View Full Version : Consensus on George Karl

09-18-2012, 07:37 PM
There's a "top five coaches" thread going on right now and George Karl's name seems to be popping up a lot, though it appears to be a lightening rod or sorts.

So let's take a look at what GK has accomplished.

He has coached 1805 games, winning a total 0f 1074 (giving him a .595 winning percentage, slightly higher than HOF coach Don Nelson's .557 winning percentage).

He has coached one team (the 96 Sonics) to a WCC and NBA Finals appearance (he lost, as many great coaches did, to Jordan). Something which HOF coach Don Nelson never did. He also lead the Sonics to a division title in 94, 96 and 98, and lead them to a nearly 30-game turnaround after just one season with the team. Don Nelson, as I mention is a HOF coach and got the Bucks I beleive 4 division titles, the only division titles he ever earned, but never got them to the NBA finals (in fact, he only got to the conference finals once and was swept out by the Boston Celtics, and barely got past the 76ers in a 7-game series).

After leaving Seattle (and getting them 61 wins in his final season, though a disapointing second-round exit vs. a very talented Lakers rosters that featured a very dominant Shaq. It is, I think, important to note that every full season Karl coached, he got 50 ro more wins.

Of course before Seattle there was his first stink in Cleveland. His first season in Cleveland saw them make the playoffs with perhaps the worst playoff record in NBA history: 36-46 (which was a 8-game improvement over the previous season). Karl was fired before the end of his second season with a record of 25-42. Though in Karl's defence his best option on offence was a 32 year old World-B-Free. Roy Hinson was his second best option. Not exactly a play off team. Then there was his trip to GSW. He helped them to a 12-game turnaround and got them in the playoffs for the first time in ten years! After a 16-48 start to his second season though, he was fired again. The GSWs started the season with a decent roster, but Sleepy Floyd and Joe Barry Carrol were traded for RALPH SAMPSON! So... I hold the GSW GM responcible for the drop off in production.

After his time in Seatle, Karl went to the Bucks, as his contract was up in Seatle and the Bucks were offering an insane amount of money. He turned them into a winning team and got them in the playoffs for the first time in six or seven years. In three seasons he got them from 36 wins, to 52 and was within one game of his second NBA finals appearance (though this was in a weak eastern conference). The following seasons saw Karl break even at 41-41. And underachievement no doubt, even considering some injuries and the loss of a couple of players. Karl was, for the third time in his career.. FIRED!!!!

Then there was the debacle that was the 2002 FIBA World Championship. But let's face, hardly any of the games best players showed up for that tournament.

Onto Denver! Denver was 17-25 when Karl took over. Then they went 32-8 for the rest of the season. Pretty impressive turnaround for a guy that took over part-way through the season (he lead them to a 5 or 6 game turnaround despite taking over the team with a losing record). The Nuggest continue to improve each of the next five seasons and have gotten 50 or more wins four consecutive years until this past season which was of course a strike shortened season, and the team has not missed the playoffs once, though they have had to face the Lakers a number of times and have in turn only gotten out of the first round with George Karl as coach only once, where they lost in the WCF to... of course, the Lakers (Karl has a history of losing to the Lakers).

So...lots fo 50 win seasons, every team he's taken over has improved. He's kept Denver competative even with some major roster changes. He's gotten the best out of players like Payton, Melo and Kemp, who all saw major drops in production after leaving Karl, won a few division titles and a conference title, though, like Jerry Sloan, he has never been award a Coach of the Year title (though he has certainly been in the running a number of times and likely should have won it the year he took over Denver's losing team, and has Jackson not coached the Bulls to 72 wins in the year which Karl coach the Sonics to 64 wins, he may have been able to earn a couple COY awards).

So... what is the genral consensus on George Karl? Is he a HOF coach who has helped teams overachieve and you would love to have sitting on your team's bench? Or have his playoff failures lead you to believe that Karl is an underachiever?

09-18-2012, 08:06 PM
He's one of those guys that's highly respected from the outside and from the national media as a whole, but probably more highly criticized by his own fan base and city because they experience/notice his coaching miscues and drawbacks more often and severely. And until he wins a championship, he'll never be looked at as an all-time great coach, although he's basically as close as you can get.

Kind of like the Andy Reid of basketball, if that makes sense.

09-18-2012, 08:07 PM
I'm just very happy that his health is better now through all that time fighting various cancers that run in his family history as his sown Coby had one too.

09-18-2012, 08:25 PM
He's a hall of fame coach for sure, not in the class with Phil, Riley, Red, etc..., but a step below.

09-18-2012, 08:50 PM
If Nelson is a HOF coach then Karl sure as hell is. Don Nelson wasnt a head coach he was an offensive coordinator.

09-18-2012, 09:29 PM
He's a top coach in my book :shrug:

09-18-2012, 10:34 PM
Always been a top tier coach. Maybe a bit too hard headed most of the time, but he actually seems to be getting better. Probably HOF but you really can't judge him against Nelson, since Nelson has been innovative and somewhat ahead of his time. Karl has been old school. Nothing wrong with that though.

09-18-2012, 10:43 PM
I'd rather have Karl than Brown on the Lakers bench. I think George Karl is a HOF coach.

09-19-2012, 11:57 AM

09-19-2012, 12:01 PM
Good read. Yes, definitely a HOF coach.

Da Knicks
09-19-2012, 12:20 PM
very overrated, he is a choke when it counts... pretty good in the regular season when the other coaches dont have enough time to prepare for him...

09-19-2012, 08:06 PM
He'll unquestionably be in the Hall of Fame.

Rk Coach From To Yrs G W ▾
1 Don Nelson 1977 2010 31 2398 1335
2 Lenny Wilkens* 1970 2005 32 2487 1332
3 Jerry Sloan 1980 2011 26 2024 1221
4 Pat Riley 1982 2008 24 1904 1210
5 Phil Jackson 1990 2011 20 1640 1155
6 Larry Brown 1977 2011 26 2002 1098
7 George Karl 1985 2013 25 1805 1074

By 2014, assuming two 40+ win seasons with the Nuggets (a very safe bet), he'll pass PJ for 5th most wins in NBA history.

Have more to say, but no time....

09-19-2012, 08:19 PM
he doesnt really coach defense or try to develop younger players, but one of the best on offense.