Nov 29, 2013, 11:02 AM EDT
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?
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.
Jul 10, 2014, 1:25 AM EDT
Rockets have 72 hours to match
Jul 10, 2014, 12:08 AM EDT
Flip Saunders has been patient all along, that’s not changing now.
Jul 9, 2014, 11:26 PM EDT
Toronto keeping core together from successful 2013-14 team
Jul 9, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
Does that bode better for Heat or Cavaliers?
Rockets can’t keep Dwight Howard, James Harden and Chandler Parsons and give Chris Bosh max contract
Jul 9, 2014, 10:32 PM EDT
Has Bosh decided on signing with Houston if LeBron James leaves Heat anyway?
Jul 9, 2014, 9:34 PM EDT
Is any of this really helping Sterling’s case? Who knows. But it’s great drama.
Jul 9, 2014, 8:59 PM EDT
Former Pistons coach Lawrence Frank, former Bucks coach Larry Drew could follow
Jul 9, 2014, 8:25 PM EDT
Scott has always been the frontrunner.
Jul 9, 2014, 7:50 PM EDT
What’s next for LeBron, Cavaliers and Heat?
Jul 9, 2014, 7:08 PM EDT
Houston would have 72 hours to match max or near-max offer
Jul 9, 2014, 6:40 PM EDT
Popovich used to joke he was leaving when Duncan does, but he’s having fun now.
Jul 9, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT
LeBron James’ max: $118,705,300 over five years
Carmelo Anthony’s max: $129,135,810 over five years
Jul 9, 2014, 6:07 PM EDT
It’s a real long shot, but if the Cavs actually land LeBron they should swing for the fences.
Jul 9, 2014, 5:28 PM EDT
The NBA business is good.
Jul 9, 2014, 4:05 PM EDT
He was never really in the mix to join LeBron anywhere, the two hadn’t been talking.
Charlie Villanueva launches ‘Crossroads’ webisode series documenting his free agency experience (VIDEO)
Jul 9, 2014, 3:27 PM EDT
Eight-part video blog series takes you behind the scenes.
Jul 9, 2014, 2:47 PM EDT
Maybe this isn the first domino of free agency, the question is what way it falls.
Jul 9, 2014, 2:11 PM EDT
A move from Miami to Cleveland, for example, wouldn’t be so bad.
Jul 9, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT
The Pelicans need help at the three, Howard trying to prove he can still help at age 34.
Jazz expected to match Hornets’ max contract offer to Gordon Hayward, which is absolutely the right decision
Jul 9, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT
Small market teams like Utah and Charlotte don’t have much of a choice.
- Reports: LeBron James and agent done meeting with teams 46
- Rockets can’t keep Dwight Howard, James Harden and Chandler Parsons and give Chris Bosh max contract 35
- Donald Sterling in court calls wife “pig,” promises to sue NBA “until I die” 28
- Report: LeBron James leaves meeting with Pat Riley without committing to Heat 82
- Report: Mavericks shake up Rockets’ free-agent plans, agree to offer sheet with Chandler Parsons 36
- Gregg Popovich agrees to extension with Spurs, likely stays past Tim Duncan era 26
- Report: Cavaliers want to swing Kevin Love trade if LeBron James comes to town 49
- NBA salary cap jumps nearly $5 million next year to $63 million, luxury tax line $76.8 million 7