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Did George Karl Really Deserve To Be Fired By The Denver Nuggets?

Submitted by on June 7, 2013 – 9:46 amNo Comment

When former Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl won the NBA Coach of the Year award after the 2012-13 NBA season, the last thing he was thinking about was getting fired. Yet, the Nuggets decided to pull the plug on Karl’s coaching career with the Nuggets yesterday when they fired him. Early reports indicated that Karl wanted a contract extension and that the Nuggets weren’t willing to give him one. Others later reported that Karl didn’t get along with Nuggets management, who wanted him to coach differently during the Nuggets first-round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors. But regardless of their reasoning, the fact of the matter is that the Nuggets fired a guy who just won the Coach of the Year award—and they made a huge mistake in doing it.

George Karl knows how to win basketball games. In spite of the fact that the Nuggets played the ’12-’13 NBA season without a true superstar on their roster, Karl still managed to lead the team to an impressive 57-25 record. That’s a better record than the Los Angeles Clippers, the Memphis Grizzlies, and the Warriors had this season. Karl also knows how to get the most out of his players. Despite not having a star, he got the most out of guys like Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried. They played hard for Karl and helped him put a superior product out on the floor every single night. And Karl was a great ambassador for the Nuggets. He’s well respected both around the league and amongst NBA fans, and there’s no doubt that he would have had the Nuggets back in the playoff hunt next season. So the Nuggets should have kept him.

Unfortunately, they didn’t. And now, Karl will likely end up in another city next season, coaching for a different NBA franchise. It’s a real shame for the city of Denver. But Karl’s firing is part of a bigger trend that’s taking place across the NBA. Teams are unwilling to be patient with coaches and to trust the master plans of the guys that they hire to lead their teams. They’re so quick to fire someone instead of letting their contracts play out. And you know what? It’s hurting a handful of NBA teams. There are some teams that literally have no shot of winning an NBA championship anytime soon simply because of mismanagement at the top of their organizations.

Are the Nuggets one of those teams? We’ll have to wait and see. They have a lot of talent. But it’s clear that they took a huge risk here by firing George Karl. And something tells me that firing an NBA Coach of the Year is not going to be good for the team’s karma.

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