It's actually hard to believe that this is the first time George Karl has won the Coach of the Year award in the NBA considering all the success he had with the Seattle Supersonics in the 1990's (even leading them to a Finals appearance against the Chicago Bulls in 1996) . Yet it is true. After leading the Denver Nuggets to a franchise best 57 wins this season, Karl will receive for the first time the award for coaching excellence.
Karl earned 62 first-place votes and 404 points overall. Rounding out the top five in voting were Miami's Erik Spoelstra, New York's Mike Woodson, San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Indiana's Frank Vogel.
We can all argue the merits of playoff success (probably legitimately), but I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that Karl deserves this award for the run the Nuggets went on this regular season. Overcoming a start to the regular season that featured 22 of their first 32 games on the road, this Nuggets team excited and thrilled Nuggets fans all season and showed great promise. The Nuggets were 11-12 at the end of December and they went 46-13 the rest of the way.
The Nuggets flamed out in the first round of the playoffs, but this is NOT a playoff award, this is for the regular season. Under that criteria you cannot give this award to anyone else but the leader of the "starless" Denver Nuggets. While we all have serious reservations about Karl as a coach, we can all acknowledge that this year had the potential to be something special based on the regular season.
You can watch Karl accepting the award on Altitude TV at 11:30 am today.