Despite currently holding the second seed in the tough Western Conference, George Karl laughed off the idea that the Nuggs have a shot at winning the title. Is this just some underdog tactic played by a coach? Does he truly believe that? If I was on his roster, I sure as hell would believe I could be hoisting the Larry O’Brien come June. It has nothing to do with the Nuggets’ 15 players; it has to do with being an athlete. The best think they’re the best, or if they haven’t reached the top, they think at some point, they will be the best. I get the feeling a champion like Chauncey Billups has a very different view than his head coach; again, unless we’re all having the wool pulled over our eyes by the jolly Karl. Denver head coach, George Karl, joined the Dan Patrick Show to discuss his playoff aspirations (or lack thereof), what has gone right with his team, what has gone wrong with Allen Iverson in Detroit and an issue some young people in the NBA face.
On whether or not he thinks the Nuggets can win a title:
“No (laughs). All we’re trying to do is win a playoff round. Since ‘Melo’s been here, they’ve been in the playoffs every year, since I’ve been here, we’ve been in the playoffs every year, but we’ve lost in the first round. It’s pretty easy – the writing’s on the wall, win or be crucified.”
On why Chauncey Billups makes Denver better this year over last year with Allen Iverson:
“I think the turning point was going for about two years without a really good point guard on our court. Anthony Carter’s been a great backup but we have struggled with the dimension of putting passing on the basketball court. What we have now is a leader, a guy that knows how to orchestrate an offense. I think he enjoys playing faster after 5 or 6 years of being in Detroit… And, he’s a winner. What’s Chauncey Billups’ best skill? I don’t know, other than he wins basketball games.”
George Karl on AI’s struggles in Detroit, young coaches in the NBA, and the full interview after the jump.
His reaction to Iverson’s falling out in Detroit:
“I’m a little surprised. I still think AI is a dynamite scorer but I think he’s gotta be in the open court a little bit more than Detroit wants to play. I think that’s taken away some of his possessions and they’re such an offensive set basketball team, and I think that conflict is so glaring. They’re more comfortable running plays, and AI is just more comfortable playing basketball.”
On why young coaches’ often struggle in the NBA:
“The only thing I gotta address on that is I think younger coaches have a way of making the confrontation seem personal to players… I think sometimes younger coaches in their passion, in their emotion, in their early career, players react to it like it’s personal and I think younger players do the same thing. I think younger players react to coaches in a personal way more than a veteran player.”