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.
This hauntingly apt delineation of human desire was uttered by the titular anti-hero of “Mad Men,” Don Draper, in a not-so-subtle metaphor for his own perpetuating unhappiness. For those who don’t watch, “Mad Men” is an AMC show that chronicles the death rattle of 1960’s culture through the eyes of either growing chameleonic or increasingly obsolete admen. It doubles, however, as commentary on the timeless endeavors of the human experience, one being the endless pursuit of happiness. Don, like nearly all the characters on “Mad Men,” suffers from perpetual disillusionment with his own status quo. No matter where he is in his life he always wants more, and the crux of the show revolves around life returning him with regressing amounts of less. His continuous failure to stop and be content where he is sends him careening toward a progressively vacant, self deprecating, and most of all, unhappy existence.
What. Just. Happened?
It’s been over 12 hours since news first broke of Karl’s firing and I’m still not entirely convinced this isn’t all some crazed, sports-obsessed dream. After all, I was bedridden yesterday due to food poisoning and I could have sworn I was delusional for at least a few minutes. These things happen, right? People enter trance-like states for extended periods on a regular basis… don’t they? Can someone pinch me? PLEASE?!?!
In an off-season that started with discussions of George Karl’s future before rapidly shifting to the future of Masai Ujiri everything has now suddenly come full circle as Yahoo! has reported the firing of George Karl.
According to the report the main reasoning was that Karl was adamant on getting a contract extension before the start of the season while the Nuggets brass was unwilling to work one out with the murky front office future ahead.
From the Yahoo! piece:
With one year left on his contract, Karl was pushing for a contract extension and ownership was unwilling to make the commitment. With a sense that Denver could be facing a year of acrimony with the 2012-’13 NBA Coach of the Year, CEO Josh Kroenke decided to part ways with Karl.
For Kroenke, this was a bold move for the franchise, but multiple sources said that Karl had been so unhappy about going into the final year of his contract without a new deal that things could’ve become untenable with him.
Nuggets management believes it can attract an elite coach with its talented, young roster.
One would assume based on the timing of the move that the Nuggets are going to throw themselves right into the running for Brian Shaw and possibly Lionel Hollins, the two biggest name coaches on the market at the moment.
What it does though is leave the future of the team and most of its members, brought in to play to Karl’s specific system, up in the air. The biggest question mark in that regard is now Andre Iguodala.
Will he still consider the Nuggets, now in the market for a new GM and head coach, or will he move on to a place with much more structure and consistency?
Obviously stay tuned here at Roundball Mining Company for more reaction.
The story of Kenneth Faried’s career is a very interesting one.
Despite being the all-time leading rebounder in modern-day NCAA history, Faried fell all the way the 22nd pick in the 2011 NBA draft where the Nuggets scooped him up.
The reasons he fell were well documented; he was undersized, lacked an offensive game, and was an average finisher. But he also had some huge strengths; the rebounding prowess, the motor and his incredible athleticism.
He ended up in the perfect situation in Denver, a place where he was asked to rebound and run the floor, things he did very well. Because of that he burst on the scene as a rookie with highlight after highlight. He also captured peoples’ hearts and imagination; I have seen projections from various Nuggets followers that call him a future All-Star, a superstar and even Dennis Rodman 2.0.
But 2012-2013 should temper those expectations just a bit and raise a very interesting, and difficult, decision for George Karl and whoever runs the Nuggets front office going forward.
Is Faried better utilized as a sixth man?
Masai Ujiri leaving the Denver Nuggets has the potential to be one of the most devastating franchise decisions the Kroenke family has ever made. Conversely, the Nuggets might hire the next Masai Ujiri and be just fine. Either way, the decision to let him speak with the Raptors and ultimately sign with his former Canadian squad said something about the Nuggets as a franchise. It said something about the Kroenkes and it said something about the order of the Nuggets’ priorities. Our writers have a few ideas about what that something is, which we’ve laid out below in our latest Roundball Roundtable.
According to ESPNLA.com’s Ramona Shelburne, current Nuggets head coach and reigning NBA Coach of the Year, George Karl, might be on the hot seat. Per Shelburne:
Denver Nuggets coach George Karl’s status has become “unsettled” following the departure of general manager Masai Ujiri for the Toronto Raptors, two sources close to the situation said late Saturday night.
Karl, who was named the NBA’s coach of the year following the Nuggets’ 57-win season, is not in any imminent danger of losing his job, the sources stressed. But Ujiri’s departure, coupled with Denver’s disappointing first-round playoff exit, has shaken things up in Denver to the point that Karl, who is under contract for just one more season, could, incredibly, begin the season on the hot seat after winning the league’s top coaching honor for the first time in his long career, instead of beginning extension talks.
This is somewhat surprising news. Throughout nearly a decade the Nuggets roster has been totally transformed. The front office has repeatedly switched personnel. Yet with each new season George Karl has remained head coach. When Masai Ujiri first came on as general manager of the Nuggets, rumors swirled that he was unhappy with Karl, yet a few months later he inked him to a potential six-year extension. Now, after only several days since Ujiri departed the Nuggets, rumors are again swirling that Karl’s position with the franchise is less than 100 percent secure. Of course, the fact the Clippers recently inquired about Karl certainly helps expedite this speculation; nevertheless, one can’t help but wonder which high-ranking Nuggets officials are more fans of Karl than others.
In the midst of the agonizing Masai Ujiri drama Nuggets fans are forced to endure, reports have surfaced that the Los Angeles Clippers have taken notice of none other than Denver head coach George Karl. After getting rid of Vinny Del Negro, the Clippers are looking for a new head coach, and while Karl is not at the top of the team’s wish list, they are allegedly considering asking the Nuggets for permission to talk with Karl.
As the 2012-2013 NBA calendar winds down we take a look at the season that was for the Denver Nuggets, starting with an overview of the offense.
The Nuggets finished with the fifth-best offense of the 2012-2013 season in terms of offensive efficiency. It was a record setting year with Denver securing a franchise-best 57 wins and the most points in the paint scored in a season in NBA history. Denver has now had a top five offense for five years in a row, but their fall to fifth represents a decline from last year’s third-ranked team and the league-leading Nuggets offense of two seasons ago.
If we dig a bit deeper we see the effects of horrendous shooting from the perimeter and the free-throw line reflected in the Nuggets True Shooting percentage, which fell all the way to 54.9% this season. While that is a solid figure good for 7th in the NBA, it’s also the Nuggets worst mark since the 2006-2007 season and rather pedestrian compared to what they did with similar talent in years past.
The Nuggets were still the Nuggets this season, but the offense clearly took a step back despite everyone’s best efforts to reorganize as a sturdier defensive unit under Iguodala (and the defense did improve). Denver scored enough points to win most games but it was on the offensive end where the Nuggets saw most of their flaws exposed, both with the roster and the style of play.
It’s pretty remarkable that a team with no shooters and inexperienced, unskilled big men still managed a top five offense and 57 wins. Looking at the numbers it’s clear the Nuggets had a plan to maximize what they do best and executing that consistently covered up many individual flaws. I took a look at what else can be gleamed from the Nuggets offensive numbers this past season and here are five revelations, if you will, as we wait to see how the Nuggets try to improve in the draft, free agency and beyond.
For the third year in a row Roundball Mining Company has arranged an off-season priority list for the Denver Nuggets. The following items are arranged from least to most important. They are moves which the Nuggets would greatly benefit from, yet none are mandatory. After winning 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year, it’s safe to assume Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri will do everything in his power to improve the Nuggets once again — that is, as long as he’s still around.
UPDATE: Just minutes after posting this, it was announced on the official Denver Nuggets Twitter feed (@DenverNuggets) that Ujiri has officially won the Executive of the Year award. More details at Nuggets.com here.
Benjamin Hochman (@nuggetsnews) of DenverPost.com has reported that just on the heels of George Karl winning Coach of the Year, Masai Ujiri will also receive a prestigious NBA honor by being named 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year: (more…)
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.
“By the end of the 2003 baseball season I had learned something from publishing Moneyball. I learned that if you look long enough for an argument against reason you will find it.” — Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
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?
Denver got up big early and held on late to win the first of three straight elimination games, thanks to a dominant effort by Andre Iguodala who scored 25 points and added 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and a block. Denver also got good games from Wilson Chandler and Ty Lawson among others.