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).
Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.
Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.
Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.