Just a couple years ago, George Karl was out of the NBA and fighting for his life against cancer.
Now, not only is he back on the sideline he’s at the top of the NBA mountain. And that’s good for all of us.
Karl was voted the NBA Coach of the Year for his efforts to turn the Denver Nuggets into a real team that played fast, played to its system and won 57 games and was the third seed in the East.
In an NBA where big name stars with the ball in your hands is the standard way to win (LeBron, Kobe, Durant, ‘Melo, etc.) the Karl turned the Nuggets into a very good team — not one with a superstar dominating the ball. The Nuggets had one of those in Carmelo Anthony, but traded him away and instead built a team — one that ran, and one that attacked on offense scoring a league best 57.7 points a game in the paint.
It was a very deep field of good coaches this year, but Karl was my pick and certainly was deserving. He won handily, with 62 of the 121 first place votes and 404 points.
Miami’s Eric Spoelstra came in second in the voting, followed by New York’s Mike Woodson, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich and Indiana’s Frank Vogel.
In case you’re curious, the coaching star of the playoffs Tom Thibodeau came in eighth (the votes are cast before the start of the playoffs).
Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance
NEW YORK (AP)— The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.
Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.
NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.
Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling
This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.
After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverleyin his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.
Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).
Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.
LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim