In recent years, George Karl has marked off major career accomplishments, and Wednesday he got another big one — his first NBA coach of the year award.
With a roster of players that didn't have an all-star, a schedule that put the Nuggets on the road for 22 of their first 32 games and injuries to key players, the Nuggets flourished under Karl's direction. They finished with a franchise-record 57 wins, had the league's best home record (38-3) and had streaks of 15 wins overall and 24 consecutive home wins. Their 57-25 mark was the fourth-best record in the NBA.
"What I hope everybody understands is this is not about me," Karl said Thursday morning at news conference where he accepted the Red Auerbach Trophy. "It's about a lot of people, and a lot of people in my past. And I am proud to have that trophy."
The Nuggets finished third in the Western Conference, though they were upset by sixth-seeded Golden State in the first round of the playoffs.
But this is a regular-season award, and the Nuggets were as good as most teams in the league. As a result, Karl received 404 votes, including 62 first-place votes. The award is voted on by a panel of 121 sports writers and broadcasters.
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra finished second in the voting followed by New York's Mike Woodson, San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Indiana's Frank Vogel.
"My friends in the fraternity of coaching have been a blessing," Karl said. "It's been a gift. It's been an honor to be a part of it and now I have to stand for a year to be representative of the greatness of great coaches in the NBA. We are now at the stage where coaches are going to get fired, and some of you want me fired.
"But the truth of the matter is there is not very much bad coaching in the NBA."
During the season, Karl earned two Western Conference coach of the month awards. He is the sixth-winningest coach in NBA history and his 1,131 wins are the most of any active coach.
He is the second coach in franchise history, after Doug Moe, to garner the honor. Moe won the 1987-88 season when the Nuggets went 54-28 and advanced to the conference semifinals.
In 8½ seasons as the Nuggets head coach, Karl is 423-257 in the regular season with three division titles and 21-39 in the playoffs. In 25 seasons as head coach, Karl is 1,131-756 in the regular season and 80-105 in the playoffs. He's coached 22 times in the postseason.
Coach of year voting
The voting totals for the 2012-13 NBA's coach of the year. Selected by a panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters from the United States and Canada. Voting is on a 5-3-1 basis:Voting is on a 5-3-1 basis:
|George Karl, Den||62||26||16||404|
|Erik Spoelstra, Miami||24||17||19||190|
|Mike Woodson, New York||6||28||13||127|
|Gregg Popovich, San Antonio||11||16||17||120|
|Frank Vogel, Ind||3||11||12||60|
|Lionel Hollins, Memphis||6||4||13||55|
|Mark Jackson, GS||3||6||14||47|
|Tom Thibodeau, Chicago||2||7||9||40|
|Kevin McHale, Houston||1||3||3||18|
|P.J. Carlesimo, Brooklyn||1||1||--||8|
|Vinny Del Negro, LA Clippers||1||1||--||8|
|Larry Drew, Atlanta||1||--||1||6|
|Doc Rivers, Boston||--||1||1||4|
|Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City||--||--||3||3|