Coach George Karl has led the Denver Nuggets to the playoffs in his first nine seasons with the team. He is a storied NBA coach with many achievements and accolades and is truly an inspiration in looking at his battle with cancer. He is the second winningest coach in franchise history for Denver and just led this year’s team to its most wins ever in a season. He is surely a viable candidate for Coach of the Year, but if he cannot get the Nuggets out of the first round against the Golden State Warriors is it time to part ways?
Yes, the Nuggets have made the playoffs the last nine straight seasons, but they’ve made it out of the first round only once. Denver reached the third seed in the Western Conference this season, and despite having home-court advantage they have struggled against a team that lost their lone All-Star early on in the series. Stephen Curry has rallied his team and the Warriors have looked to be the better team all-around thus far.
Danilo Gallinari‘s injury is something Karl has looked to get around, and with the return of Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried from their own injuries, we all thought surely the Nuggets would return to a winning form. Even with Gallinari on the roster, the Nuggets are a team lacking an All-Star, and many would hate to see Karl go because he has formed a winning team without one. Is being a winning team only during the regular season good enough though?
Lawson, Faried, Andre Iguodala and Gallinari, when he returns next season, all have the potential to become All-Star caliber players under Coach Karl, but does it really matter if they can’t get out of the first round of the playoffs? Should they keep banking on the Nuggets to finally get over the hump with a coach who has shown repeatedly he cannot? Fans all had high expectations for this team, and after winning 55 games they thought it would be a breeze through round one.
If the Nuggets cannot pull out a victory on Tuesday night in game five at home fighting for their season, maybe it’s time for Coach Karl to be fired. Nuggets’ fans are tired of hoping for so much and then watching as the team plays carelessly with and without the ball. Denver’s defense has never been stellar under Karl, but the last few games it has been absolutely dismal and embarrassing.
If Coach Karl cannot get his team fired up to win at home to bring the series back to Oakland, there may be no hope for his future. Winning the series may be near impossible now, but a win at home might secure Karl’s employment at least into next season. There’s really only one way to secure his job though, and that is to win three straight against Golden State.