With the recent firing of Dallas Maverick's coach Avery Johnson and Phoenix's Mike D'Antoni shortly on his way out, one must ask the question:
How is George Karl keeping his job?
In a league that rewards Coach of the Year winners with the axe, I am astounded that Karl has been able to stay with his defensively challenged ball club.
Fresh off a clean sweeping from the Lakers, the Nuggets found themselves in familiar territory: at home. Not only at home, but at home after not making it to the second round for the fourth consecutive year. Now, the West was indeed incredibly tough, so it'd be easy to give Karl a pass. But looking at this team, there is no reason why they should be scrapping just to get the 8th seed. They have two of the top five scorers in the league in Melo and Iverson, defensive player of the year in 2007 in Marcus Camby, Kenyon Martin, Linas Kleiza, J.R. Smith...
You know the players. You know their potential. That starting lineup should be able to hang with anyone else's in the league, but for one reason or another, this team has not come together. After acquiring Iverson from the 76ers last season and getting knocked out of the first round, I figured A.I. just needed time to get acclamated to team. A time to gel.
I'm still waiting.
This isn't a bomb George Karl session. The man is a solid coach. He's proved it over the years during his stints in Milwaukee and Seattle. He has an incredible offensive mind. But this team needs a defensive identity. Maybe a defensive make-over. Camby is a more than capable defender, but he can't guard all five positions. And you can't fire the players.
In a league that just fired a coach who led his team to the NBA Finals only two years ago, that's seen Rick Carlisle win Coach of the Year only to be fired the very next season, it is time to part ways with Furious George.
If not, we'll discuss this again next season--right around this time.