George Karl: Coach of the Year or One of Four Choices?
On Wednesday, George Karl won his first Coach of the Year award in his 25 year career. Steering the Denver Nuggets to 57 wins, Karl deserved the prestigious award over three other well deserving candidates. The question is whether or not Karl should have won, but rather was it just a matter of picking between four names?
If you look down to South Beach, the Miami Heat were once again the best team from start to finish. Erik Spoelstra coached the Heat to an NBA best 66 wins, including a massive winning streak, which almost made NBA history. Yes, I agree when the critic says, it is easy to be a coach when you have Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh on the floor together. The job as the coach is indeed to align those stars, and put a system in place for them to succeed together. Despite constant critics, Spoelstra deserves some credit.
With the lights shining brightest in the city that never sleeps, expectations were high on the New York Knicks all season. Since coming in last season, Mike Woodson has installed defense into the minds of the Knicks. Despite the Knicks forever being known as an offense first team, there is no way New York becomes the two seed in the Eastern Conference without Woodson’s stress on the defensive end. To Woodson’s credit was the transformation of JR Smith. After convincing Smith to drive to the basket more and playing harder on the defensive end, JR found himself holding the 6th man of the year award. Woodson did some great things this year and could have been chosen as well.
Gregg Popovich, who seems to be in the conversation every year, was once again a front runner. Popovich may be the most consistent coach in the history of basketball. Leading the aging San Antonio Spurs to 58 wins and the second seed in the West, Popovich faced hardships all year. With major injuries occurring to Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, Popovich managed to help Tim Duncan regain his form from years ago. Managing Duncan’s minutes and ailing Parker and Ginobili’s Gregg Popovich got the best effort he could out of his entire rotation. The same old Spurs were led by the same old coach. That old coach could have easily won the award this year.
Despite great coaching efforts by Spoelstra, Woodson, and Popovich, George Karl was as deserving as the rest. Karl was the only coach of the four who did not have a star player to lean on. This forced Karl to stress the concept of “team,” in what many see as a, “me” sport. Without a bonafide superstar, Karl coached the Nuggets to an impressive 24-4 record after the all-star break. What may have won Karl the award though, is the fact that the Denver Nuggets only lost 3 games at home all year.
This year you could not have gone wrong with any of the four above, but at the end of the day George Karl is this year’s coach of the year.