Opinion: Firing Karl not the answer

The greatest regular season in Denver Nuggets history deserved a better ending.

No one expected a return to the postseason irrelevance of Karl’s previous Nuggets teams, who frequently battled near impossible odds against heavily favored contenders on the road. This team was different. They were the favorites, having built a 57-win three-seed around a young core just one year removed from taking the Lakers to 7 games.

So what happened?

For Nuggets fans, it’s an all too familiar feeling. Another short postseason punctuated by decisive defeat. Another year of regular season thrills fading into yet another unceremonious first-round exit, the Nuggets’ third straight and their eighth in nine seasons under George Karl.

There’s nothing that brings out the worst in the Denver Nuggets and their fans quite like the NBA playoffs. Year after year, George Karl’s Nuggets look unfit to compete on the NBA’s biggest stage and we spend long offseasons trying to reconcile what that means with regards to his hall-of-fame career. The narratives change from year to year but the results do not.

Do those poor results point to Karl being the problem? To answer that we have to weigh Karl’s culpability for constant first-round embarrassment against his uncanny ability to get seemingly every team he coaches into the playoffs consistently. George Karl has overseen the Nuggets’ longest period of sustained success along with a torturous string of first-round exits that haven’t gotten any easier to bear. Would firing him really be a step towards a better future or simply a different one?

I have to admit, for a long time I never understood the Nuggets’ infatuation with Karl, the head coach who seemed to love everything about his job except the actual coaching. His famous laid back demeanor and hands-off approach in games seemed to reflect a man who was disconnected from the inner workings of his team.

Then I got an opportunity to see the Nuggets at work in last year’s Summer League. With it came an appreciation for how the George Karl culture is ingrained at every level of the organization. Everyone I talked to – from coaches to players to training staff – all raved about George Karl and his influence on their work. The level of respect he commands in a gym full of basketball lifers is palpable.

George Karl might not be much of a playoffs coach, but he is an inspiring leader at the head of a large staff who believe in him down to a man. That counts for something. The workplace is humming with productivity and positive energy under his watch.  That mundane day-to-day work is not something fans get to see at the games, but it is an example of how George Karl is more than just the Nuggets’ head coach.

Karl has orchestrated everything from how the Nuggets develop players to how they create value on the court. His methods are unorthodox and require a specialized roster suited to them, which has helped Denver create maximum value out of guys like Corey Brewer and Kenneth Faried. The Nuggets are still only a few years into developing that Karl-centric roster  around a young core that should still be peaking in another 2 to 3 years. There’s an opportunity to continue that process now.

I am not trying to be abstract about it, but Karl really is more to the Nuggets than the coach who can’t win in the playoffs. He is a pillar upon which they’ve built ten years of sustained success. Tearing that down in the name of results would mean a much larger reshuffling of the organization than many realize.

Therein lies the George Karl dilemma. His Achilles heel is the playoffs, which bring out his worst qualities as a coach and an in-game manager.  On the other hand he is the Nuggets’ greatest asset, an iconic basketball mind with a wealth of experience needed to teach this young roster constructed specifically for his zany style of play.

The process is what we talked about right after Game 4, when it started becoming clear how badly the Nuggets were getting dominated. As a fan, I am still upset and seeking answers just as much as anyone. Truthfully, George Karl deserves much of the blame for this series and the lack of any discernible plan to win it. But in and of itself, that is not a good enough reason to abandon the process now.

Fans will continue to point to the latest playoff disaster as proof that change is needed. I won’t necessarily disagree but I do think that change can come from within. Take away Karl’s last crutch in Andre Miller and find ways to add layers of skill and structure on top of all that athleticism. Lay the burden of guilt on the team and trust them to change what they can to avoid the same mistakes. Try to view the offseason for what it is — the next step in the process or the beginning of a long hard search for a new one.

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Charlie Yao

Contributor at Roundball Mining Company since 2010. Unhealthily obsessed with Nuggets basketball since 2002. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at the links on the left.

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  • Thomas

    Very foolish to think that trading away Miller will do away with Gk’s shortcomings.

    Our “fan base” plays unto the hands of the Nuggets corporate culture: Low risk moves, low expectations, solid bottom line profits.

    This shortsighted vision will backfire – attendance will drop as fan interest wanes. Even Nuggets fans get tired of playoff futility, considering that family tickets cost some $200 a game in a tough economic environment.

    This is not even going into player recruitment and retention – there will be zero interest to join a perennial playoff loser and its stubborn, “favorite-player will always play” coach.

    I want a title so obviously I am not the type of fan our front office caters to. Too bad. I hope most fans feel the same way – it’s nonsense to root for a system that is proven to never work in the playoffs.

    There are a some coaches that might be able to pull it off with this squad, player development,and a few additions/subtractions. GK is certainly not one of them.

    Disclosures: fan for 25 years, GK observer for 9.

    • skoo shoes

      The real story is behind the arc.

      Don’t get me wrong, I am still angry that the Nuggets did not advance past the first round after having a franchise record setting season.

      But, lets take a look at a key statistic that I believe is that tells it all. It is the 3pt field goal. Denver is ranked 26th in 3pt percentage behind these top 5 teams: Golden State, Miami,OKC, San Antonio and Dallas.

      Just think, if Denver can make 2-3 more 3 pointers in any game playoff or regular, that puts them as a number 1 or 2 seed and advances them to the next round. That being said,
      I don’t believe Denver could have beaten San Antonio in round 2 with a 26th rank in 3 point percentage.

      In conclusion, if there is a vote to be cast about George Karl, then I vote for 1 more season. One more season should give the upper management a chance to acquire some key players who can improve the 3 point percentage, free throws and field goals made.
      Defense is good, but your team must make field goals(buckets). This game will continue and will always be about buckets- quote Bill Russell.

      • dynamo.joe

        You are (mis)quoting a commercial. That is just something he was paid to say.

  • #magicFingers

    Yeah it’s a roster problem at this stage. Miller needs to go cause you can’t trust Karl to use him as he should.

    Fans will clamor for a 3pt shooter. We aren’t that close
    Need to find a star to put next to Lawson and Iggy. Then find the role players. Ideally you keep Faried as well as your 4th guy but it’s more important to get that #1. Lawson and Iggy are great #2 and #3 options

    • ryanvdonk

      a post player + a shooter…probably will have to give up some of our depth to achieve that, josh smith and amare could be options you can trade for. a shooter is probably easier to find in free agency. as far as who to trade, lawson is the only player who is truly off limits.

      • LBJ

        We sure as hell don’t want Amare now. He is washed up, injury prone and way overpaid. He belongs on the Knuckleheads.

      • dynamo.joe

        If Josh Smith was actually a post player he might actually be worth something. Instead he is a mid-range jump shooter and not worth 2 shits.

      • ryanvdonk

        yeah, just looked, amare’s contract is huge, knicks are going to be regretting that one. david west will be a free agent…there’s just not a whole lot of post players in this league, much less available ones. smith can play in the post, but just settles for jumpers too much, he thinks he’s a small forward haha.

  • U2da

    And to think I was believing that there would be some mind games being played with the Nuggets and Carmelo Anthony BOTH moving to the second round. Now all we have is Carmelo laughing and saying “I Told You…. Its GK”. Personally I think if Gallo was healthy it wouldve went 7 but in the end GS wins still.

    I see there’s 2 option
    1. Get rid of GK, it would hurt but it may have to happen
    2. Change up the staff underneath him to influence better decision making

    • mike

      well Melo just went to a conference where when the Bulls play without Rose it’s a bunch of 42-50 win teams which is the bottom 3 in the West. That’s why Melo’s team is moving on. If they beat Indiana then you can make a contention they won something, but Boston is the definition of an over the hill average team. The western conference equivalent is this year’s Mavericks.

      The nuggets aren’t just one or two small upgrades from a championship quality team. There is a reason Houston was/is obsessed with getting 1-2 all-star caliber players. You need at least one to make a serious run at a championship. People talk about Detroit but just don’t understand how good their players were. 4 guys who made 3 or more all-star games and Prince was a top 3 defensive wing with decent complimentary offensive skills.

      This team has the right pieces around it if they had a dominant player to Orbit around, but they don’t. Karl may have influenced who they decided to pick up so he has some culpability in that. His in game stuff is average. Other than his blinders on Miller. Miller can have value on this team or another, but when he isn’t effective then he needs his minutes diminished. Karl refused to do that.

      I think there is only 1 scenario possible that would make them title contenders. Somehow turn Mcgee/pick into Scola/Dudley and three way to get Howard. I know he is a bit of a headcase, but that is one thing Karl does well with (young version of Payton and Kemp, JR). And none of those guys has the talent of a healthy Howard. You probably have to give up Faried to do it though….

      • Native Nugget

        Like it or not I don’t see us getting rid of Karl. Management hasn’t given any indication it’s willing to take that step yet. We also are highly unlikely to trade for an all-star (like Howard), either because management isn’t looking to give up so much or because the market it too small. So… we’re left with Karl and the blue collar bunch.

        Like the suggestion to get some stronger supporting staff under Karl, someone to improve our defensive schemes, someone to hogtie him when he relapses into small ball addictions and a full time FUNDAMENTALS coach who teaches things these players somehow missed in there entire basketball lives (free throws, boxing out, and help side D). Unfortunately this is not going to happen either. Look for a change with Miller, a trade for a shooter, another good regular season and another gut wrenching got-out-coached loss in the playoffs – then we can talk about new coaches in 2014.

      • ryanvdonk

        you’re wrong on that, kemp had more talent than howard. he was only an inch shorter, but had a jump shot, post moves, and could handle the ball more the 5 feet from the basket. and physically, kemp was faster and could jump as high as anyone. howard however does have a better head, he’s more whiney, but when kemp no longer had a coach that pushed him he got fat and lazy.

        • mike

          nah. Not really close either. Offensively Kemp was slightly better and certainly was a better shooter. But the athleticism is pretty similar and Howard is MUCH more powerful and better shot-blocker. Howard was/is on pace to be one of the top 10 defensive players in the history of the game before injury. Howard was one of the top 3 most talented players in the league for like a 4 year stretch. (and would be again if he got back to being healthy) Kemp didn’t even do that for a year. Really only two guys in the entire league have the impact on the game that howard does (healthy) over the last 5 years. Lebron and Durant (maybe Wade though he is always ailing). That’s it. Not Kobe or Garnett or Duncan or etc. etc. etc.

          • ryanvdonk

            its an odd comparison since kemp is not a center. people do forget that kemp was more than just a dunker. howards defense is better, especially help D. offense is not really that close. if howard played when kemp did he would be lucky to get 15 points a night, mostly on put backs, but the league currently does not have very many decent centers. the main difference is that for how athletic howard is, he really seems stiff in the post, his moves are akward and not natural. blake griffin is even worse in this aspect, neither really know how to make the moves at the correct time to take what the defense gives them. mcgee actually looks a lot smoother in the post than either at times, except he needs to learn (badly) to go directly at the basket, too often he makes a good move for a hook, but will travel all the way across the lane and fade away instead of an easy one in front. same with his turn around, it’s not like he will be blocked, go straight up and make it easy. then again it’s mcgee, and other times he looks more like he’s trying to waltz than post up.

            • ryanvdonk

              please don’t take that as mcgee is better in the post, he’s not…my point is just on the fluidity and how unnatural the footwork seems to be for howard and griffin

    • Mike K

      I agree with one thing said here–the people around Karl. It seems like some of the people that I think could stand up to Karl and challenge his decisions are no longer on the sideline with him. He’s surrounded by a bunch of yes-men.

      You would think that SOMEONE would have gotten into his grill about playing Miller as much as he did against Curry. Someone would have done it about going small all time time when it was going big that brought about any success we saw in the series.

      I hope this is something that is addressed in the off-season.

  • googergieger

    Because Miller was his only issue. That sure will stop him from going small despite the fact that doesn’t spread the floor on offense and just makes it impossible to defend. McGee/Koufos anyone? One got crap minutes when he played great and could win you a game, and the other got his minutes no matter what. One could have been a big reason you moved onto the second round finally, and the other was dominated by a physical big, again.

    Karl’s a great guy? Okay. Give him a front office job and talk him into retiring to save face. There is no excuse for losing in the first round again. Especially considering, this series was lost. Lost because of three different starting line ups in the first round. One of which had Wilson Chandler at center. Lost because when Karl finally went big and dominated the other team, decided to close with Miller and the small ball for the entire fourth, barely won that game, and when reminded of what had just happened in the post game, still went small most of the close out loss. Lost because Karl will always rather lose his way, than win any one else’s way. Lost because when given what is probably the most Karl proof line up that has ever been assembled, he still found a way to Karl it up.

    • mike

      They dominated the first half of game 5 that GS looked lethargic/not in it and admitted as much after the game. They came out with the same lineup in 3rd quarter of that game and got crushed until they took out Mcgee and Iguodala went on like an 8 point run to get their lead back up to high teens. Game 6 they got crushed going big in the 3rd quarter and Warriors were just missing shots in the first half. Warriors had plenty of open scenarios.

      The better team won that series because they have more talent 1-6 and their strengths perfectly aligned with Denver’s weaknesses on Defense exacerbated by the fact that Gallo was not there to be their second best defender against this team and probably best perimeter half court guy. And both Chandler and Brewer (who is extremely streaky) decided not to show up in this series.

      • googergieger

        I’m getting bored with you trolling. Either get better, or get ignored.

        Golden State said they didn’t care about the first half? Well sure. I mean they also said Denver cheated and tried to injure Curry and everything they were doing was clean and easy peazy lemon squeezey, so it must be true.

        Game six it took Faried picking up three fouls in a row for Nuggets to back off defensively which opened up Curry and company’s hot streak. Third quarters in general and starts of first quarter’s this team tends to be horrible at, in general as well. Though of course nothing to do with coaching, according to you. They do not have the better team. Even if you want to break it down to one on one match ups. Jackson just coached logically, and played to the refs rather obviously. While Karl panicked, let his team get mugged, and well, did what he always does.

        Now this is the last time. Tell me what kind of style Denver plays that allows them to over achieve with their shitty roster, according to you, and tell me how many teams out there have a better roster from top to bottom.

        • mike

          It’s not trolling. It’s correcting your misimpressions through a civil discussion. I didn’t read your response since you are just a sycophant of your own misguided thoughts.

        • heykyleinsf

          I think you were a little rough on Mike there Goog…

          Personally I saw a lot of validity in what he said.

          • LBJ

            Mike = Steph Curry

            Googengoof = Jamal Crawford

            No contest

        • mike

          Ive never said the roster was bad. I’ve always contended it was top 6-10 and for the regular season it was closer to top 6 because of the depth. But that is much different than suggesting they are top 3 or something like you and some of the other people here seem to think Depth is not nearly as valuable in the postseason. Most teams run out 3-4 guys who carry the team for close to 40 minutes and have a total of 7-8 guys who get 95% of the minutes unless there is foul trouble. Anything beyond your top 7 really doesn’t matter in the playoffs.

          I wouldn’t have said GSW was as talented going in, but that was because Bogut had not played well this season (though he was very good in the past) and honestly I had not seen Curry play much since December so I did not know those 2 guys were a legitimate 1 and 2.

          In terms of contending they get crushed in the 1st and 3rd quarters. In this series the nuggets won 5 and lost 6 with one tie in who led those quarters. Im not sure what that has to do with coaching, but clearly your contention is incorrect when you look at stats (what’s new). It probably has more to do with Curry deciding at half he needs to come out and dominate the ball to get the momentum/lead on his team’s side. That’s usually what the best player on the court does for small stretches (4-6 minutes stints 2-3 times a game) PS the nugs scored more points in the 4th quarter in 4 of 6 games. Does that make Karl a great 4th Quarter coach and horrible 3rd quarter coach?

          Karl did a mediocre job. The team has good not great talent (and less so with Gallo gone). They were a poor 3 pt shooting team that became atrocious other than Iguodala in this series. They played horrible 3 pt defense all season (partially scheme partially personnel especially the bigs) and played the best 3 point shooting team in the league (in fact it was the 2nd best 3 point shooting team in the HISTORY of the league to phx in 09-10.) Karl shouldn’t have played Miller all those minutes, but he had a difficult decision as Fournier played poorly in his limited minutes and Stone has zero offensive value. There other issue is defensive rebounding which Bogut killed them. Partially because Faried was either not playing or playing hurt for most/all series.

          You are obsessed with the idea of getting rid of Karl. Ive said all season he is good not Great. Overall there are very few upgrades out there assuming any would be interested in coming to Denver. Just because you can armchair coach and make wild assumptions like Mcgee or Hamilton or fournier would have developed incredibly better with someone better as coach (coach googer?) doesn’t mean that is actually true.

          • googergieger

            “Now this is the last time. Tell me what kind of style Denver plays that allows them to over achieve with their shitty roster, according to you, and tell me how many teams out there have a better roster from top to bottom.”

            *ignore*

            • mike

              Their style of running up and down the court works better in the regular season because opponents don’t prepare as well for 1 game out of 82. But for a series they will put in the time to scheme to take that away as much as possible. Even if it is only 4 points that is a HUGE amount to lose.

              In terms of teams with better rosters:
              I’ve actually done this with you before (you CHOOSE to forget), unfortunately I didn’t save it so I will just give you an abridged version. Teams that have a better roster assuming all teams relatively healthy for the playoffs (where the nuggets depth at 8-12 is virtually useless):
              Unquestionably no explanation necessary: Spurs, OKC, Miami. (Bulls healthy are in this category)
              LAC, Memphis have multiple players significantly better than DEN best and have a supporting cast through 7 that is close to as good (for instance Deandre Jordan is as valuable as any Nuggets big despite his horrible FT shooting). That’s 5 rosters I would rather have without reservation.

              Then their is the next tier which is what the Nuggets are in: Pacers/Knicks (Paul George/Hibbert/Melo/Chandler you can make a contention all would be Nuggets best player and they have decent supporting cast), Brooklyn(2 players that would be best on Nuggets but poor supporting cast) Chicago without Rose. And the team most people (including myself) seemed to underestimate is GSW. Houston will likely move up into this category or even the clippers category if they add Howard or Josh Smith or some other all-star type.

              So that would put them somewhere between 6th and 11th best in talent. I think even without Gallo they beat the Roseless Bulls, Nets and Pacer/Knicks would be a pickem type series. GS strengths in 3 pt shooting and good ball-handling made it a more difficult matchup.

              That’s the problem you *ignore* anything that doesn’t parallel your preconceived notion. Including the reality of the talent of the nuggets.

    • Ackdog

      I think Goog man is right! Karl may be good at a lot of things but clearly as an in game coach and in particular a playoff in game coach he clearly struggles. Denver may want to adapt in what some Aussie Rules football teams do. Promote Karl to a position like “Senior coaching mentor” Hire a young, energetic, hungry, smart head coach. This current Nuggets team is close, very close in my opinion to competing for a title. Ty and Gallo are on the cusp of stardom we just need a few moves(Miller must go), speedy back up point, and a couple of shooters to open up the floor.

      Karl has brought Denver sustained success and has had his “chance” to get Denver to the next level. He has failed and it is time to make a move!

      • Mike K

        I have heard this idea elsewhere as well. Get someone in and let Karl mentor him on parts of his philosophy and then let him work on going that next step as Karl begins to walk away.

    • Mark

      Goog you nailed it this time bruh.

  • leeds

    Here we go with the excuses to keep Karl.
    Heard on radio that is was the players fault (mostly players fault from reporters). WTF!!!

    Sorry but when the coach changes his playoff lineups to go small and gets beat on the boards, that is the coaches fault. a 6’7 guy cannot board with a 7’0 footer (not consistently), plus it tires him out on the offense end.

    a coach’s love affair with an old veteran and playing him about 15 minutes too much each game and watching Curry or Jack score at will by matching that old fart on them is the coach’s fault

    A Coach is supposed to put players in the best position to succeed. The only game he did that was Game 5 and we won (even though he went small in the 4th and we almost lost it)

    Looks, Karl is three years removed from his battle with cancer. it is safe to fire him now without looking heartless. So just do it already Nuggets. We’re not going anywhere with the same crap from the coach. The reporters are too close to the coach to be fair.

    Now they just pulled the not having Gallo card out. Another weak excuse, because honestly, no matter what, we should have beaten GS, period. They were younger than us and came to play. we didn’t for game 2 and that is as much on the coach as it is on the players.

    There is a reason why Game 5 tickets went for $3 here, it is because most fans already knew what was going to happen. we were going to lose the series.

    At some point, his pathetic playoff record has to matter…when will it matter? Apparently not this off-season.

    Another year of the same small ball headed for us next year.

    For fans that think its great to make the playoffs every year and its okay to lose in the 1st round, well enjoy cause we’re pretty good at doing that. We’re not that good at advancing.

    Now I have to watch the Rockies til Broncos’ mini camp. (Thank you Karl)

  • AyKay

    I use to be in the camp of people who wanted George Karl fired. Until someone pointed out how this roster was constructed for him. While I put most of the series loss on him, the problem I see is finding a suitable replacement. The front office really created the roster around his style of play, bringing in talent that can fit his system. I just wonder if we will be as good with a new coach that doesn’t play an uptempo game.

    Sure we won some grind out, more half-court style games during the regular season against Memphis, Chicago and Indiana, but I don’t know if we can get as much production out of some of our players not playing fast.

    • Charliemyboy

      That’s what bothers me. I’m watching Memphis, Chicago, BKN, Indiana, NY; we nailed them. We had their number. No question we were the superior team and used our players better. This should have translated into playoffs. It’s too simple to discredit. I just think we were mismatched with GS and missed Gallo. Simple, end of story. For those of you crying, Mr. Karl will be back in front of your faces, Miller will go or play less, JaVale will come out of the closet and we will get a three-point shooter. Now, go to bed.

    • ryanvdonk

      mcmillan coaches a similar system, except more emphasis on defense.

  • bm12

    Karl only has one year left on his contract. We should keep him for another year, and then cut all ties. That way we don’t have to pay two coaches next season and we’re done with him for good. Statistics don’t lie. George Karl has coached 24 seasons with a whopping 14(58%) first round exits, 3(12.5%) Conference Finals appearances, 4(16.6%) Conference Semi-Final appearances, 2 firings, and 1 missed playoffs. Statistically, Karl’s coaching in playoffs is barely better than flipping a quarter.

    On that note, we need to get rid of Brewer and AMiller to be succesfull. Neither have any ability to make a jump shot, which is even worse coupled with a perception that they should be shooting every time they get the ball.

    Miller is too old, can’t play defense, slows down and ruins our tempo. Brewer can’t shoot, is below average from the corner, and he takes the ball out of the hands of our scorers too many times. His occasional energy bursts and mediocre defense do not make up for these shortcomings.

    I also don’t see us bringing Mozgov back. Javale will slip into the starter spot next year with KK at backup. Randolph is better than Mozzy and with some hard work this summer, he’ll be better than KK as well.

    I’d like to retain Iguodala, as long as his price is right. He seems to fit well here, and he said he really likes his teammates. He brings an excellent veteran attitude (unlike Millers) and he plays awesome D. His O needs work, but he’ll become more comfortable if he stays another season.

    In free agency, we should try to get Kyle Korver to help with our 3 point shooting. He can certainly help in that area, and not be any more of a defensive liability than Miller or Brewer, so I see no reason not to do this. We should also try to find a decent guard to back Ty up. I love Stone, but it doesn’t seem like he can stay healthy.

    How I’d like to see our roster next season with minutes

    Ty – 30
    AI – 30
    Gallo – 30
    Faried – 30
    Javale – 26
    Chandler – 24
    Randolph – 17
    Hamilton – 15
    Fournier – 15
    Koufos – 15
    Korver – 12
    Stone – 10
    QMiller – 4

    • NugZeit

      Doubt Gallo plays meaningful minutes next year. Is he going to have a Rose or a Peterson type of recovery? I’m guessing closer to Rose – though for his sake, I hope not.

      Also, Gallo has historically taken a long time to get back into playing shape after much less traumatic injuries. So even if he can play, I have a hard time seeing him contributing much.

      I’m not happy about that at all, just reality as I see it.

    • Michael

      You can’t have 13 guys sharing minutes, I know it seems appealing but their is no way to manage that many player combinations not to mention responding to the other teams with match ups. Besides 17 min for Randolph is insane and I have yet to see any reason you would want to give Hamilton 15 min a game; both of these guys are athletes that can dominate summer league but far from true NBA players

    • googergieger

      “Javale will slip into the starter spot next year with KK at backup.”

      With Karl as the coach?

      In any case, instead of Korver, I’d rather go after Jared Dudley or Sefalosha. In Dudley’s case high IQ guy, knock down shooter, great cutter, and very smart defender. Great team mate as well. In Thabo’s case he is capable of knocking down a three point shot and is a fantastic defender. Which allows to give Iguodala a lot of rest, and he can actually work in a switch heavy style of defense.

    • bm12

      @Nugzeit – I don’t think Gallo will play until after the All Star Break, but he’ll be back in March or so. That being said, I would expect Chandler to starter minutes and the rest to be distributed among the bench.

      @Michael – Those numbers were approximate season averages, not the minutes for every game since you can’t have that many players enter in a single game per NBA rules. They’re a pretty tight knit group of guys who are all looking for a shot and have crazy talent. I may have been too generous on the bench minutes and some of that can go back to the starters, but look at how much everyone has improved over the last year. With another hard working off season and some trust throughout the year I think everyone on our bench can contribute.

      @googergieger – Haha you make a good point. I’m hoping Javale spends another summer with Hakeem and he is able to focus his abilities better. I don’t know much about Dudley, but isn’t Thabo under contract for another year in OKC? He would be great, but I wouldn’t want to give up anyone but Miller for him and I don’t see that happening. Either way, we’ll be at about 67-70m salary next year if we retain Andre (and lose Mozgov and Brewer), so I don’t see us venturing too far into free agency as I don’t think Kroenke is going to pay luxury tax. Hopefully we can get rid of Andre and that allows us to get someone decent and possibly bring on some draft picks next season.

      • mike

        Mcgee doesn’t need another summer with Hakeem. Hakeem is for skilled basketball players that are trying to add a good/great post game to an already well-rounded set of skills. McGee needs to learn to play basketball. He needs to go to a high school coach. Im serious. He doesn’t have any skill or instinct for body positioning. He goes on sheer effort (which waxes and wanes) and athletic skill. He needs to learn how to box out. How to use his incredible length to contain on the pick and roll. How to catch a ball and go up with it. How to use his length and strength to create space and counter the opponents reaction. How to set a proper screen. How to cut more than once in a set. How to play weakside defense on the pick and roll with good feetwork and recover to his man quickly. How to use his incredible length to shot block without leaving his feet. How to use his length to affect shots he does not block but still end up in rebounding position. How to stop shot block hunting. This is a man that has been in the NBA for 5 years now and has virtually no clue how to do any of those things. Im skeptical he will do that and therefor skeptical he will be anything beyond an extremely efficient complimentary backup big. Because most times those fundamentals that are talked about are overrated if the player is in at least the 33rd percentile, but when he is in the 5th percentile bad at that stuff all the things he does bring are mitigated by his unpredictably bad plays that teammates can’t make up for.

        • heykyleinsf

          Two things on McGee…

          1. He improved in major strides throughout the year.
          He never started a game (to my knowledge)
          until the playoffs.
          I think Mozgov and Koufos are along with Miller..
          GK’s pets.. and McGee.. just isn’t.. brings me to
          another point.. Miller has to go for virtue if nothing
          else.. to get GK away from his nepotism and for his
          habit of singling out a pariah or two on the team.
          One former pariah was 6th man of the year.
          The other a HUGE spark and big fan favorite in
          Miami.. I honestly saw so much in both of them..
          that GK simply let go.. in my eyes.. for nothing more
          than his personality and their personalities.

          2. McGee.. in a physical potential sense.. could be the
          best player on this team if we harnessed and disciplined
          him into bringing it on a regular basis.. up to 35 minutes
          or more a game.. but at the same time.. I don’t think the
          dude is in good physical shape.. his effort and his motor
          are just too inconsistent..

          I don’t agree that he needs to go to a high school coach.
          That’s crazy..
          Dude.. you don’t get a triple double in the NBA and
          suck at basketball..

          I am not saying I am right or right in the middle..
          But you and Goog seem to be polar opposites here..
          maybe just too push each others buttons or whatever..

          • LBJ

            McGee didn’t show any improvement – he regressed. I suspect Ujirir was wondering “where in the hell was the guy that played against the Lakers?” I suspect there was no way in hell he would have given the version of McGee we was this year that big contract.

            High school coach sounds like a good idea!

          • dynamo.joe

            McGee’s #’s are basically the same as they were the last year and a half in DC. He is very productive overall, but inconsistent on a game to game basis.

            I don’t think you could show any indication of improvement, except anecdotally. And a fan from his Wizard days could show you those same plays from his time there.

            But he does need more minutes. So do Faried and Koufos.

        • Charliemyboy

          Very well said on McGee; he will come out of the closet next year. His mom is boxing his ears.

        • LBJ

          Exactly. Couldn’t have said it better myself!

        • Joshua

          That is the best McGee analysis I have ever read. The guy is a tremendous athlete and human specimin but if not for that he wouldn’t have even played college ball.

    • CJP32

      A couple of things with your minutes:

      Ty – borderline all star – 38
      Iggy – IF he stays – 35
      Gallo – wont be back until after xmas – 30
      Faried – only good for 30
      Javale – hows he going to go from 19 to 26, with Asthma??
      Korver – so hes going to leave ATL as a starter and play 12 mpg???

      Also, do people here actually realise that Gallo is a career 41.9% FG shooter??? His shooting has gotten worse every single year since his rookie year! This injury will prevent him from driving hard to the rim, he’s gonna settle for more outside shots.

      So many ‘fans’ here are quick to throw Brewer and Dre under the bus – yet they did a lot for us during the regular season. If Im mad at any Nugget, its Wilson Chandler. This chump plays half of his games with Denver, and was miserable for most of the year then sucked in the Playoffs. The dude doesn’t want to be here. At least Brewer says he wants to stay a Nugget, but I will actually be happy for him if he leaves, he deserves better.

      • Thomas

        Whoever plays Faried less than 35 minutes a game is out of their mind.

      • Mike K

        And you don’t think every guard in the league isn’t salivating at running circles around the 20+ minutes Karl will give him next season?

        I can guarantee that in Karl’s mind absolutely zero blame is going to be given to Miller. That’s a gots-ta-go situation. Period. End of story. Bye bye. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

  • Mark from Charlotte

    Nuggets summer league roster

    AR15,MOZ,F94,STONE,QMILLER,JHAM

  • Chas

    What’s funny is that the New York’s best line up this playoffs has been:

    Ray Felton
    JR Smith
    Carmelo Anthony
    K. Mart (Would usually be Chandler but he’s dealing with injuries)
    and plus an extra wing that’s playing exceptionally well that game. (Shump/JKidd/Prigoni/Novak)

    I bring this up because that’s 4 ex-nuggets that use to play together and it seems like Mike Woodson was able to maximize their talents by creating a system that benefits the players he had.

    GK is great for all the things you’ve mentioned Charlie, but for me, the biggest problem with GK is his lack of trust in his players when he demands so much trust from everyone within the organization. Everything has to be HIS way or HIS system. I’m pretty sure everything we saw in the regular season + playoffs with Miller being a shitty defender and McGee/Fournier/JHam needing more minutes were brought up to him multiple times from his coaching staff or organization. I refuse to believe a multi-million dollar basketball team doesn’t have a team in place to see what we, civilian fans, can see night in and out. One of the reasons why Mark Jackson won was because he went with the players that got them to the playoffs in the first place. I don’t think GK ever started the playoffs with the line up he started with in the regular season. (Yes KK was shit but a lot of his mistakes in G1 and 2 were playing with a Chandler instead of a Faried. He plays much better when Faried is at the 4) Given that he asks so much trust from his guys, he really should have stuck with that in Game 2 once Faried was back. Even if he would have won this series, KK’s confidence would have been COMPLETELY shot to hell in round 2 after a benching like that.

    GK does so many things well but imho, he panics and starts substitution patterns that drive me nuts. You have 82 games to figure out what line ups to use during what situations/match ups. It isn’t rocket science. Was it really that hard to figure out you COULDN’T put Ty and Miller on the court AT THE SAME TIME against Curry and Klay?

    I’m starting to go a bit off topic but my point is that if GK has such a huge influence within the organization and so much trust is given to him with how he develops his guys, he really ought to reciprocate. I still think we would have won this series if we had stuck with Fournier and left Chandler coming off the bench. They were CONFIDENT and TRUSTED in those roles at the end of the regular season where they carried us to the 3 seed.

    IMHO, fire GK or get rid of all the players that don’t fit his style and system, because after 10 years, we sure as hell know he can’t adapt his system to fit his players.

    • Will

      This is a good point. Karl had no patience for players like JR Smith that clearly have talent. Still the Knicks are in the east and I think the Nuggets could beat them with Gallo pretty easily. I’m sure the Nuggets could have won v Boston.

      • mike

        just to be clear on JR: as a nugget he averaged 28, 28 and 25 minutes per game (rounding up). With knicks he averaged 28 and 33.5 minutes per game. His 3 point shooting with the nuggets was 39% or higher 4 of 5 years. He hasn’t hit 36% with the Knicks yet. He played borderline starter minutes and played better with the nuggets. Whether that has anything to do with Karl I don’t know, but you certainly can’t contend he was stifled by george. Part of the issue there is that Melo seemed unwilling to play longer stretches at the 4 in Denver which made it hard to play them much together because they are both below average on defense.

    • Michael

      It must be said first thing, the Eastern conference is nothing compared to the West. IF the Knicks can beat the Pacers you can say the Knicks are better than mediocre. Second lets remember that the Nugs did make it to the Western conference Finals the one postseason Carmelo agreed to play in the post, which came after spending all summer with Kobe in China. He decided it was too much work and stopped going to the post the next year. Between injuries, spending the summer with Kobe and listening to JKidd he finally returned to playing the 4 this year and has had his best season. Coaches have never gotten through to Melo. About JR Smith, he only wins 6th man in NY or LA as the press he got was unreal. We all remember how super talented he was but he doesn’t do any of the things a successful teammate does namely play defense or pass the ball. He can win a game for you and he can lose a game for you just as often which is why he will always be a bench player. Any team in the league could have had Felton or Martin and they passed, those guys are replacement level at this point and it a minor detail that the Nugs are on both of their resumes. The Nugs are better today without those guys than they were several years ago with them.

      • LBJ

        Actually, the Knicks likely would have missed the playoffs if they played in the West.

        Watched game 6 where they ousted the Celtics – looked like it set the NBA back to the 1950s. 27 points in the first half! Andre Miller would have added some speed to the Celtics!

        The Knicks just run isolation plays and watch Melo and JR jack up wildass shots. It will be interesting to see how that works against the Pacers.

  • NugZeit

    Charlie – I appreciate your perspective AND thanks for all you do on this blog.

    I hear everything you are saying and I love watching this team. However, I’m having trouble reconciling GKs decision making with his apparent organizational prowess.

    Here is my thinking – GK has to know that he effed this up. What he needs is a strong coaching partner who will tell him when he’s effing up. Get him to see the light. He’s getting older and mellowing, he may actually be open to an arrangement like this. I’m thinking a head coach in waiting, maybe bring in an aspiring college guy.

    Based on what we saw in the playoffs (and realistically the regular season) GK is surrounded by people who a blindly allegiant, who won’t work hard to convince him he’s wrong before it’s too late.

    I think the team needs a counterweight to GK more than it needs to get rid of Miller.

    Finally, Ujiri has done a lot of great things for the Nuggets, but the Miller trade has to be considered the worst. I didn’t think it made a lot of sense at the time and in retrospect it looks awful. Felton is the perfect backup for Lawson, he’s cheaper than Miller, far younger, a better defender. And we actually traded down in the draft. I can’t see how Miller has taught Lawson anything – seems more likely that he’s hindered Ty’s development because of GKs use of him. Most of that’s on Ujiri and/or Kroenke.

    • googergieger

      It was done to get an unofficial deal for Portland to pass on Faried in the draft so we could get him. Also Felton didn’t want to come off the bench for Ty. So beyond the Faried thing, it was a Felton or Ty scenario.

    • TJ

      Felton was very outspokenly unhappy at playing backup. Ujiri didn’t want that kind of disruption in the locker room. Unfortunately Miller came in and almost did the same thing. No one here seems to talk about that on this forum. Miller would not have been happy playing the minutes that are often thrown around on here. Karl probably played him more minutes than he would have because of that.

    • Mike K

      Then this convo needs to happen if there are no plans to toss Miller out with yesterday’s fish:

      Ujiri to Miller “Ty is the guy. He’s going to play 35-40 every night. You get whatever minutes are leftover. You’re making your money so be happy you’re still here.”

    • Charlie

      The counterweight needs to be Ujiri.

      I agree with a lot of things you are saying. I think Karl needs a strong GM to challenge his personality. Someone who is not going to bow to his years of basketball experience. Someone who can get him to see a different vision for this young team’s future.

      The GM’s job is to stand up and be that strong personality. He has to not only make the roster moves but follow through. He must make sure the team is being played and developed according to the team’s plan – not just George Karl’s plan.

      Masai is young, but he needs to be able to do that. Does Ujiri project that strong personality yet? Is he respected by Karl as an equal? I don’t know but I think he is learning and still trying to figure out how to do the job. He’s young.

  • sn

    I just can’t reconcile. Take out 2 fluke losses to the wizards and t-wolves and this team is 40-1 at home (only loss by 1 to the Heat). We should have run GS out of the building and attacked them on the offensive glass (hmmm… kind of like the beginning of game 6??) Can anytbody tell my why GK refused to use Fournier or JHam in this series? They have the same amount of playoff experience as the Warriors did! It’s a draw at worst.
    Say what you will, but anybody who supports GK after this is kidding themselves. I’ve been a fan for over 15 years, and if this team couldn’t win a single damn playoff series with this roster, it never will (as long as GK is the coach).
    As long as George Karl is the coach of the Denver Nuggets, I won’t watch or attend a single game. I’m sick of this garbage, and since the only vote I have is my dollars, I’ll use (by not using) it.
    DENVER FANS! MAN UP! GK is the problem, and as long as we have the media we do, the average fan will never see it that way. Demand Masai Ujiri fire him. It’s time for a change- anything. Literally anything will be better. Please Denver fans. Rise up.

  • Steve

    Charlie…nice article thx.

    Karl is, at time, his worst enemy. He fights the old fire and brimstone Karl with the new Sit back Zenmaster Karl. He needs to embrace one or the other.

    We can NOt continue to loose in the fisrt round every year. He was out coached by Jackson in games 2-4. His basketball IQ infatuation with Miller makes blind to what he needs to do with this team.

    They MUST impose their will in games, always. By using Miller he is going against EVERYTHING he preaches. Running, Passing, ball movement. Miller is just like Carmelo, without the shot. He hold the ball, too much one on one, and plays horrible D.

    Miller has to go. I congratulate him on playing he game at 37 and his longevity, but when you only play the game at half speed, no wonder you can outlast most.

    McGee MUST play 30 minute a game, for better or worse.

    JHAM/Even Must be played to be our outside threat to keep the Zones at bay.

    Mozgov must be the back up C for his physicality

    Miller/KK must be moved.

    Brewer must be allowed to sign somewhere else.

    Iggy must be brought back at a reasonable contract.

    While it is true we do not have a superstar, we do have a few that Could become on. Ty is almost there, Gallo I still believe can be, and McGee can be come a force.

  • http://yahoo.com prospector

    MASAI I have faith in you brother…. I pray you get resigned, and you get more authority from inside the organization…. MASAI go “MONEYBALL” on this team and force karl’s hand…. Spent the bank on IGGY thus preventing us from signing a washed up old point guard that KARL will use more than MILLER…. DUMP MILLER, I don’t care if it’s for a second round pick… Let BREWER walk… He shot like 23% from the arc in the playoffs…. NICE…. All he does is take minutes from JHAM and EVAN….. BYE BYE BREWER….. Force KARL to build this team thru youth… Leave him zero old man options on the bench… Force him to play IGGY like PIPPEN.. Allow him to play some point minutes… He only almost averaged a triple double when he was allowed to do so.. Groom Stone into a defensive stopper in the backcourt…. The more you play the better you get.. His defense was pretty good despite being completely rusty….. JHAM got punked this season…. For every mistake he made BREWER and MILLER made double…

    These are wishes…. But I am truly scared that we will lose IGGY, STONE, and JHAM and keep MILLER, BREWER, and KARL… And this my friends will deeply sadden me… Cause if this happens we will all know the end of next years story… Personally I think FARIED, CHANDLER, and MCGEE are getting tired of KARL’s BS.. You know messing with their minutes, playing them out of position… I think one more year of KARL will sour these guys attitudes…. There is a reason why so many guys can’t get along with KARL…

    But the whole key to next years success starts with Joshy BOY resigning MASAI, and finishes with MASAI hopefully taking charge of this organization…

  • Grant

    What you saw in the playoffs was essentially what all the “experts” were saying all season. You can’t win a title playing the way the Nuggets do. I for life of me can’t figure out why this team can’t play transition as well as half-court basketball. We’re great in transition but in the half-court we’re a joke. That’s coaching. That’s Karl. It’s like he can’t say play fast but also play smart. It’s like we say that we want you to get out and run and therefore we have to live with you taking bad shots with the lead and even dumber shots when you’re behind. It’s a false choice. They can do both. The Heat do both. This team lacks discipline. Look at how many bad shots were taken in crucial situations in this series. That is a product of Karl’s philosophy. Karl is the problem. Ujiri needs to figure out who’s the solution.

    • Guy

      I completely agree with you. Others on this blog have said that if we get a low post scorer like Jefferson or even a Carl Landry (These are just players that I know are available) we will play like some plodding Eastern Conf. team. This is a straw man argument. A team like the Spurs can play up tempo or half court. They play anyway you want and they usually play it better than you do. I have no idea why we can’t go in this direction.
      Is there some unwritten rule somewhere that if you run you can’t shoot. If you run you can’t have a half court scoring low post man. This is ridiculous. They say it will ruin our style, well right now our style is to lose in the 1st round of the playoffs every year. We’re the Atlanta Hawks of the West. Remember we were one basket away from getting swept by Golden State. Anyone who thinks we have a better roster than Golden State has there head in the sand. It wasn’t Curry & Thompson that won the series for them but 5 or 6 other guys that totally dominated their Nugget counterparts. (Barnes, Green, Landry, Jack, Bogut even Uncle Festus)

    • mike

      umm the difference between fast break and half court offense is VAST. One is based on getting to the rim and finishing or passing to a finisher in chaos (where speed and dribbling are key) Half court is about shot making and execution. It’s a lot harder to make a 3 pointer or 15+ footer than it is a layup.
      In terms of why the nuggets can’t do what the heat can. You referenced it early on. TALENT. Lebron and Wade are both amongst the top 5 in full court ability and probably both in half court. The nuggets probably don’t have a single player on the roster you would say is in the top 40 in half court offense (Gallo being their best).

  • Tonia01

    In my opinion firing GK is a necessity as there are enough evidencies that he is not good enough to win in the playoffs. These 9 years with the Nuggets speak for themselves.
    The lack of any idea of how to play agaist the Worriors was embarassing. At the first difficulty he messed up all the rotations improvvising instead of leading his team. Fournier first in the rotation and then forgotten, Chandler at 5, KK starting all year long and then disappearing, etc etc.
    We need a coach like Mike Woodson who is able to give a real identity to his team: scheemes… players should be put in the condition to make a shot out of a screen not just playing random basketball at 200 km per hour.
    And definitively Miller has to go, any Nuggets fan is fed up to see the old man going around the court like a zombie leaving the team with one player less in defense and making selfish plays all year long.

    • LBJ

      Woodson’s “schemes” consist of running nonstop isolations for Melo. That kinda crap outwore its welcome in Denver long before we traded his ass.

      Melo quit on D’Antoni because he didn’t want to be coached.

      Melo playoff record with Knicks:
      2011 0-4
      2012 1-4
      2013 took 6 games to beat one of the worst playoff teams in years. Likely will lose to Pacers in round 2.

  • googergieger

    Alright look guys, the eastern conference has an asterisk next to it. Good for the Knicks having the seventh best record in the league while competing in the worst conference, but the east is essentially one great team, one really good team, and everyone else. The Knicks are part of the latter camp.

  • HA

    As a Sixers fan, we will happly take Karl as a head coach.

    You seem to not understand. Karl had very liitle to do with the loss. Faried was injured for much of the series, Dre was so banged up that he couldn’t remember a half of Game 2, and Gallo wasn’t playing. The centers on your team are idiots (unless you aren’t wiiling to admit that Mcgee has a very low basketball IQ) and weren’t able to play against the warriors lineups, so it made sense to play small against a team like the warriors. Stop blaming Karl. He took a starless team and developed a system that won 57 games with it. And most of the years Karl took the team lost in the playoffs, they didn’t have home court advantage. So why are you blaming the coach for losing in the first round each year if they don’t have home court advantage. Dre lost in the first round numerous times with the sixers, but I don’t see anyone saying that he’s a choker in the playoffs.

    • Thomas

      Please, please, please take GK. I will be forever grateful to the Sixers. While you are at it, take Andre Miller too – Ymca “professor”. We’ll take Bynum, at least it’s a gamble with a chance of playoff success.

    • mike

      amen. Thanks for bringing some reality to these guys. I think there are a lot of people who frequent this site that have moderate understanding of basketball and are frustrated that the nuggets not contending for a championship. There are a few mistakes Karl makes but overall he is much more a positive than negative both in theory and in game. Saying things like the big man group did great when GS obviously was not playing hard or thoughtfully in the first half and then ignoring the lineup got blown out the first 4 minutes of the second half until Iguodala scored 8 straight.

      Look the team has mediocre bigs with only one having a good shot at being an above average big (Faried) and he has the huge flaw of being undersized to play in the post and he needs to develop a consistent 15 foot shot.

      Masai said before the season that he didn’t see this team as championship quality. He was right. It would be nice to see some of these unrealistic fans take a step back.

      • matias

        I generally appreciate Karl and definitely don’t want him fired. But I will admit that in this series he made some surprisingly bad decisions. Game 2’s adjustment by starting Miller in the 3rd was crazy. We needed a defensive adjustment and he counters with more Miller? And on the offensive end, no way Miller’s going to have 2 monster games in a row. Starting Chandler next to Faried is another one. Ok maybe that falls in the “just so crazy it might work” bucket but he didn’t need to try crazy things at that point. It’s like he panicked.

        Now of course it didn’t help that Brewer and especially Chandler both played like ass- because over the course of the season you could count on them to bail us out 1 out of every 4 games. KK wilting in Bogut’s shadow and Faried’s foul trouble hurt the team too. Gallo was missed immensely. Besides that a lot of the team just looked scared after almost losing game 1. It was weird, you could feel the confidence drain out of everyone when that happened.

        So I’m not going to pretend that Karl messed up but I’m also not pinning all of the blame on him.

        The funny thing is, that the reason we had such high expectations for the playoffs was because Karl did such an amazing job in the regular season. Without him in the regular season, the team probably wouldn’t have broken a franchise record for wins and wouldn’t have otherwise been so good. And they were really fun to watch. Remove Karl and you don’t get a most or all of the good that preceded the disappointment.

        If we had Mike Woodson (lol- someone really advocated that?) or Ty Corbin (remember Utah fans wanting Sloan gone?) this team would have crawled into the playoffs and lost in the first round anyway, and there would be no high expectations to shatter.

  • TJ

    Free throws. I hesitated myself to look at the line stat again today in game 6 loss but free-throw shooting is what lost us this series. I live in Salt Lake City and attended the first Jazz-Nuggets Match-up in person back in November. The Nuggets blew a lead and lost by two, shooting 56% from the strip. That’s just embarrassing. It didn’t change throughout the course of the season either. The Nuggets were 13-21 in game six. In comparison golden state shoot 23-24. When you lose a game by 2-4 points and are shooting less than 70% from the free throw line that is the source of your problem.

    To get to the real point, it’s Karl’s job to make sure his team works on such a simple part of the game! It seemed all season like he never held them responsible for missing free points at the line.

  • TR

    “Therein lies the George Karl dilemma. His Achilles heel is the playoffs, which bring out his worst qualities as a coach and an in-game manager.”

    Last time I checked, under his job title it says COACH. Exactly my point with GK. Go join the front office and have an impact in some other fashion. He is OBVIOUSLY incapable of ever winning a championship, so why not cut ties now before this circus continues? After a franchise record 57-win season, his team again looks like they barely clawed their way into the postseason. If you were to ask me, after watching this series, who the rookie head coach was; the answer is clearly Mark Jackson. When will enough be enough???

    It’s time for the front office to bring in a COACH

    • TR

      Sorry…

      clearly NOT Mark Jackson

  • Ted

    I’ve been back and forth all year on whether or not the Nuggets should keep Karl.

    My first question would be, if we don’t decide to bring back Karl, we need to replace him with someone better. Good head coaches don’t grow on trees. Karl truly cares about this team. I know a couple of the players personally. They respect him. You can hear it in their voices and see it in their faces.

    If you were to replace him, it would need to be with someone who commands the same type of respect Karl does, especially with a team so young and mentally unfocused. Trust me, the respect factor goes a long way in getting the most out of the players.

    I think Karl has the toughest coaching job in the NBA. A talented, interchangeable roster filled with many good players, many athletes, but no superstars. Some other coaches have similar teams (pacers, grizzlies, sixers). However, the Nuggets seem to have more guys on the squad who are not mentally focused than these teams. There are no Javale McGee’s on those teams.

    That dynamic is extremely tough to coach, and Karl got us 57 wins this year.

    However, like the RMC staff, I believe Karl’s infatuation with Miller cost the Nuggets throughout the season and clearly in the series. I like Miller’s presence and he often was underappreciated for bringing a calming effect to the offense. There were times when the Nuggets looked out of control, or close to it, and Miller was there to make crucial baskets.

    With all that being said, Miller’s defense was inexcusable. Having him on Curry at times in the series was such a matchup nightmare. We repeatedly got smoked with this and things changed at times, but not quickly enough. Miller’s defense has to go. Fournier, with a full season, should be prepared for next year’s playoffs.

    Karl should also take blame for the small ball. It didn’t work and schematically didn’t make much sense.

    It’s amazing Karl got 57 wins out of this team. It’s disappointing we exited in the first round of the playoffs. Players like McGee, Koufus and others need to be dedicated to fundamentals. It’s partly on the coach for this, but also partly on the other players to hold them accountable. I hope Iggy, who is our smartest player, becomes our leader in this regard. Maybe Ty as well.

    I, for one, expect Karl back next year. I think it’s a tough call, and in reality we need to just go with the In Massai we trust argument. He’s a sharp basketball mind and deserves our trust.

    As for next year, another first round exit is unacceptable. If we don’t get to the WCF I’ll personally consider it a bust. At that point I would say fire Karl.

    This is still a very young team and lacks the character and backbone of a spurs-type team. I think the blame is both on the coach and the players. However, next year there should be no excuses. It will be their 3rd year together. Everyone will have matured. It’s put up or shut up next season.

    Good luck, Massai. We are all rooting for you.

    • mike

      good and tempered post Ted. I think the comparison to the spurs is doomed as they don’t have the talent to develop that way (they have 3 HOF on their team versus Nuggets have 1 borderline All-star in Iguodala) and using Popovich as your comparison point in coaching is pretty lofty (as in there are 3-4 coaches in the league that have any business being compared to Pop)

      • matias

        Expecting to get a coach like Popovich is like expecting to get a player like LeBron. We have to be realistic in what’s attainable.

  • Henry

    NO MORE TREADING WATER. George Karl will continue to be George Karl. There will be no perimeter defense; there will be no pick-and-roll defense; there will be little offense besides forcing turnovers and running.

    57 wins with this roster was great. Karl did a nice job developing his guys and getting them to gel playing his style. It does not translate to the playoffs, which consist of seven-game series and serious preparation and adjustments. Karl fails that test each and every season.

    If the Nuggets do not oust Karl, we will all know that they are treading water while they should be further developing their excellent young players and a different system to maximize them.

    Come on, Ujiri and Kroenke, you have done a stupendous job managing this organization through the Melo trade. It is time to take the next step. Do the right thing and move on from the Karl era in Denver NBA basketball.

    If you do not oust Karl, WE WILL ALL KNOW WE ARE TREADING WATER, NO MATTER HOW THE REGULAR SEASON PLAYS OUT.

  • CJP32

    Also, I don’t mean to sound negative, but for anyone that thinks Iggy is gonna take a home discount to stay in Denver, you are wrong. The guy didn’t choose to play here, he was traded here. He has bigger aspirations. After the Nuggets Playoff performance, I think he’s realised that he can play elsewhere for a contender.

    • Thomas

      Wouldn’t you? Guy is savvy and says all the right things. Read between the lines and you can tell he is gone the moment any team with small (but real) title aspirations comes knocking.

      This is what keeping GK will do – it will further damage our marketability. For this Masai and little Kroenke are fools and terribly naive.

      • Charliemyboy

        Sadly, why do you think he told Jackson he doesn’t buy in to ‘dirty’ tactics; why was he hugging Curry after the loss; he knows GS wants him. But that’s business. We’ll probably still keep him. I love his intellect and perspective. Overplays a little, but a true solid all star and olympian; those in the know, know. If he stays, Denver will be his team and he will have more say with upstairs and Karl. Go for it Iggy!

  • Giovanni

    Not the answer?

    7 first round exit and three inbound play wrong for the finals..with one of the best talent team of nuggets history…

    Atack the basket,attack the basket,change defense,change defemse…

    In every relation arrived the moment to cut….

    Bring Scott Skiley…
    Fool but he train the team…

  • Nick

    Patty Mills instead of Korver please.

  • Robert

    I see a lot on here about Andre Miller and rightfully so, he is like everyone has mentioned GK’s crutch and he needs to go. One point that has not been mentioned is that while he helped the Nuggets at times it hurt them as well. It never a loud other players to stepup or fail slowing the growth of everyone. The guy doesn’t and will not play Defense. He already made the comment that a team can’t win it all without a Super Star and that tells me and all the fans that he doesn’t buy into this at all. We need to move on from him and bring in a younger backup that will be able to contribute on both ends of the floor…

    GK is only under contract through next season I believe, so he will be back next year and given one final chance to make something happen and show he can get out of the firs round and beyond.

    Brewer it is time to go, your energy can’t be matched but where was that in the playoffs? Iggy needs to return to continue his defense and help teach the rest of the team the value of playing smart defense. It needs to come at a reasonable cost of no more than $12 million a year over 5 seasons.

    I would like to see Korver or Reddick but they both will want to start and won’t come in as a backup for us. We will have to look to the draft or Fournier or Ham to take on that role.

    Magee must start and work out again over the summer with Hakeem to grow even further.

    Manimal needs to work on his post game and jump shots to help expand his game. He has the chance to be a great player with energy to work a crowd into a game.

    In the end we have work to do but we are close.. Lets try to work on those free throws as well maybe just maybe we won’t be the 2nd worst in the league only behind the Lakers (who are we kidding it was only behind Dwight)

    Go Nuggets

  • alessandro

    maybe you charlie have smoked a lot of ganjia.
    karl is a poor coach when it counts and his love for miller costed us a lot.
    If karl will be here next season i hope gallo is traded to a more serious team and coach.

  • Shannon

    What I gathered from the article (specifically your time at Summer League) is that Karl would be better suited for a Front Office job.

    I get the feeling everyone in the Nuggets Org. is on Karl’s level of thinking that good enough is good enough. We need a coach that can not only challenge his players but challenge himself. Karl is just too comfortable for my liking.

  • JetLife82

    I’m gonna go ahead and say that the reason we played better in the playoffs last season was having a stretch 4 in Harrington. This year with no big to spread the floor, we struggled to get into the lane and when the ball was kicked out to a shooter no one could hit from deep. This threw off the whole offensive gameplan as GS just clogged the middle and forced us to beat then from the outside.

    Luckily when Gallo comes back healthy he will fill this role to an extent, however I really think Masai should go after a cheap stretch 4 this offseason instead of say Korver who is more of a wing player. This would create better floor spacing and a better flow to the offense, also meaning that we could keep Miller and Brewer and expect them to become more efficient. Trade Mozgov for a future draft pick and you have a roster spot to make this happen.

    • LBJ

      Chandler was our “stretch 4″ this year – until we lost Gallo and then he had to play some 3.

  • GIANLUCA

    MASAI for me is an IDIOT if don’t fire karl.

    poor Gallo , with Karl’s system have no good % .. and the people of this blog are happy

  • http://twitter.com/xantoniooo808x D3Ntilthe3ND

    This is what I hope gets done in the off-season… This is all assuming Iggy re-signs for something like 4/48.

    1. Ty is the future of our team. He needs a big to roll with. JaVale is one… Should be the future starting center of this team,if anything for the sole reason that he’s being payed 10 million dollars next year. Next, David West… a big that battles down low & can hit the mid range. He’s being paid 10mil this season & should likely be looking for a similar contract as he in a FA this off-season.

    2. To clear enough cap space to bring on West, we NEED to get rid of some big number. I say to get him is gonna require about 11.5. Andre Miller, (5mil.) Corey Brewer (3mil.) & Kosta Koufos (3mil.) Comes out to 11. Corey’s salary gets dropped by letting him walk, & hopefully Andre Miller & Koufos can be packaged with picks for someone making less than 8.
    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=d5lw2yl
    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=d5ac38c

    3. Everyone is pining for a shooter like Korver…While he would be great, why pay him 5 mil when he have 2 solid 3pt shooters in Jordan Hamilton & Evan Fournier? Obviously getting them minutes under GK is a whole different story.

    I’d like to see the roster look something like this.

    PGs- Ty, Evan, Stone
    SGs- Iggy, Dudley/Matthews
    SFs- Gallo, Chandler, Hamilton, Quincy
    PFs- West, Faried, Randolph
    Cs- McGee, Mozgov

    I think a lot of this off-season should be addition by subtraction more than anything with one big key acquisition.

    • dynamo.joe

      West would be great. Matthews would be ok, but you give up too much for him. Dudley trade is pretty good, tho. Keeping Mozgov over Koufos is just dumb. Would be better to sign and trade Mozgov with Miller and keep Koufos.

  • clive

    so karl is surrounded by yes-men… that’s why we need to keep him? sounds like a weak argument

  • Mike K

    One thing that people are failing to note that are in the “give Karl that final year” camp.

    We have a bench of young, hungry players no one, Karl included, knows a damn thing about. He is arrogant and so set in his ways it is a negative. He does not and never will, play a young guy. Masai had to trade Nene just to get Faried on the court.

    When you have to make trades so players get playing time they deserved, that’s on the coach.

    We don’t really know what Fournier can do. We had a glimpse once Gallo went down and a little bit early in the series. Kid can shoot is what I saw. He can drive and he looked like he could play defense. But he’s 19 so he sits rotting on Karl’s bench.

    JHam everyone says is a deadly shooter. How do we know? What can he do in the NBA besides collect dust?

    It’s Karl’s responsibility to develop the talent he’s given. If he isn’t going to use it, why the hell are we even taking part in the draft? Mark Jackson used his rookies all year even if it cost them a few games along the way. You know what that risk got him? A playoff series win because he KNEW what he had and he KNEW how to use them. He trusted them and they trusted him. I’d really like to know how many Nuggets players really, deep in their heart of hearts trust Karl to make the right decisions, adjustments, and rotations to win when the chips are down.

    I’m going to guess that number just dropped a lot in the last few days. It’s time for Karl to go. He needs to take Miller with him.

  • heykyleinsf

    I HAVE THE ANSWER….

    CHAUNCEY BILLUPS.

    Get rid of Miller..
    Bring Chauncey back.
    Chauncey is 6 months younger..

    WHY HASN’T ANYONE THOUGHT OF THIS??

    Chauncey is a free agent.

    COME ON URIJI. IT’S OBVIOUS..

    WOULDN”T THAT IMMEDIATELY RE-JUICE
    THIS DEJECTED FAN BASE????

    • Erlingur

      1: Chauncey should have retired last year.

      2: Chauncey will not forgive Denver for trading him away last time anytime soon.

      3: Chill with the caps, please. I can only take so much digital shouting at once.

      • heykyleinsf

        sorry about the caps.

        Chauncey was born and raised in Denver..
        went to CU..

        If you think Miller is better and if you think
        he hates Denver..

        I’m not going to waste time arguing with you.
        You’re silly.

        I may use caps.. and be annoying.

        But on this one? You lose.

        • heykyleinsf

          But I may have not made my point clear….

          Get Chauncey to play in a reserved backup
          and tutoring role.
          Have him coach from the bench and have him
          cultivate the skills to eventually take over.

          I know of nobody on the planet more perfect
          to do this.

          I don’t know why I am seemingly alone on this.

        • googergieger

          You are arguing something he didn’t say. Billups should have retired last year. He had way too many injuries this year and if he doesn’t retire, he is going to risk a lot more damage. Billups has said he doesn’t want to come back after being traded away. However I’m sure he’d take a job with us as a coach, assistant coach, or something else, in a heart beat. Still as far as back ups go, I’d rather just have Iggy take over the point when Ty sits, than get anyone new myself.

          • clive

            I bet Billups would be a better coach 1st year than Karl. b/c you know, Billups would actually call plays during the regular season so that when the playoffs come around the players aren’t running plays they haven’t ran before.

          • heykyleinsf

            You didn’t get it either.

            Chauncey.. limited minutes..
            maximum leadership..
            inevitable head coaching..

            You can’t expect Ty and Iggy
            to assume FT court presence
            or logistically for that to work
            out even if one of them were
            always on the court.. there needs
            to be another guard..

            but for all those intents and purposes..
            I’m more than fine with developing Fournier
            and/or Stone..

            But we can’t guarantee Iggy comes back
            either.

            Some things are for sure..

            Denver loves Chauncey..
            Chauncey loves Denver..

            The Nuggets/Chauncey wounds can heal.

            He is a free agent.

            I think it’s destiny.

            • heykyleinsf

              I meant Goog didn’t get it.

              Clive your right on the money.

  • Erlingur

    What’s Nate McMillan doing?

    • heykyleinsf

      resting after missing the playoffs with a dismal showing in Portland.

      You criticize me.. and then post this???

      Beyond silly.

      • http://twitter.com/xantoniooo808x D3Ntilthe3ND

        Yo, Theo 2.0

        Chill out & shut up.

      • Ryan

        Nate McMillain isn’t a head coach right now…

  • al68

    Creo que GK deberia marcharse no inspira confianza en PO, y menos inspirará el proximo año despues de lo que ha ocurrido este año.
    Si no se va GK, deberíamos de cortar a Miller, asi cortaríamos los instintos suicidas de GK de sacarle 30 minutos.
    Para mí Brewer es un buen jugador mal utilizado el ataque, ya que se le permiten muchos tiros y él es un mal lanzador.
    Si queremos que progrese Fournier debemos vender a JHam, si Iggy permanece, porque Evan es más SG que PG.
    Debemos fichar a Calderon porque es un buen jugador que no le importa ser suplente si él puede ayudar al equipo y tiene una gran IQ algo de lo que carecemos sobretodo en PO, y tiene mucha experiencia en jugar partidos importantes internacionales, además de ser el mejor en 3·pt%.

  • Charliemyboy

    I cannot belive the whining!! Many of you are reacting and thinking emotionally. Frustration supercedes logic. We were simply out coached for a couple of games and they exploited our weaknesses. Karl is staying; suck it up. Miller maybe yes with less minutes, maybe to Memphis. We whipped ass on every team in league, sans Miami, and could have beat them. Facts. Play the #’s anyway you want; I can too. With another year of development and a couple of tweeks, we will be in finals, if not NBA, then at least conference. Any bets? What back seat crybabies. I know it’s for fun, but Karl is staying, period; live with it; and this team will be predicted to be a contender next year. Watch; have a nice summer. Support boxing or the Broncos or something; go see Ironman.

    • dynamo.joe

      Karl was a bad coach all year.

      Ironman 3 was a mediocre movie.

  • steve

    i want GK fired…i dont hate him in any way. I just want us to move forward. Obviously we will let him finish the last year of his contract which is next year. At the very least i think Masai needs to bring in a defensive minded coach to be an assistant. What about Mike Dunlap who was just fired by the bobcats? He was an assistant before for the nugs from 2006-08. Regardless, something needs to change on that side of the ball.

    For offseason changes…Keep iggy, please. Hopefully 4 year 45 mill or something along those lines. let brewer and mozgov go and get yourself an outside shooter like Redick. Obviously Hamilton isn’t in the plans either. Maybe trade him for a future pick or a package deal. I honestly wouldn’t mind getting a veteran stretch 4. Al Harrington and Antwan Jamison come to mind. Always nice to have a vet on your team that doesn’t need to play every day but can give us something we don’t have. I would assume both could come fairly cheap.

    If we can dump Andre Miller, i’d love it. Maybe a team like Raps will want a veteran pg behind Lowry just in case he can’t stay healthy again. Or possibly the kings behind thomas. Not sure why we kept him for 5 mill per season :( for 3 years. Yuck!

  • Blue

    Okay, two things.

    1) This is not the greatest season in Denver Nuggets history. The top two seasons were the ones in which we made it to the Western Conference Finals. Regular season statistics don’t mean jack.

    2) Why is everyone so in love with JJ Reddick. He is just average. Reddick’s per 36 in the regular season was 36.6% (3’s percentage), 2.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.1 blocks.

    Kyle Korver was 45.7% 3’s, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.1 steal, 0.6 blocks.

    Mike Dunleavy was 42.8%, 5.4, 2.7, 0.8, 0.3

    Martell Webster was 42.2%, 4.8, 2.3, 0.8, 0.3

    And finally, Corey Brewer was 29.6%, 4.2, 2.2, 2.1, 0.4

    Reddick’s 3’s are below Korver, Dunleavy and Webster by quite a bit. He is also below everyone in rebounding, steals, and blocks. The only thing he does better is get assists. Brewer is highest in steals but we all know that is because he gambles so much. I think we are better off going for Korver, Dunleavy or Webster. Go for Reddick if we can’t get one of those 3. Let Corey Brewer walk.

    • dynamo.joe

      Sure his shooting and defensive gambling suck, but he destroys those guys in smiles/game stat and isn’t that what’s important?

  • googergieger

    I think we’re better off going for Dudley or even Sefalosha. Need multi dimensional players. That can and will play on both sides of the court.

  • http://yahoo.com prospector

    the problem no matter who we get is how KARL will use them…. Next year is the final year for JHAM, STONE, and FARIED…. Are we going to allow jham and stone to have a chance to complete for a roster spot??? JHAM may develop into a Reddick type player that can also rebound… The problem is we’ll never find out cause he is not one of the KARL “trust” guys….. We need to go young next year and decide on our direction… Picking up some OLD vets will fall into the KARL trap… He will play the vets all the minutes and EVAN, STONE, and JHAM will rot away on the pine…. The truth is every poster here knows how this is all going to shake out… KARL stays as coach…. Karl plays his “trust guys” all season… We get booted in the 1st round, unless GALLO comes back like a man possesed and saves KARL’s backside… I have lost most of my hope… We will see if JOSHY BOY and MASAI can bring it back..

  • theanimal53

    Great read. I also in a way don’t think firing Karl is the answer either.. Yet. I read a nice article on the Denver Post earlier, and it was about moves the Nuggets should make in the offseason. One move that I think HAS to happen is sign JJ Reddick. We need 3 point shooters and he can help us out big time. Another thing in the article mentioned we should trade for Kevin Love. Here’s the roster scenario. PG – Lawson, SG – Iggy, SF – Faried, PF – Love – C McGee. I didn’t make this scenario up and I know Faried at the SF wouldn’t make as much sense, but if you look at all the other player positions it’s a really nice lineup. Of course we’d have to give up guys like Gallo, Koufos, and maybe a bench player, but this team has the pieced to bring an All-Star to Denver. I’m not saying I love the scenario I just mentioned, but if we could just somehow bring some All-Star capable players to Denver then we could really be going somewhere. Now with Karl.. He’s a headache yes, but he’s brought so much success to Denver since the Melo/Post Melo era. He won’t be around forever, but until he’s gone, we can only get better. Denver has a bright future in this young group.

  • theanimal53

    Also, look at our regular/post season struggles. 3 pointers, Free throws, guarding the 3s, etc. These are things we can improve! We’re not far away from it at all, it’s just a matter of time.

  • dynamo.joe

    Charlie, what you are arguing is equivalent to saying that you went out to dinner last night and brought home some left overs, then spent the night on the pot or staring into it. Now you are wondering whether or not you should eat the leftovers.

    Don’t do it Charlie. Don’t eat those leftovers. I know you already paid for ‘em, but it’s not worth another bout with salmonella.

    George Karl just gave all of us the shits. Stan/Josh/Masai don’t make us eat the leftovers.

  • marcellus

    please Fire Carl today already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Young talent is wasting on the bench with this guy, he only wants to play the Vets… Lets get someone in here like Reggie Miller or some young coach that the players will play for…….. HE HAS LOST THIS TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IF THEY DONT FIRE HIM IM DONE WITH THE PAPER NUGGETS!!! FIRING THE CARL IS THE ANSWER!!!

  • Andrew

    Three point shooting is one problem. A bigger problem is that 5 of the top 8 players this season can’t be trusted at the free throw line (Iggy, Faried, Brewer, McGee, Koufos). This is a tremendous problem and partially why Miller comes in late to get fouled. As good as his regular season was I would not bring back Brewer. We do NOT want Josh Smith because he is 50% from the line. Give Brewer’s minutes to Founier and Hamilton who are talented perimter shooters than need to develop.

    • dynamo.joe

      This is just a failure to understand math. While there are a few players who actually are so bad at freethrows that it can situationally make sense to sit them, none of those players are on the Nuggets.

      A basketball game is 100 possessions. A really good offensive team scores 110 pts/game. That means that on average a team gets 1.1 pts/possession. Which implies anyone who is at 55% FT% or higher IS doing their job.

      Would it be nice if they were above 70%? Sure. Would they make millions or even tens of millions more over their careers if they improved? Sure. Are they hurting the team? No.

  • Natrho

    Not going to lie, watching the Warriors do the same thing to the Spurs makes me feel a little better…also makes me wonder what we could have done if we had advanced. Also makes me wonder if George will get the benefit if the doubt if the Warriors stretch out or win this series…

  • Dave

    Rather than let George Karl go I feel that the Nuggets need to take a long look at the assistants and if at all possible hire George’s replacement a year early and use them as an assistant with understanding they will become head coach in a year..