Denver’s Karl named NBA Coach of the Year

DENVER — George Karl led the Denver Nuggets to their best season in team history, earning him coach of the year honors on Wednesday.

He received 62 first-place votes, followed by Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat with 24 votes from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters. New York’s Mike Woodson finished third and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, who won the award last season, was fourth.

The Nuggets went 57-25 — the league’s fourth-best record — and captured the No. 3 seed. But the Nuggets were eliminated by the Golden State Warriors 92-88 in Game 6 last Thursday night.

“I am honored and energized to represent coaching and be their ambassador as coach of the year and continue to symbolize the great coaching there is in the NBA,” Karl said in a statement. “There are probably seven or eight guys who are deserving of it and another 10 or 15 other coaches who have done a great job and aren’t getting any recognition.”

It’s the first time Karl has won the award in 25 seasons in charge. He joins Doug Moe as the only Denver coaches to earn the honor.

The Nuggets surged down the stretch, winning a team-record 15 straight at one point and going 24-4 after the All-Star break. They also won a franchise-best 38 games at the Pepsi Center.

In Karl’s up-tempo offense this season, the team led the league in scoring, fast-break points and points in the paint. They struggled in the playoffs against a Warriors squad led by Stephen Curry, in part because they were without one of their top players, Danilo Gallinari, who was out with a torn ACL.

Karl has been criticized by some fans after a fourth straight first-round exit.

Denver’s first-round flameout comes after the Western Conference seemed more wide open with Oklahoma City losing All-Star Russell Westbrook to a season-ending knee injury.

After the postseason elimination, Karl called it one of the most disappointing defeats in his nine seasons in Denver.

Karl boasts a 1,131-756 record with the Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s also turned in 21 straight non-losing seasons, which is tied with Phil Jackson for the longest streak in league history.

Moe won the award for the Nuggets in 1987-88, when his team went 54-28.

More in Sports

M’s bolster bullpen, add Nicasio, two others

Seattle adds Juan Nicasio in free agency and trades for Shawn Armstrong and Anthony Misiewicz.

Thiel: Since his arrival, Brown has solidified Hawks’ O-line

Seattle’s O-line has gone from disaster to competent in just a few short weeks, thanks to their new LT.

Tough year turns ‘Lucky’ for Idaho angler

By Wayne Kruse For The Herald Gary March of Worley, Idaho, was… Continue reading

Return of ThunderTips podcast plus Wednesday practice notes

The latest ThunderTips Hockey Podcast, on which I appear alongside Seattle Thunderbirds… Continue reading

Seahawks ready Wilhoite to start at MLB for Wagner

The vet is at the center of Seattle’s preparation to stop Rams RB Todd Gurley in a pivotal NFC West matchup.

Wayne Kruse’s Pick of the Week: Winter crab

By Wayne Kruse For The Herald Just three weekends remain in the… Continue reading

Five high schools are leaving the Cascade sports conference

They will form a new league — the North Sound Conference — for the 2018-19 school year.

Sutter accepts invite to play in CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

Silvertips goalie Carter Hart named CHL Goaltender of the Week for the third straight week.

Wednesday’s prep results

Boys Basketball Non-conference Eastside Prep 56, Darrington 48 Boys Wrestling Northwest Conference… Continue reading

Most Read