Skip to content

George Karl thinks Iguodala was Mark Jackson’s mole, still ticked about Jackson’s playoff “tricks”

Nov 29, 2013, 11:02 AM EDT

Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl watches his team play against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of their NBA Western Conference basketball playoffs in Denver Reuters

Denver looked like a team that could do a lot of damage in the playoffs last season – they won 57 games, the players bought into the style George Karl was preaching, and they were a disruptive if not elite defense. Then Danilo Gallinari went down and they were never the same. On either end of the floor.

George Karl is still not over his Nuggets losing to a hot-shooting Warriors’ team in the first round last year. Especially because of Mark Jackson and how he played that series.

Karl sat down with longtime Denver sportswriter Dave Krieger for a fascinating Q&A (you need to read the entire thing), and Karl is still a little bitter about that playoff series — including Jackson’s comment at the time that Denver was playing dirty because a “mole” on the Warriors told him so.

Gallo’s injury took our defense. Say we were above average defensively, and I think that probably would be a good way of phrasing it. And we went from above average to ordinary. We had no versatility in our defensive schemes. Wilson [Chandler] was the only guy that we could maneuver around. And we run into an offensive team that was the best at what we did the worst — cover the three ball.

And then you take your versatility out and you’re playing two small guards that their guards can shoot over even with good defensive position. They took the momentum from us in Game 2, shooting the hell out of it, and Games 3 and 4, that building was, it had a karma to it. We took it to Game 6. It wasn’t my favorite series I’ve coached. I wish I would have done a better job trying to figure out how to give confidence to our offense and/or our defense. Even in our two wins, I thought they were on guts and grit more than they were on good basketball cohesiveness. I think we were trying to find answers quite often in that series and didn’t find answers. And that falls on the coach.

Q: Do you think Andre Iguodala was Mark Jackson’s “mole”?

A: No question….

I thought Mark had a lot of tricks in that series that were bush- . . . I don’t know. I don’t know what they were. Almost high-schoolish. They were beneath the NBA level. And they might have worked. They might have motivated his young team in a good way. You know, he’d announce a starting lineup and start another guy. C’mon, man. You think we’re not ready for that?

Okay then.

It’s not a huge leap to think Iguodala was the mole (which I’m sure he denies when asked). Remember, Warriors’ owner Joe Lacob said Iguodala’s people reached out to him during the playoff series saying he wanted to come there.

Still, it wasn’t Jackson or even Iguodala that won that series, as Karl noted without Gallinari he didn’t have lineups that could challenge Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson properly. That may not have changed even if Gallinari were back, as the Warriors got hot. We’ll never know. But that series helped cement a mythology around Jackson (for the public, at least) that gives him leverage.

Two other interesting things out of the Karl interview.

First, he says he wants to coach one more season somewhere. He wants one more NBA chance. Hard to think he doesn’t get one in the next couple seasons, he is too good a coach not to.

Second, Karl was in part pushed out the door in Denver because he favored playing Kosta Kufos over JaVale McGee. Because coaches have this thing about consistent effort. Here are Karl’s thoughts on McGee.

He came here as a player that played 30 minutes [in Washington] without earning that responsibility, was given that responsibility because they were a bad team. My year with him last year, I was trying to figure out what he was. I thought at the end of last year he earned the right to get more minutes this year but I don’t think he earned the right to be given 30 minutes.

Latest Posts
  1. Warriors sign James Michael McAdoo, Mitchell Watt

    Sep 2, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    North Carolina v Duke North Carolina v Duke

    Golden State also announces signing of Aaron Craft, who previously reached deal

  2. Report: Washington Wizards contact Ray Allen, too

    Sep 2, 2014, 6:36 PM EDT

    Miami Heat's Allen celebrates a three point shot against the Indiana Pacers during Game 7 of their NBA Eastern Conference final basketball playoff in Miami Reuters

    Can’t blame a team for trying, I guess.

  3. Manny Pacquiao works out at Warriors facility

    Sep 2, 2014, 4:59 PM EDT

    Pacquio

    I think the Warriors are pretty set at the guard spot, but he would had some toughness.

  4. Anthony Davis was throwing it down on New Zealand (VIDEO)

    Sep 2, 2014, 4:13 PM EDT

    Anthony Davis, Casey Frank AP

    When big men run the floor hard, good things happen.

  5. USA sails past New Zealand for easy 98-71 win behind Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried

    Sep 2, 2014, 2:01 PM EDT

    Anthony Davis Anthony Davis

    Team USA was supposed to be a perimeter-based team, but through three games the bigs are stealing the show.

  6. Stephen Curry will not stand for ‘slander’ of his Under Armour shoes

    Sep 2, 2014, 12:39 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    Curry fired back on Twitter to someone who made a joke at the expense of his shoes.

  7. Derrick Rose ‘fine’ with coming off the bench for Team USA

    Sep 2, 2014, 11:18 AM EDT

    Team USA Showcase Getty Images

    Rose was originally penciled in as the starter, but Kyrie Irving has been more deserving thus far.

  8. Pau Gasol shreds Brazil at FIBA World Cup (VIDEO)

    Sep 2, 2014, 10:37 AM EDT

    pau gasol spain olympics Getty Images

    This should make Bulls fans extremely happy.

  9. Anderson Varejao, entering contract year, says he wants to remain with Cavaliers

    Sep 2, 2014, 9:59 AM EDT

    Anderson Varejao AP

    Cleveland, now with championship aspirations, may not feel the same way.

  10. Timofey Mozgov not pushing to leave Nuggets in trade to Cavaliers

    Sep 2, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT

    Timofey Mozgov, Anderson Varejao Timofey Mozgov, Anderson Varejao

    Mozgov could play with LeBron James, for David Blatt (his Russian national team coach)

  11. Jodie Meeks wants to bring some Kobe Bryant work ethic to Detroit

    Sep 2, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

    New York Knicks v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    The young Pistons could use this kind of locker room leader.

  12. Ray Allen on making a decision about next season: “I’m not in any rush”

    Sep 2, 2014, 7:59 AM EDT

    2014 NBA Finals - Game Four Getty Images

    “I’ve played 18 years, and the way I look at my career, I’m content with everything that I’ve done. I just want to take this summer and see how it goes.” —Ray Allen

  13. FIBA World Cup Day 3 roundup: Pau Gasol drops 26 on Brazil as Spain looks dominant

    Sep 2, 2014, 12:45 AM EDT

    Anderson Varejao, Pau Gasol AP

    Pau Gasol dropped 26 on Brazil, grabbed 9 boards and even blocked Nene at the rim.

  14. Derrick Rose after first back-to-back in years: “I’m feeling good right now”

    Sep 1, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

    Derrick Rose Derrick Rose

    “I’m feeling good right now. Just trying to get in better shape, get in better condition, so that when I do need to score the ball, then it’ll be there.” —Derrick Rose

Featured video

Will LeBron get booed Christmas Day in Miami?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (3446)
  2. K. Bryant (2489)
  3. T. Mozgov (2480)
  4. R. Rondo (2381)
  5. R. Allen (2309)
  1. J. Embiid (2238)
  2. L. James (2227)
  3. K. Love (2197)
  4. A. Davis (2166)
  5. C. Delfino (2086)