End of an era: One fan’s struggle to embrace a Hall of Fame coach

I can’t lie. I’ve thought about writing this article for years. Years. After each futile, heartless, disappointing exit in the first round of the playoffs, I was so ready to write this article that I couldn’t sleep. This year was no different. This year I wanted it just as bad as I have for the last several years. And yet, here it is, less than a week since Karl was let go, and I’m not sure I even want to write it anymore.

Every last drop of frustration I’ve ever had in regards to George Karl and his quirky coaching methods has already been documented on this site. My well has run dry, so to speak. I can’t stand his stubbornness. I loathe his half-assed approach to working the refs and lighting a fire beneath his players’ rear ends when they’re sluggish and disheartened. I hate (yes, hate) the way he’s treated players like J.R. Smith and JaVale McGee, who need encouragement and guidance rather than constant berating and punishment. And each new season I cringe at the idea of watching him do the exact same things, in the exact same manner, that got him bounced in the first round of the playoffs the year before: no offensive sets, no defense, blind favoritism, (insert whatever other elementary aspect of basketball you can think of). But above all else, when I look back, the one thing that bugged me the most, that absolutely drove me up a wall, was the inability to criticize Karl — or even question him, for that matter — without feeling like a complete outsider, like a pariah who simply didn’t appreciate his greatness. Because the truth is, although I’ve often written about my strong distaste for his coaching methods, I’ve never really felt comfortable doing so.

You see, Karl was never just a coach in Denver. Not even close. Karl was a roundball deity sent straight from the heavens to resurrect Denver basketball from the depths of ineptitude and irrelevancy where it had resided for so many decades before — at least, that’s what we were told to believe. And if you’d been a lifelong fan of the Nuggets or someone who followed the team loosely and watched the media contrive annual features about his personal health struggles off the floor (which I admire him for overcoming) or how his longevity went hand in hand with greatness (so not true), you would have no problem buying into this narrative. But for fans like me — relatively young, open minded… not used to looking forward to the Draft Lottery each year — this was never an appealing ticket to purchase. To me, Karl was just a coach, and that was exactly the problem.

Saying Karl is responsible for The Renaissance of Denver Basketball is like saying Elvis Presley was responsible for the invention of Rock and Roll. Did he have a huge hand in shaping the direction of the movement? Absolutely. Was he incredibly talented? No doubt about it. Was he the face of the product he was representing? Without question. But was he the master architect of his realm, the man who built his form of craft from the ground up, fine tuning the rough spots and delving into the abyss of his own creativity to return with something unprecedented? Absolutely not.

Karl changed the way people viewed the Nuggets, just as Elvis changed the way people viewed Rock and Roll. He was a catalyst. In the end he may very well be remembered as “The King” of the Denver Nuggets, but let’s get one thing straight here: Karl coached. He did not draft players. He did not execute trades. He did not cajole free agents into coming to Denver (though he may have convinced them to leave!). In fact, the one time we know Karl put his general manager hat on he essentially thwarted the Nuggets from acquiring Linas Kleiza for David Lee because he liked Kleiza’s outside shooting — or something unreasonable like that. So the idea that Karl is solely responsible for the revival of basketball in Denver is erroneous to the highest degree and ignorant of so many other factors, mainly the Nuggets’ change in ownership and recent succession of outstanding general manager performances that resulted in a mass accumulation of talent, the likes of which the franchise had never seen before.

Just look at the list of names Karl’s had the opportunity to work with during his nine-year career in Denver starting with this past year’s roster: Andre Iguodala (All-Star, Olympian, top 10 pick in the draft), Ty Lawson (ACC Player of the Year, Bob Cousy award winner, fringe All-Star), Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried (NCAA’s all time leading rebounder, All-Rookie First Team) Evan Fournier, Danilo Gallinari (top 10 pick in the draft, fringe All-Star… if he ever stays healthy), Andre Miller (top 10 all time in assists, top 10 pick in the draft), Arron Afflalo, Chris Andersen, Al Harrington (Sixth Man of the Year finalist in 2012), Nene (top 10 pick in the draft), Chauncey Billups (NBA champion and Finals MVP, five time All-Star, top three pick in the draft), Carmelo Anthony (six time All-Star, NBA scoring champion, top three pick in the draft), Raymond Felton, Kenyon Martin (All-Star, No. 1 pick in the draft), J.R. Smith (Sixth Man of the Year winner in 2013), Allen Iverson (NBA MVP, 11 time All-Star, four time NBA scoring champion, No. 1 pick in the draft), Marcus Camby (Defensive Player of the Year, top three pick in the draft).

The idea that Karl has somehow squeezed refreshing, juicy, thirst-quenching lemonade out of a batch of rotten lemons year after year is one theory I will never understand. Outside of San Antonio, L.A. (Lakers), Dallas and Miami, I’m not sure there’s been another team in the NBA that’s had more talent flow in and out of its arena doors since Karl arrived with the Nuggets in 2005. Again, look at the list above and tell me Karl hasn’t had everything you could possibly ask for as ahead coach in the NBA. Great GMs? Check. A superstar player? Check two of the list. Leaders? Check. Defensive specialists? Check. Elite 3-point shooters? Check. A deep roster? Check, check and check.

But no matter what the roster entailed, Karl always had excuses for losing when it mattered most. When he had superstars he complained about team cohesion and immaturity. Rather than accepting the challenge of mitigating egos and in turn demanding perfection on both ends of the floor, Karl let the inmates run the asylum and seemed content to sit back and collect a paycheck while appearing disinterested and apathetic from the sidelines (after all, blogs like firegeorgekarl.com don’t get conceived for no reason). And once he finally had the roster he wanted, Karl already had an excuse built right into the structure of the team: He could always fall back on the alibi that he needed a big-time shot maker to win in close postseason games. Of his nine playoff appearances in Denver the only time Karl ever did anything worth noting was in 2009 when the Nuggets went to the Western Conference Finals. But as any Nuggets fan who meticulously followed that season will tell you, it was Billups who did most of the coaching, not Karl.

From an outsider’s perspective, Karl must have looked like a genius in Denver. He racked up 423 wins with the Nuggets, placing him second all time and only nine games behind Doug Moe’s 432 franchise wins for most as head coach in team history. Five of his last six seasons he notched 50 wins. And this year, after guiding the Nuggets to their best single-season record in franchise history, Karl was crowned NBA Coach of the Year for the first time in his near 30-year career in the league. If you judged Karl based on his regular season performances alone, you’d never have any reason to let him go. The Nuggets would have already inked him to a lifetime extension three years ago and would have currently been in the process of erecting his statue outside the Pepsi Center. But in every sport, there will always come a time when each respective league or tournament must agree to crown a champion. This is the best part of sports. It’s why the game is played. It’s called the postseason. And it’s where Karl failed most frequently.

I don’t claim to be a psychologist, but I feel the way I’m built, for whatever reason, understanding the mental aspect of sports has always been my greatest strength. When I watched Karl and his teams implode year after year in the playoffs I always felt it was as much mental as a breakdown of the system Karl employed for his players. Surely the fastbreak offense wasn’t meant to be run in May and June, but watching the Nuggets match up against their opponent was often like watching varsity play J.V. It seemed unfair. It was as if the varsity team (the team not named the Nuggets) had a better coach (not always the case), better players (not always the case) and much more confidence in their abilities (always the case). Sure the Nuggets would hang around for a while, but in every series there inevitably came a time when the Nuggets would just, break, down. It was always only a matter of time. Even in the Western Conference Finals when the Nuggets stormed in as a two seed and were a mere two games away from making the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history, they could not prevent the inexorable breakdown.

Look, these things happen. Teams lose in the playoffs. Even really good teams like the Spurs in 2011 and Mavericks in 2007 (and Supersonics in 1994, coached by none other than George Karl!) get overwhelmed by bad matchups and drop a few they probably shouldn’t. But with Karl, these “bad” playoff losses happened every single year. Every single year. Every. Single. Year. Karl’s eight first-round exits in nine years is bad enough on paper. But when you factor in player-coach feuds, suspensions, Karl’s long history of underachieving in the postseason and a general consensus among fans that on more than one occasion Karl’s teams basically quite on him in the playoffs, it becomes much more than just losing to a higher seed. At that point you have all the scientific evidence you’ll ever need to conclude that George Karl isn’t the coach to take you to the Promised Land. And if he’s not that, why should a team chasing a championship keep him around?

As a way of somehow defending him and fortifying his worth, Karl apologists always had a counterargument to the above thesis. It went something like, “You can’t lose in the playoffs unless you make it there first.”I always thought it to be one of the more lazy attempts to cover his ass that I’ve ever heard, but regardless, these types never seemed to look at the other side of the coin, being, “What’s the point in making the playoffs every year if you know once you get there you’re not gonna put up a fight?” In theory, wouldn’t you be much better off floundering in the lottery for a few seasons with a chance to land a player like Derrick Rose or Kyrie Irving?

For nearly a decade the Nuggets have missed that opportunity. Not that it’s a bad thing — I don’t think anyone is saying they regret the last nine years Karl’s been at the helm. But the idea that perpetually making the playoffs only to bow out in the first round without a fight is somehow better than (A) contending for a title, or (B) tanking it so that you can obtain a horde of star players to again one day contend for a title, is just not correct. In other spots? Sure. But not in the NBA. The way the NBA is structured, you’re much better off suffering through a few dismal seasons of ineptitude than being just good enough to make the playoffs and lose in the first round. Just ask Matt. He’s a Bucks fan and will tell you exactly how awesome it is.

The point is: Under Karl, the Nuggets have been neither really good nor average. They’ve been good. They’ve been the epitome of mediocrity. Karl’s had everything you could imagine in terms of roster flexibility, talent and managers, and it’s showed in his regular season records. He’s had stars; he’s had perhaps the deepest teams in the league. He’s finished as eight and five seeds; he’s finished as two and three seeds. But throughout the roster overturn, Karl’s always churned out the same heartless, disappointing, underachieving results in the postseason. And for the first time since Karl arrived in Denver in 2005 it appears ownership has finally realized: It’s not a player problem; it’s a coaching problem.

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Over the years, Karl has grown on me. Perhaps I finally gave in and seceded that as long as Karl wanted to coach, he’d coach in Denver. After all, the Nuggets and Karl were a match made in heaven. (A franchise haunted by failure and instability meets a Hall of Fame coach who does nothing but win games in the regular season to the tune of an exciting, high-octane offensive assault? Perfect!) I guess I learned to appreciate (or rather, tolerate) the consistency and stability (weren’t these always the euphemisms for mediocrity?) he brought to the franchise. Although I knew every year would bring another disappointing first-round loss, I also had 82 games of pretty fun basketball to look forward to. So, there was always that.

I also have great respect and admiration for the way Karl has handled the many perilous obstacles in his life. He hasn’t always been dealt the most robust hand, yet he’s powered through one struggle after another to continue to do what he loves. His involvement in the community, especially with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and those affected by cancer, is an honorable undertaking that goes far beyond a simple ball game. Karl is a man who’s worked his way from the ground up and accomplished feats only a handful of people ever have. He is truly unique in every sense of the word. He’s a man with great pride who’s mastery of his craft will remain firmly entwined into the minds and hearts of Nuggets fans forever. Though I may disagree with Karl on virtually everything in terms of basketball, I cannot agree enough with the decision he made long ago to help others become better at the things they do, be it playing basketball or recovering from chemotherapy. Karl is truly a philanthropist and because of that I will always, always respect him as a selfless human being.

But without further ado, it’s time we bid farewell to perhaps the most successful era in Nuggets franchise history and usher in a new, and hopefully even more successful one. Though many coaches will follow in his footsteps and achieve a large number of wins (postseason, preferably), Karl will always be remembered as one of the founding fathers, perhaps even “The King” of Nuggets basketball.

Goodbye Karl.

It’s been one hell of a ride.

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Kalen Deremo

Kalen was born in Durango, CO, in 1988 and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a degree in journalism. He's now an itinerant hoping to travel as much as possible before eventually succumbing to the "real world." Aside from writing Kalen likes movies, music, spicy food and the great outdoors. Edward Abbey is his current idol.

Latest posts by Kalen Deremo (see all)

  • Dinosaur Dave

    Couldn’t have said it better.

    • toluene hawk

      I could have…

      • http://Twitter.com/A_Rodriguez8 D3Ntilthe3ND

        Theo? Is that you?

  • Mikey K

    Wow. The most thoughtful, dead on reasoning I’ve read from ANYONE with regard to Karl and his firing anywhere.

    Bravo!

  • tigglon

    I wish Kalen or anyone else would answer the simple and obvious question: Exactly which NBA coach would have taken this Nuggets roster to the finals?

    Heck — which coach would have taken any Nuggets roster of the past ten years to a championship? Which ones?

    The coherence of firing him depends on the answer, whatever it is.

    • http://Twitter.com/A_Rodriguez8 D3Ntilthe3ND

      It’s not even really about the playoffs.

      Let me ask you this, how many games have you watched in the past 10 years?

      I may be wrong, but I’d bet not that many. If you had watched the way George coached & how he killed young players confidence & his favoritism I think your tune would change.

      • Dikembe

        He simply couldn’t be swayed by good play, from his young talent, to get more minutes and when they messed up once it was likely they would get almost no play time the next couple games. SOOOOOOO much potential talent we have just sitting on the bench when Koufos and Mcgee were doing awful in the playoffs where was Mozgov?? He could be a great asset to a lot of teams and we don’t even use him

        • http://Twitter.com/A_Rodriguez8 D3Ntilthe3ND

          Pretty much.

          I get so tired of seeing the ignorance of the “WHY’D THEY FIRE KARL!?” comments from people that don’t even watch the games.

      • Martin

        I’ve watched every Nuggets game since Karl took over as coach & I remember how bad the Nuggets were before Melo & then Karl. I fear this team will fall off & the Nuggets will once again become irrelvant. Do you not remember the mid 90’s & early 2000’s?!?!? Most Nuggets fans that don’t remember those days have been screaming for Karl to be fired & they will most likely appreciate him i a few years if the Nuggets fall off

        • Clive Lee

          right because we had great players in the mid 90’s and early 2000’s and bringing in great players had to do with Karl??

    • Mark Roberts

      Dude, he got embarrassingly outcoached by Mark Jackson. Was this a finals team? Probably not under any coach. But the Nuggets were outcoached in the playoffs every single year under Karl. Every. Single. Year.

    • Riley Dean

      Poppovich and Phil Jackson could have taken some of those teams all the way

      • LBJ

        Yeah right. Neither one has ever coached a team without multiple Hall of Famers – let alone one without an all star!!

    • sj

      I don’t think it’s about the finals necessarily. Its about putting up a fight, just any kind of fight, in the playoffs. At least five of the nine seasons, the Nuggets should have been in the second round at least. They made the playoffs, and the effort/season ended there. Can’t happen with the talent he had.
      And to answer your question:
      Jerry Sloan, Popovich, Thidodeau, Doc Rivers for starters.

  • Ckwizard

    Nice read. thank you.

  • Mark Roberts

    Well done Kalen, thanks.

  • heykyleinsf

    I still don’t know what went down about Birdman. Obviously… he had a lot left in the tank and could have still been here.. a big part of this team.. and maybe made a difference that Mozzy and K2 didn’t.. and maybe never will.

    Thank you Kalen for mentioning JR as well.. In general.. my biggest knock on GK was his favoritism and making pariahs out of those who weren’t. It seemed like a tight group during his cancer therapy.. but it unravelled. I hope the next coach has more of the Mark Jackson inspiration for his players. And we can’t really totally get rid of GK without finding some way and some how to get rid of Andre Miller.

    • http://Twitter.com/A_Rodriguez8 D3Ntilthe3ND

      He got in trouble for kiddie porn.

      • heykyleinsf

        I would prefer you keep your distance from me.
        Please. I’m asking you nice.
        Stay away from me.

        • http://Twitter.com/A_Rodriguez8 D3Ntilthe3ND

          Perhaps you don’t have a very clear understanding of how a forum works…

          • heykyleinsf

            oh no.. I get it.
            You’re a stalker that got in to my personal life.
            This is a place where creeps like you can get away with it.
            I asked the admins to do something about it.
            They didn’t. .
            I am asking you. the one who is being a creep
            to leave me alone.
            You’re a creep.

            • http://Twitter.com/A_Rodriguez8 D3Ntilthe3ND

              You’re like a broken record already.

              You keep saying I’m “stalking” you.

              Cmon. Get real.

              • heykyleinsf

                You know damn well you stalked me psycho. Just go the fuck away. Simple. Easy. Go F yourself. Leave me alone. Stop following me. Get over your obsession. You’re a creep. Go away creep.

              • http://Twitter.com/A_Rodriguez8 D3Ntilthe3ND

                This is the last time I’m gonna speak on this because, frankly, it’s getting old & I’m sure the others here are tired of it.

                I didn’t stalk you. I was redirected to your YouTube page. I have no clue how you misconstrue that as stalking. Now, I will continue to comment & post on this forum as I please & I won’t be censored because of some pathetic insecurity you have.

                So please, grow up & show some maturity. Thank you.

              • heykyleinsf

                Just go away. You are the one who keeps on trolling me… to an extent that pissed me off. WAY out of bounds. Just leave me alone. All is good. I have never posted on anything you said. Pretend I’m not here.. and furthermore.. speak for yourself. I can handle anything about the Nuggets.. I don’t care who agrees with me or not. But my personal life? We’re done. Just leave me alone. Once and for all. I don’t want anything to do with you. Simple as that.

      • sherlock

        There was no kiddie porn dumbass, some underage girl and her mom concocted a scheme to extort Anderson, after she came at him on the internet saying she was over 18. The cops got his computer, it showed what the girl and her mom were trying to do. Get your facts straight moron.

        • http://Twitter.com/A_Rodriguez8 D3Ntilthe3ND

          You know, there’s a way to correct someone nicely.

          • heykyleinsf

            that’s really rich coming from you stalker psycho

    • polynikes27

      The investigation for statutory rape was the beginning of the troubles but the fact that Faried was a younger, cheaper better version of “energy big” is the reason Birdman is gone.

      • heykyleinsf

        I don’t agree.. at least not totally. I was in Sacramento for the Kings game.. and I saw Bird a good 20 feet away from the huddle.. this was Jan 25 2012. He scarcely played thereafter. Something went down we never heard about.. I’m convinced. Yeah, I see Faried in part.. but remember.. Mosgov was still starting at that point.

        • heykyleinsf

          also chronologically wise.. the allegations first came out after the season was over.

          • heykyleinsf

            I see some trash was cleared here.. and that’s good.. thanks.. but just one last thing. Birdman DID NOT get in to trouble for kiddie porn. Complete lie and .. well.. I’ll leave it at that. (most people .. if not all people.. know this)

  • MMZ

    I was pretty frustrated with George Karl in the GS series. He had me thinking more of the 2009 magic was in store for this year after the favorable schedule and excellent play of the team in the second half of the season. To flop against GS after them losing David Lee like they did gutting his team of a season’s worth of confidence within a few games… I’m glad next year will be different, even if it becomes a lottery year. You can only watch sequels so many time before they lose all value. So bummed this last season turned out to be a sequel.

  • airvaid

    Wow this article will be great in about 10 months. When Kalen is writing his thoughts on the eventual lottery pick.

    • sherlock

      That’s an ignorent statement if I’ve ever read one. This team is a playoff team no matter who is at the helm. There will be no lottery pick, so take your BS negativity elsewhere.

    • disqus_mThEJaZCaB

      Aren’t you the guy who was an Andre Miller apologist all year? If you are, you have no credibility when it comes to talking about the Nuggets at all.

  • David Acker

    Great article Kalen. To be fair though only time will tell if another coach can take Denver as far. Thanks for the memories George and good luck in the future!

  • monimo

    Thank you, Kalen, great article. English is not my mother tongue, so it’s not easy for me to fully understand your writing … but I understand that you are an excellent writer with great ability to put in word your emotions about the Nuggets. The description of the stubborn and fiery George Karl is perfect. The hole last season I was switching between the genius of George Karl and his basketball and at the same time the sensation that there will be no future coming playoff time. I’m certainly exagerating with my criticisme, but in my mind Karl has responsabilities in Gallo’s injury – who, by the way is the reason I became a Nuggets fan and the reason I made a trip from Switzerland to Denver and Chicago 2 months ago just to watch three great Nuggets games (wins against NY, Memphis and Chicago). Even if Gallo is my favourite player, I always felt that he had too much playing time and that Karl relied too much on him. An NBA coach should understand that Gallo’s body is a very sensitive machine, coupled with a proud mental. Gallo won’t listen to his body, even if he is exhausted, he will never back down – to me it’s the first reason for all his injuries and a good NBA coach should protect him from himself. Gallo should not play more than 30 minutes per game and perhaps 15 minutes in back-to-backs. Gallo got injured in a back-to-back.

  • steve

    awesome read! Probably the best piece on here that i’ve ever read. Kalen, who is your top pick to take over and why? I think i’ve read before that you weren’t high on Brian Shaw. I think he’d be a great fit. How do you see it?

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com/ Kalen

      Thanks. The thing about Shaw is that he’s been in the mix for a head coaching position for a long time now. Yet, year after year he gets passed up. The dude’s interviewed with half the teams in the league. Why hasn’t he been hired yet? That kinda worries me. If the Nuggets hired him I’d be on board but I think there are better assistants out there to be had. I like Dave Joerger in Memphis. He’s been credited as the architect behind their defense. Memphis has just been insanely good since he got there.

      • http://Twitter.com/A_Rodriguez8 D3Ntilthe3ND

        I’m pretty weary of Shaw, too. Although, I’d take him over both of the Van Gundys. It all depends on the direction we’re looking to go.

        If we wanna follow in GS’s footsteps a little with a Mark Jackson type coach, Shaw would be the guy.

        If we want a veteran guy to come in & develop the young guys, a guy like Hollins or McMillan would be best.

        I’m not so sure about Joerger, though. He may have been the architect of that defense, but can he do anything else? I think we’ve seen in the postseason that it’s our offense just as much as our defense that disappears at times.

      • steve

        Thanks for replying! As far as i know, prior to this year he failed to land magic, blazers and laker jobs. He did recieve an offer for bobcats last year but he actually said no just to go back to Indy for another year. In LA, kobe wanted shaw from what i heard. But they wanted to break ties from phil jackson.

        From everything i read and hear, this guy can coach. Phil and Vogel have nothing but great things to say. Supposedly he flew to see PUl George last summer to tell him that the pacers will only go as far as he takes them and PG followed it up with a huge year.

        I just want a young coach that has great ties. He has a system that has worked in this league. Former player that can light some fire under these guys.

        If we go expereince…. I wouldnt mind Gentry.

  • sherlock

    Wow!!!! I don’t think I’ve read an article, at RMC or any other site, that I’ve connected with more. I feel the exact same way about Karl, from his tenure here in Denver to him as a person. While I’m excited to bring in someone new to put our hopes and dreams on, I can’t help but feel a feel a twinge of panic, fear of the unknown. Karl is a HOF coach no doubt, despite his playoff resume. Karl brought us from the basement of the West back to respectability. And like you pointed out Kalen, we had 82 games a year to watch an exciting team run over some tough opponents Western or Eastern conference. Our regular season success has possibly made us greedy as fans, we want more. No, after 9 years of the same story we EXPECT more then a first round exit. Like i’ve said before, this a playoff caliber team, we don’t need to tank, we have talent, some talent that has yet to be tapped into.

    Great piece Kalen, throughly enjoyed reading it! Let’s GO NUGS!!

  • joefresco

    Just noticed on the right sidebar ESPN video that Doc Rivers is thinking about leaving the Celtics. I’m not sure I see the downside if he becomes the Nuggets’ new coach. I think that may be the best case scenario for us (albeit probably very unlikely)

    • ny nugs fan

      wow, imagine doc rivers coaching this team

      very scary

  • Joel Dean

    A lot of people have been calling for Karl’s heads for years. It actually kind of worked out well because I like GK’s player development and I think he did good for McGee, Gallo and Ty. Now we get real coach to put us over the top. We need to find someone who fits this team perfectly. GK put Miller in on sole defensive possesions at the end of the game. He was on nate when nate drained that 3 to win the game in CHI. He just is clueless, senile or both. I honestly am thrilled at how this has worked out, regardless of GK’s faults he developed a young winning culture and got a lot out of our guys. The shame is that the good Karl is perfect for this team and it’s only the shit that every one of us hate that makes him flawed. More McGee, less Koufos, less miller and more Fournier. Know bullshit Ty, Miller backcourt no more no center lineups. We need to play big and fast and still be able to execute defensively and in the halfcourt. Think how Miami and OKC play. We have the palyers to be able to play like that.

    • http://Twitter.com/A_Rodriguez8 D3Ntilthe3ND

      You think he did good for McGee?

      How so?

      • Poz303

        Yes, he let him make $11 Million for about 18 minutes a game. That’s awesome for McGee but really sucked for the Nuggets :)

        Yes, sarcasm. Hopefully next season McGee can pay the Nuggets back by having a break out year.

      • JED89

        His efficiency definitely went up under Karl. Yes he played fewer minutes but he definitely has been better in Denver then he was in Washington. I think Karl may have hampered his potential development, but there is no doubt McGee has become a better player under Karl.

        • dynamo.joe

          His scoring efficiency did go up, but his rebounding went down and his TO’s went up. I think it’s pretty much a wash.

    • Clive Lee

      Mrs. McGee had more positive impact on player development than Mr. Karl.

  • Nuggz2

    Great read. I absolutely agree with everything said. Something Kalen touched on in this article that nobody really talks about is the mental side of things. Every year the Nuggets play well during the regular season and fail in the playoffs. I have never thought its been lack of talent or a bad scheme. Every team has just been mentally weak. During the GS game I remember Jack driving hard making a lay-up while being knocked to the ground. He came up with so much intensity and his teamates were right there with him while the Nuggets were walking around with their heads down. And the Nuggets were winning at that point. I knew then that this team just wasn’t tough enough to win in the playoffs. Just like every other year. I hope they get a coach who is going to push them mentally and to not give up even after a 20 point loss the game before (watch the Spurs in the finals).

  • Henry Hughes

    Kalen, this is just an excellent end-of-an-era piece you’ve penned here. Your soul-baring is much appreciated. You wrote so much of what I think about Karl and his time with the Nuggets. It hasn’t been easy to celebrate his departure, though it was easily the best choice for the organization. Arg. Ugly. And wonderful. Color me ambivalent, even though I was advocating for Karls’ firing.

    Hope we can all move on by next season. Thanks again for helping with this cathartic piece.

    • sherlock

      Ditto brother!!