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Old 05-06-2013, 01:32 PM   #337
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Mid-Atlantic
Posts: 32,546

Q: Can we blame George Karl for the fact that every George Karl team falls apart in the playoffs?

Of course not. You can't forgot that (a) the 2013 Nuggets overachieved, and (b) he was probably the biggest reason. And he's been an inspiring human-interest story, to say the least. I don't know anyone who isn't rooting for George Karl.

With that said

Karl's teams have usually fallen apart in the playoffs, with three exceptions: the 2001 Bucks (screwed in the Eastern finals by comically one-sided officiating), 1996 SuperSonics (took MJ's Bulls to six) and 1993 Sonics (lost in seven to Phoenix in the infamous 64-FT game). He's lost in the first round 10 of the past 12 times. He's one of two coaches who lost in Round 1 as a no. 1 seed (in '94). He's lost 34 of 53 playoff games in Denver. For his career, he has a .599 winning percentage in the regular season and a .424 winning percentage in the playoffs. He couldn't make it work with three high-profile stars in their primes: Shawn Kemp, Ray Allen and Carmelo Anthony (all of whom ended up leaving). He even presided over USA Basketball's loathsome collapse at the 2002 World Championships.

And look, a lot of this stuff is circumstantial you can't hang it on Karl that he's never coached a top-25 all-timer at any point of his career, that Shawn Kemp lost his marbles, that he's had bad luck with officiating, even that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time in 2002. Give him the 2000 Lakers or the 1992 Bulls and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have screwed things up. But there's always been a myth that he's one of THE best coaches, which just doesn't hold water a great example was what happened in 2009, when a quality Denver team was tied at two with a beatable Lakers team in the Western Finals, then inexplicably turtled in Game 5 and Game 6 (at home, no less). Historically, he's on the same level as Rick Adelman, Don Nelson and other very good coaches who weren't quite great. He never had his "Carlisle in 2011" or "Brown in 2004" moment. It just never happened. That has to mean something, right?
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