May 8, 2013, 10:03 AM EDT
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).
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