After a historic 57-win season including a franchise record 15 straight wins, George Karl has become the recipient of the Red Auerbach Trophy for 2012-13 NBA Coach of the Year. Karl received 62 first place votes followed by the Miami Heat’s Eric Spoelstra with 24. Mike Woodson and Greg Popovich finished third and fourth respectively. Karl becomes the second Nuggets coach in history to win this award after Doug Moe took home the honors in 1987-88.
After failing to advance past the first round as a three seed many Nuggets fans have been focusing on the negative aspects of the latter half of this season, including myself. This award should serve as a reminder for just how incredible the 2012-13 Denver Nuggets regular season really was. I think I speak for most everybody when I say Karl and his squad totally outdid themselves in the regular season. Breaking the Nuggets all-time single-season wins mark of 54 games was one thing, but beating that record by three full games was simply phenomenal — as was the 15-game win streak… and the franchise record 38 wins at home… and pretty much everything else that happened in the regular season.
Earlier in the year when asked how he felt about winning Coach of the Year, Karl responded jokingly saying, “I’m not sure I want that legacy,” and continued by asking, “Have you seen what happens to guys who win coach of the year?” Karl was referring to the recent trend of Red Auerbach Trophy Award winners to be fired the year after taking home Coach of the Year honors. The list includes Avery Johnson after the 2005-06 season, Sam Mitchell after 2006-07, Byron Scott after 2007-08 and Mike Brown after 2008-09. It should be noted, however, that Karl’s contract expires at the end of next season. He still has three more years of single-season options after that, but if the Nuggets did decide to let him go (say, after another first-round loss, for example) he wouldn’t technically have been fired.
But, of course, this is all speculation. The future is still wide open and for all we know Karl could steer the Nuggets to another Western Conference Finals appearance — which would be much needed. In the meantime, this award serves as a fitting reminder for just how incredible the 2012-13 Nuggets season truly was.
Congratulations, Coach Karl.
You deserved it.