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Marlowe: George Karl making case for Coach of the Year

Nuggets coach enjoying one of his best seasons with NBA's third-youngest team

Nuggets coach George Karl is getting the most out of his players as Denver steams toward the postseason.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images

Voting for NBA Coach of the Year is a tricky proposition.

Is it the coach of the team with the best record? Is it the coach of the team with the biggest improvement from last season to this season?

I say it’s the coach that does the most with the talent he has available.

That’s why George Karl should be named NBA Coach of the Year.

First, let’s look at the accomplishments of the Denver Nuggets at this point in the season.

The Mile High Crew is 45-22, 23 games over 500. This is one of it’s best records in franchise history after 67 games. They are now percentage points behind Memphis for the No. 4 seed in the West.

After beating the Grizzlies on Friday night, they have won 11 consecutive games – their longest win streak since 1983. One more and they tie the Nuggets franchise record. They have won 15 straight home games, and at 30-3 overall, they have a chance to establish their best home record ever.

Denver is also undefeated in March, with an 8-0 record.

One other statistical tidbit: the Nuggets have the advantage or have already won the season series against six of the other seven current playoff teams in the Western Conference – the Oklahoma City Thunder (2-1), Clippers (2-1), Grizzlies (3-1), Golden State Warriors (3-1), Houston Rockets (3-0) and L.A. Lakers (3-1).

Denver is 1-1 against. the San Antonio Spurs and has a chance to take the lead in the seires with a win in the Alamo City later this month.

Now back to my proposal. The NBA Coach of the Year should be the coach that does the most with the talent available.

With that in mind, let’s examine the other candidates:

Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat does a great job. His team is 50-14, has won 21 straight, and boasts the best record in the league. He also has the best talent in the league with MVP LeBron James and perennial All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He also has Ray Allen, one of the greatest shooters in NBA history.

Gregg Popovich of the Spurs always has his team in contention. This season the Spurs are 50-16 – tops in the West. But Pop has been fortunate; he has three future Hall of Famers on his roster in Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili!

The Thunder’s Scott Brooks was the 2010 NBA Coach of the Year. He is lucky to have scoring leader Kevin Durant, All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, and last year’s top league shot blocker Serge Ibaka.

Vinny Del Negro, coach of the Clippers, has the league’s best point guard Chris Paul, All-Star forward Blake Griffin, former NBA Champion Chauncey Billups, and leading Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jamal Crawford.

Finally, Memphis coach Lionel Hollins deserves kudos for his work this season. But he has two All-Stars in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, and the Nuggets have already beaten the Griz three times.

You get the idea. Those coaches are blessed because their teams are loaded!

Meanwhile, Denver Nuggets Coach George Karl counters with “teamness”.

No superstars, no stars (although Ty Lawson is on his way); just an ensemble cast of characters playing their butts off and getting the job done.

George Karl is getting the most bang for his buck from the Denver Nuggets. His team is hot at just the right time, with the playoffs just around the corner.

He has my vote for NBA Coach of the Year.


Chris Marlowe is in his ninth year as the play-by-play voice for the Nuggets on Altitude. He is a longtime broadcaster who also served as the captain of the gold media-winning U.S. Olympic volleyball team in 1984.