Karl Watch: February 22nd at Washington

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets

I’m confused too

The ‘Karl Coefficient’ comes from Haralabos Voulgaris’ assertion that you predict a coach will do what they should not do. – Chris Chan (@Chantech)

You know what’s awesome about predicting the Nuggets can win 16 of their remaining games? Having the silly notion that George Karl can’t coach us out of a game against a team that had only won 15 games going into tonight. Let’s see what happened.

As always, this work made possible by the amazing PopcornMachine.net gameflows.

Karl Watch - At Washington February 22nd 2013

Here’s my major gripe with tonight. The Nuggets have three good bigs, Kenneth Faried, Kosta Koufos and JaVale McGee. How much time could he keep any combination of the three on the court? A mere thirteen minutes, with no time together in the fourth! Brewer and Chandler are two of Karl’s worst players that get normal minutes. How much time did he give them together? Almost twenty minutes! Here’s a break down of the other players he put with them:

With the exception of Miller and Gallinari, Karl stuck hard with small ball lineups. As Jason White has mentioned before, Karl has beliefs about Koufos and McGee’s abilities and about the defensive ability of combining Faried with them. Night after night Brewer and Chandler have played terribly. Yet, Karl feels comfortable not just trotting out one of them, but both of them! And to make it worse, he “plays them bigger”

This is simply bad strategy. How did the Nuggets lose? They were massively outrebounded. What did Karl do? Well, he didn’t play his bigs a lot and even worse, he didn’t play them together. Now, if we look at the quarters, the Nuggets started out rough in the first and the third. What was Karl’s reaction?, It was really an overreaction. Look how many lineups Karl threw out. He ignored one of my lessons, the ‘Manu Ginobili Principle’

As Gregg Popovich calmly states, he believes his top player could play well after a bad half, because he’s a good player. Unless you have a solid reason to believe your player is suddenly playing poorly (e.g. injury issues), yanking them after a few bad minutes of play is just stupid. Karl epitomizes this thinking though. Overreacting is how bad coaches lose games for good teams. Don’t view Karl as a strategist or tactician. View Karl as someone who overreacts and is just as likely to make a dumb move as he is a good one. His “coach of the year” honor in January can be attributed to luck. Sadly, luck is neither predictable or even that attributable to the coach. Bad decisions on the other hand? Well, George Karl is making the case that they’re very predictable for him.


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