ceiling in the next couple of years.

 

  • Thomas

    Respectfully disagree. Come playoff time, it’s time for GK to show that he can deliver and take this team to the WCF.
    If not, give anyone a shot with this loaded roster.

    • airvaid

      I agree. We need to tank for the 2014 draft. It’s not gonna happen with Karl.

      Wiggins, Parker, Randle, Harrison twins. That draft is loaded.

    • Fence

      I doubt this roster would appear as loaded without the success bred by Karl’s offensive system. Like it or not, most if not all the coaches that people point to as superior have crutches of their own, and those crutches are superstar players who can bail them out with individual greatness. Karl has gotten this entire team to buy into a common philosophy and they are enjoying tremendous success because of it. Put head coach with a more traditional system in Karl’s place with this roster and I can’t help but believe the Nuggets would take a step back.

      • Thomas

        Like playing defense?

        • Fence

          What would you consider to be a good measure of their team defense? I’m old-fashioned so I just tend to look at the opponent FG%. By that measure they’re in the top half of the league. They’re top five in steals, blocks, and opponent turnovers. They’re not an elite defensive team, but nor are they the defensive disaster you seem to be implying.

        • mike

          They’re the 12th rated defense in Points per possession (which is the best team defensive stat in terms of general effectiveness). That is without ONE above average Post or Pick and Roll defender in their bigs (though they do have good shot blockers). It doesn’t make Karl amazing, but he is at least decent. And if you were watching last night I have seen them yelling out not to make switches in some scenarios so that is a good sign.

          In terms of the analysis of the team. Playing small is effective for the Nuggets against many teams in the league. If they had a legitimate two way big who had more offensive skills as opposed to just complimentary skills (OFF rebounding, alley ooping, etc) then I could see you making the contention that going small hurts. Essentially the Nuggets have chosen a defensive path that is rare in the league. They play a highly aggressive defense looking to make steals and create chaos as opposed to a traditional high quality defenses that rely on forcing opponents to shoot tougher shots and make lots of passes. It works to a degree partially because their bigs are not consistent enough in fundamentals to run a traditional defense. The best contention you can make for it is that the nuggets are so ruthlessly efficient on the break that they constantly create points off the chaos even on makes by the opponent.

          Lawson’s minutes are fine. 35 minutes for a 25 year old is not anything to write home about especially because he has added the midrange jumper to avoid physical contact. He is probably the most important player to their team at least offensively. Miller’s value depends on matchups. He often can get to the hoop and finish despite his lack of athleticism (as in he plays like a 45 year old man). He sets up teammates especially bigs with amazingly easy shots. His defense is VERY poor so it depends if he can be hidden.

        • Ackdog

          The Nuggets are actually a pretty good defensive team this year. It’s only that they play at such a fast pace that the other teams get more possessions therefore the points per game are high but in most other cataegories they are in the top 3rd in the league.

          • theo

            Really nice back and forth here. All in with Mike and ackdog here. Made this comment a few times here, but we don’t have the personnel to play a more traditional defense as Mike points out. I think Karl has done a nice job with the personnel he has to fashion a decent defense with a roster full of mediocre to poor individual man to man defenders. Only 4 guys on this team are solid fundamental defenders–Ig, Ill Will (great and very strong), Kosta and Gallo ( both solid). Kalen recently made a wistful/hopeful comment about Karl returning to the coach he once was in Seattle that majored on defense. Understand the sentiment completely, but somewhat misleading. That Sonic team was stacked from top to bottom with strong to very strong individual man to man defenders. I mean, Jordan and Pippen were the best one two perimeter defensive combo at that time but Glove and Nate McMillan were certainly number 2. Basically, that team had far better defensive personnel and were thus able to play more traditional lock down half court D even though they pushed the pace like the Nugs do. Coaches can only coach and adapt to the players they actually have.

            • Thomas

              This love affair with Gallo and his “strong defense” is too much.

              If he is such a good defender, and almost 7 feet tall, then let’s put him on the toughest PF assignment, OK?

              Let’s see this wonderful defense and fast-break offense on the playoffs, with Miller and Brewer playing 45 minutes combined and a full quarter of “Center-less” basketball. As much a fan that I am, and we all are, objectively speaking I just don’t see us deviating one iota from that predictable outcome.

              It will be great if I am wrong. No moral victories for being bounced quickly from the playoffs, even if you win 55+ games in the regular season.

              Van Gundy would be a clear improvement, sorry.

              • theo

                No love affair. Just stats. From any statistical point of view he’s a solid defender. Not great, but solid. On this team solid puts you in the top 4.

                Sure, I’m on record here as a major skeptic whether a system like this can win a championship. On the same page there. Disagree about the moral victory comment. We were on pace for 47 wins last year if the season had lasted 82. This year 55 looks pretty certain. That’s a huge improvement with a young team in a single year. All of us should be disappointed if we don’t get to the 2nd round and coaches and players should be held accountable if we don’t.

                Not feeling the VG thing at all. Guy hasn’t won jack but I guess he fits the bill of people like Kalen and lots of others here that think a coach needs to scream and bitch a lot to be effective. Van Gundy was the most annoying coach in the league when he still had a job. If I were a player I’d tune him out in about a month. Remember Phil Jackson? Sat largely expressionless on the bench during his Lakers years and rarely stood up, a combination of greater wisdom and a bad hip. Throughout his career he also let the team play through the long runs of other teams without calling time outs because he wanted to force the players to rally and learn how to take responsibility. That approach worked pretty well.

  • MJ

    This article is a bit contradictory! I understand that you are centered on the topic but we Nuggets fans know that Karl is doing a great job with this line up. Faried plays center minimally as Kufos and McGee hold that slot. Gallo/Chandler combo is money, Ty/Andre combo is amazing and works well for this team. No super star? No problem. This team is coachable, and developing. If the Nuggets can keep this combo together, they can be great!!

  • http://yahoo.com prospector

    I am a harsh KARL critic… BUT I agree 100% with you… Get rid of KARL’s crutches.. ( AKA like in the movie “MONEYBALL”)… I like MASAI, but I WILL LOVE him if he makes the right off seasons moves to force KARL’s hand… Maybe a future article could be about who has control of the team MASAI or KARL ?????

    • Tony

      I will argue that masai has shown the willingness to unload crutches if Denver receives a fair deal for them. Nene, Harrington and Affalo were crutches that got moved. Karl was extremely distraught when Nene got sent to the wizards. Masai showed he was running the show at that point.

    • Ackdog

      I’m a Miller fan but I agree if this team is going to make it to the next level Dre has to go. I also believe that they wouldn’t have made it this far without him.

      Any speedy back up point guards on the market next year??

      • dynamo.joe

        I still think Stone is the right guy. He brings everything YMCAndre brings, but with defense and size.

        • airvaid

          Have you seen Stone play? He can’t score. Miller is one of the few guys on this team who can create his own shot. Not to mention he leads the league in assist that lead to point at the rim. Points in the paint don’t just happen.

  • GB

    What happens if they move to the second round, but get beat by OKC again? Does Karl deserve more chances to develop the team?

    I think it’s indicative that he has so many regular season wins and so few postseason wins. These playoffs will likely be no different.

    If you gave Stan Van Gundy the reigns, but kept some assistants from Karl’s staff, I’m sure he would keep the transition game, as he believes in designing a system for a roster, and not vice versa, like Karl, who sticks with his system regardless of who’s playing.

    The best hope for this team is to give McGee minutes and see where his ceiling really is (look at how much more successful JR Smith is with a more understanding coach), and hopefully ride him and Lawson to postseason success.

    • brick

      Sorry but that’s just silly. With Denver alone, Karl has implemented different schemes on both sides of the ball to fit his personnel. Just one example is the D when we had AI and Camby (let the guards go for steals and funnel the action into the paint so a big can block). There’s all kinds of criticism you can level at Karl but him keeping the same system regardless of the personnel is not valid.

    • Ackdog

      JR and success don’t really go hand in hand. Dude is a ticking time bomb. Great skills BUT…………………..

      • brick

        Yep.

        With his “more understanding” coach, JR is getting more minutes than his career average (and therefore slightly more assists and rebounds per game). But his fg% and 3pt% are lower than his career averages.

        Put another way, 6 extra minutes is getting Woodson 2 boards, 1 assist, and 1.5 makes out of 4 more shots.

        Different coach, similar results.

        • dynamo.joe

          Exactly, this perception of an improved JR is really an illusion based on his insane and unsustainable 3FG% to start the season. But we already knew JR could get hot.

    • Nathan

      I would be fine with the Nuggets making it to the 2nd round even if it meant losing to OKC or San Antonio. That would be an improvement over where they have been previously. Who knows.. maybe they defeat the Spurs or Thunder?

    • mike

      you understand that the only season the nuggets lost a series where they had the better regular season record than their opponent is the season Karl was out getting treatment right (clippers in 06 were the better record and team for that matter). Most years the discrepancy was not particularly close. Melo was a very good not great player so they were a good not great team playing in a conference with multiple dominant and very good teams….

      JR smith has played WORSE in NYC. PER and especially TS% bear this out clearly. I have seen him in limited stints but I would suspect the main reason is that Karl got him to go to the rim a lot more and he is hitting 3s worse in NYC.

      I’ve been saying this for 3 months now. If you want Karl’s head and you aren’t somehow getting a current top 6 coach in the league or MAYBE stan van gundy you aren’t paying attention. The defense could use some changes, but overall the team has performed at or slightly above the talent level including this current squad.

    • Native Nugget

      There was an article on JR a few months back in which he talked about how much better if feels when the coach believes in you. From his standpoint he was making a huge leap (which statistics don’t support) because of the organization. In the same article he admitted offhandedly that he has stopped partying late into the morning. What struck me is that he is/was so young and unaware that he has never made the connection between staying out late and drinking heavily with inconsistent play. IF JR were playing better in NY (which he isn’t) it would be because he stopped getting F’ed up every night and started showing up to practice sober. Anyone looking at Karl to clean up that mess likely thinks Metta World Peace’s problems are also Karl’s fault.

  • Ckwizard

    Every game Durring the regular season I start to believe and right now I see a team that has become better as the season went on and running a system that is a little different than other teams run. Karl deserves credit for the performance of the team this season! The problem is that a lot of fans are distracted by the seeding as if the Nuggets need home court and that some how if they have home court they should automatically win that series. In the context of this fans passion I only care about seeing the success of this season carry on to the post season in that these Nuggets need to win the first round series no matter who the opponent or what ever advantages the other team has. If the Nuggets fall flat during the Playoffs then George Karl is not the right coach for this team, but as of this moment in Nuggets basketball George Karl is doing a awesome job!

  • Legalize Denver Nuggets

    Nice read- I liked your take here. I’ve gone back and forth with the Karl thing so many times, but I’m with him right now. And frankly that surprises me. I think a huge difference from times I’ve called for his head and times like now, where I see the positives in his system and his knack for player development has to do with player buy-in. Years where I have been pissed at Karl there have been glazed looks on players faces and Karl looked like an emotionless sack on the sidelines. Right now we have players chattering on the court, consistent efforts to win, and guys really looking like they are having some fun out there. It seems as though most, if not all, the Nuggets are buying in right now to the belief that these players running this system have an opportunity to make noise in the playoffs. A lot of it. So whatever is clicking right now, let’s ride it and hope that Masai makes some moves to improve us even more. I think we are about done with Miller now- Ty seems to have vastly improved his vision and lobs. So hopefully it will be more of an asset to have a back-up who is still athletic, that we don’t need to hide on defense, and distributes well. (Stone anyone?)

    Lastly, I think Igudala may be just as important if not more so for player buy-in. He has brought in an heir of professionalism, hard-work, and veteran leadership. (Like him or hate him, AMiller is not a vocal leader). All the times I see Ty and Igudala having a serious conversation, Iggy communicating on the floor, and his ability to change the game on D have sparked some serious energy for this team.

    So I’m kind of rambling off topic, but to summarize- Karl’s system has maybe never been the problem. There are a variety of elements that are getting this team to gel the way they are, but I think some changes on Karl’s part have definitely helped that. He has this team believing they can win night in and night out which is a change from previous seasons.

    • Dan

      ” It seems as though most, if not all, the Nuggets are buying in right now to the belief that these players running this system have an opportunity to make noise in the playoffs. A lot of it.”

      The Nuggets aren’t buying into the idea that they can make noise in the playoffs, they are buying into the idea that they can win a championship. You can see their high level of confidence every time they take the court. They aren’t afraid of anyone and they rarely if ever try to do too much. Instead they just go about their business, defending well, and taking the ball to the hoop aggressively.

      Karl has done a great deal to instill this confidence in this team, they believe they can win because he believes they can win. Karl seems to have a chip on his shoulder about the whole “no-superstar” argument as a reason why they can’t win. And I think the players also feel this under-appreciation and have every intention of proving everyone else wrong.

  • magster

    Andre Miller has had some important 4th quarter stretches during this win streak that have enabled victories, namely OKC and Portland.

    Sometimes he is the only person not afraid to shoot when the wheels are falling off, and sometimes he is the only one able to get off a halfway decent shot in a bogged down half-court set. Sometimes you need a crutch.

    • Andrew K

      I completely agree.

    • dynamo.joe

      And sometimes using a crutch unnecessarily prevents the broken limb from strengthening the way it should.

    • John in LA

      and then there are the other times, where he is a serious liability. Poor perimeter D, no 3pt shot etc…

  • Tony

    When I look back to Karl’s best season as the Nuggets coach, I strongly feel that without the presence of one Chauncey Billups, the nuggets wouldn’t have made it to where they did. And not billups as just the player, but as Billups the coach. When they would show the timeouts, Chauncey was coaching the team on the plays. I wondered how much of his coaching was going on behind closed doors during halftime and what not. I feel Karl was a good enough coach to take a team to the playoffs, but needed a strong player coach to go anywhere in the playoffs. How much of his success in Seatttle can be attributed to Gary Peyton?

    • rxmart2

      More like without the presence of amazing luck, they never would have made it that far. Let’s not forget that they had home court against a 7 and 6 seed in the first two rounds. Pretty sure the Nugs would be punching their ticket to the WCF this year if they knew they’d be facing Houston and Golden State respectively.

      Where was Chauncey’s leadership the following year when they got bounced with home court?

      I don’t think Karl is a bad playoff coach–just a consistent one. When he has the better team, he wins. Worse team, loss…. 1994 excluded of course :)

      • Nick

        In that next season with Chauncey the Nuggets were playing quite well, but Karl had to take a leave of absence for chemotherapy. Gotta give both pass on that postseason.

    • theo

      Yeah, I’ve heard that critique a number of times but don’t understand it. No coach wins championships without having at least one really high bball IQ leader on the court. Can’t name one. Can you? Why fans criticize Karl for that makes no sense to me. Again, there are legit critiques to be made about Karl but that’s not one of them in my opinion.

    • airvaid

      Yup Chancey gets the credit for the wins, but people will criticize Karl for the loss to the Lakers.

  • Andrew K

    I won’t judge Karl this current Nuggets system’s destiny is decide. I feel like for his whole coaching career, he has never had a system of players that fit perfectly into his philosophy….until now. This Nuggets team is his perfect scenario. This is where he can go the farthest.

  • James W

    Wilson Chandler a crutch? Whoa, he’s a decent defender and a pretty good offensive player. He needs more minutes (Faried less).

    Kosta fouls a tooonnnn (he’s like 4th on fouls per game) so Javale WILL see minutes if Karl limits Faried. However, Faried w/ Javale is awful. You can’t have those two on at the same time. Also, Andre with Faried is a terrible combo. They are both shaky perimeter defenders, and where we get killed is corner 3′s.

    My lineup would be as follows:
    Ty
    Gallo
    Iggy
    Faried
    Kosta

    Rotation wise, Chandler will be 6th man seeing heavy minutes, he can score, defend and pass. He’s perfect for 2nd team and a boost for 1st team. Corey is great off the bench, adding a spark. He will see average minutes, as will Andre right now. And as I mentioned above, Javale will get his time to shine as Kosta will inevitably get in foul trouble

    • dynamo.joe

      “pretty good offensive player” => 11th on the team in eFG%.

      The only regular rotation player he is better than offensively is Corey.

  • Ackdog

    Nice article Matt!!!! Stay away from the grades though :) :)

  • theo

    Not sure anybody’s mentioned it so far, but although I liked your take in general Matt, don’t agree this is the best roster the Nugs have had under Karl. The 2008–2009 team was clearly superior in my mind. Better overall talent but also constructed better for contention than this current squad. Had two guys that could put up big numbers offensively and create their own shots which is huge in the playoffs. Had an excellent interior defender in Kmart and an excellent perimeter defender in Dahntay Jones that could harass and help shut down best oppo scorers inside and out every night, had guys that could score both inside and out and could shoot the 3 ball. And those teams were better defensively in the conventional sense. Current version has only one guy–Ty–that can put up big numbers and create his own shot, and that’s a fairly recent development. Current version has an elite perimeter defender but we don’t have a really superior interior defender–actually, our interior D is really poor in general. Current version so far can really only score consistently inside and in the paint. Current version just not as good in the half court defensively.

    That was the only team here in Karl’s years that was a legitimate contender by almost any conventional standard. Two poor in bounds passes away from playing in the Finals and almost certainly beating Orlando.
    Don’t get me wrong–I love this team, one of the most enjoyable to watch and easy to root for, and I think very dangerous. If we get to the WCF I think we can start a serious debate about whether this year’s team is as good or better than the 2009 version.

    • dynamo.joe

      I already linked the article which showed that Kosta is one of the best defensive centers in the NBA and JaVale while not a good defender is one of the most intimidating (people don’t go into the paint for fear of being blocked).

      Of course you can argue KMart was a good defender who was simultaneously intimidating.

      At any rate I think the idea that we don’t have interior defense is over-stated.

      • theo

        Yeah, I mentioned Kosta earlier in the thread as one of our better defenders, but Faried and McGee are so mediocre (at best) that the only fair conclusion is that we don’t have a strong interior D. Chandler helps when he plays the 4. But comparing this interior D favorably to the 2009 team that had Kmart, Nene (a very solid man to man and team defender), and Bird off the bench is a stretch.

  • amlowlife

    I haven’t always been a big Karl fan–I’ve cursed him through the television years upon end–but I think I am finally understanding what he is trying to do and I like what I am seeing.

    I don’t think Karl enjoyed those Melo years all that much. Due to personnel at hand he was forced to coach a certain way, a way that wasn’t all that enjoyable for him. He wanted less black hole, more D, more run, etc. but did the best he could with what he had. And at times it wasn’t too bad. Sometimes boring and predictable but fairly successful.

    But when the team blew up due to “the trade” he had a chance to start from near scratch. While it was frustrating for fans to watch I’m sure it was extremely frustrating for him, too, as he had some core personnel but not quite what he needed which became evident by all the various combinations he tried (and often failed).

    At times Karl seemed like the mad professor, mixing up a concoction to see if it worked. Sometimes parts of it worked under certain situations and sometimes not. Add a little bit of this, subtract this, start over—you name it. It drove me crazy. What the hell was he thinking?

    I heard a Karl interview on the Dan Patrick show recently (and another similar one somewhere else) where he talked about studying teams like University of Oregon football, the N.E. Patriots, Spanish league soccer, and other fast-paced, force-the-issue teams and how he was applying it to the Nuggets. Things started to make sense to me. He’s the Chip Kelly of the NBA. Unorthodox and quite possibly a precedence setter.

    There are several things that helped move this version of the Nuggets towards the team Karl wants. Many of the trades got rid of slowness (Nene, Al Harrington) and returned those that can play uptempo chaos. To me, A.I. is the key piece. He’s an established veteran who has bought into the system and has the skills (defensive, leadership, toughness) that forces the other team-members to do the same. I wasn’t sure about him at first but now that he’s settled in the entire team seems to exude a calm and a confidence that wasn’t there before (if he could just hit free-throws).

    I could go on but I totally like the direction the Nuggets are heading. I haven’t been this excited about the team since the Alex English days and I haven’t been this entertained by an NBA team since the Magic Johnson Lakers. I wasn’t a Laker fan but was in awe of “Showtime”. What a machine!

    The Nuggs are, most likely, a knock-down shooter away from the Finals but this team has a ton of promise and I believe we are witnessing some history being made with Karl’s “chaos theory” system.

    • mile high

      Nicely said. I also think that we are a knock-down shooter away from becoming a real contender but heck, let’s hope that lady luck will smile on us and this is the season that the mad professor will run away with the grand prize!

  • dynamo.joe

    I think this is funny.

    http://www.theworld.org/2013/03/jerusalem-eats-where-americas-foodie-president-might-want-to-dine-in-the-holy-city/

    It’s an article/podcast highlighting restaurants the president might visit in Jerusalem. One of those restaurants is “Kosta” where the head chef is named ‘Farid’.

  • Henry

    May I ask what a Bucks fan is doing writing for RMC? I must have missed something.

    • Henry

      Hello? Please answer my question. Thanks.

      • Matt

        I joined the site in January. I have been blogging for a bit and the guys liked what they saw and asked me to come on board. It is very common in the Truehoop Network for people to write for sites of teams they are not fans of because for all of us, myself included, basketball is our true love, not the team that we root for.

        If you are worried about some sort of bias because I am not a Nuggets fan I can assure you that it will not be a problem. I have a degree in journalism so covering a team without an biases is something I am trained and experienced in. In fact I actually really enjoy the Nuggets and root hard for a couple of guys on the team. I almost had to play Kenneth Faried in the high school playoffs in New Jersey so I have rooted for him through his college career and even now. I also am a defensive nut so I love watching Iggy and was a big fan of Lawson dating back to his college days. I can assure you that even though I am not a Nugget fan I will provide you guys the type of coverage you deserve of your favorite team and even give a different view from the fan side that many of you have, which is the point of this weekly post.

        Hope that helps and thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the post.

        Matt

        • Henry

          Really appreciate your reply. I had no idea that fans of other teams wrote for blogs on the Truehoop Network. (I mostly follow SB Nation blogs.) It makes little sense to me, but it’s fine and certainly not up to me.

          I’m also a lover of the game, along with being a rabid Nuggets fan. Our fandom can indeed get in the way of objectivity, as we see with the rampant homerism displayed here and all over the blathersphere. I regularly try to combat that, to little effect. And I enjoy many other teams and players across the league, rooting for them to be as competitive as they can possibly be.

          Thanks again, and I wish you well.

  • park hill

    If you don’t understand the Miller risk/reward, you don’t watch often enough. Ty could use less time, so could a bevy of other players. My only problem this year as every year with Karl is that some must sit the bench. We could be nearly as good and with a higher ceiling if the four bench riders got meaningful minutes. They’ve gotten more then previous Karl teams though, they’re better too.

    What’s lost in the whole need a star convo is that we have a defensive superstar, and defensive stars in the making. This may be the difference Karl needs. If we are respected by the league to play the D needed to then run our style, we could truly stake a claim.

    Against the Knicks, K-Mart and JR were called with fouls where Iggy and KF would not be. . . the star factor. Will the star factor travel on the road is the question. I think it will.

  • NuggDr

    “We’ll move the Earth for a title” should be updated to: “We’ll let anyone who wants to write for this site, even fans of other teams!”

    Get rid of Miller and Chandler? Trade deadline is over. This is the team we have for the rest of the season. Trade Chandler after the season? To who? The Bucks? tehehe!

    Go Nuggets!

  • Ernie

    My problem with GK is that he doesn’t substitute at the end of games. If you subbed in at the end of the 3Q and are playing well you stay in and have less rest in the final minutes than any other player. There is no substituting of offense for defense even though Miller seems to be the obvious choice for that.

    My other issue is GK has a star-less team but runs isolation at the end of quarters and especially games instead of plays or the regular offense. I know it’s harder to get the timing right to put up a last shot but I’d rather get a good open shot than a contested one by a player that has to beat his man 1×1 and isn’t going to get a superstar call.

    • Thomas

      My problem w/GK is that he is a bad playoff coach. Correction, terrible playoff coach. You guys that talk about statistics, seemingly proving your own biases by throwing numbers…look it up. A losing playoff record, a very large sample size.

      Case closed until a datapoint changes this stat. And, by the way, Van Gundy bros at least have a winning playoff record.

  • googergieger

    Well first three quarters are the type of ones that remind people why Karl “haters” have a point. Well a few points on the guy.

    Lets runs get out of control. This time he lets the refs get away with letting Memphis get away with murder. Plays his ineffective favorites way too much. Doesn’t play the hot hand and takes out effective players too early. Then lets his team come out into this game flat and stay flat. Still a quarter left in this game, but this is the same thing I and others talked about during that Memphis loss others said was acceptable because it was expected.

    We aren’t getting beat in some of these games like tonight. We are losing them. Giving them away. Because of one man’s inability to change his ways because good enough is championed.