According to Philly.com’s John Mitchell, the Denver Nuggets are “believed to be interested in promoting [Melvin] Hunt to replace George Karl.” Mitchell is also reporting the 76ers are interested in Hunt for their current head coaching vacancy. This is the first time Hunt’s name has been mentioned in connection with Denver’s search for a new head coach since George Karl was fired last week.
Hunt has been a longtime fan (and blogger) favorite within the Nuggets community. He was considered Karl’s top assistant throughout his tenure in Denver and often gave lively interviews when confronted by the media. Though he’s never been a head coach in the NBA, Hunt has always carried himself professionally and is well respected throughout the league. He’s known most for his player development and was largely credited for assisting JaVale McGee with maturing on the floor since coming to Denver.
Reaction: This is great news. Hunt is the exact type of guy Denver should be looking at. Though he’s unproven, Hunt has always come off as head coaching material. Charlie had a chance to talk to him extensively last summer and had nothing but praise for him. I also met him this past year at Nuggets practice and came away impressed. He could not have been more polite and informative.
As I stated several days ago, this is an incredibly important juncture in Nuggets history, for obvious reasons. The Nuggets next head coach cannot be an average, run-of-the-mill type of guy. You cannot fire a future Hall of Famer and follow it up by hiring a mediocre NBA head coach. The Nuggets absolutely must come away with a defensive-minded coach that management can build around for years to come. A young, up-and-coming assistant who could grow with the Nuggets’ already young roster would fit the bill best.
If Hunt turns out meet the above description, let’s just hope Josh Kroenke has the ability to see it. Hiring from in house would be ideal and something fans could hop on board with immediately.