Former Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl took several shots against former Nuggets and current New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, calling him a "conundrum" and blasting his lack of defensive effort in his forthcoming book, Furious George, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Karl criticized Anthony on several levels in one excerpt:
Carmelo was a true conundrum for me in the six years I had him. He was the best offensive player I ever coached. He was also a user of people, addicted to the spotlight and very unhappy when he had to share it.
He really lit my fuse with his low demand of himself on defense. He had no commitment to the hard, dirty work of stopping the other guy. My ideal — probably every coach's ideal — is when your best player is also your leader. But since Carmelo only played hard on one side of the ball, he made it plain he couldn't lead the Nuggets, even though he said he wanted to. Coaching him meant working around his defense and compensating for his attitude.
Karl doubled down on Anthony's lack of defense.
"I want as much effort on defense — maybe more — as on offense," Karl wrote. "That was never going to happen with Melo, whose amazing ability to score with the ball made him a star but didn't make him a winner. Which I pointed out to him. Which he didn't like."
When Anthony and Chauncey Billups were traded to the Knicks for Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov and draft picks in 2011, it was "a sweet release for the coach and the team, like popping a blister."
He also called the trio of Anthony, J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin "AAU babies," noting they were like "the spoiled brats you see in junior golf and junior tennis."
He wrote of Anthony and Martin: "Kenyon and Carmelo carried two big burdens: all that money and no father to show them how to act like a man."
Smith, meanwhile, had "a huge sense of entitlement, a distracting posse, his eye always on the next contract and some really unbelievable shot selection." (Recently, Phil Jackson was criticized for describing LeBron James' advisers and business partners as a "posse" in an interview with ESPN's Jackie MacMullan.)
It was no secret Anthony and Karl had a strained relationship in their six years together in Denver. Anthony requested a trade out of Denver after averaging 24.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in seven-and-a-half seasons with the team, leading the Nuggets to the postseason each time.
The team advanced past the first round just once, however, losing in the Western Conference Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2008-09 campaign.
Karl, a former head coach with the Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Seattle SuperSonics, Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings, has a career record of 1,175-824. He last coached with the Kings in the 2015-16 season. His time in Sacramento was marked by an often-public dispute with center DeMarcus Cousins.
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