So I just read a story about George Karl and his vow to be "tougher" on players. Here's the link http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/basketball/nba/specials/playoffs/2008/05/01/nuggets.karl.ap/index.html?eref=fannation and all I have to say is Seriously???
So why is this a big deal. First and foremost, I want to say to George Karl, "Why start now?" He has never been tough on players, be it in Seattle with Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton, to the Big Three in Milwaukee and now with the Denver Nuggets. I've heard him speak, he's a nice enough guy, but why start now?
In the article, George Karl is quoted as saying, "Most of the stuff we're talking about is little things of professionalism. Being on time more often, being more committed to practice, more committed to each other, more committed to the team, more committed to the organization, more committed to doing public service. Everything." So what is my problem? It's the "little things." George Karl wants to be tougher by being more on time for practice? How about BEING on time for practice. If you don't show up to a regular job on time, you get reprimanded or fired. Plus this leaves way to much room for interpretation. Take Allen Iverson, who's press conference about practice is a favorite on YouTube. Say you don't show up for practice on time at all. Is it merely being tougher on a guy if you have him show up on time to practice once, twice, three times? What would be tough on a player is if you are late for practice, you don't start, or you don't play. Maybe it's my bias. I coach (yes, I do) and I am tough on players. I had a player, having fun, ok, then he throws a behind the back pass that goes way off direction and out of bounds. This was at a crucial point in a close game. Granted it wasn't for the NBA championship, but in the league, it was a crucial game. I wasn't upset, I just stated that I didn't want him to do that again and if he did, he would sit down. Two sets later, he throws the behind the back pass, way off and another turnover. What happened next? A timeout was called and he was taken out of the game, end of that debate. He knew the punishment for the action and punishment was made when the action was taken. I also have the example, as a Jazz fan, of a pretty strict coach in Jerry Sloan, who has been in the league for 20 years as a coach, 19 with the Jazz. He disciplines his players. No star treatment for the star, no kid gloves. You do something wrong, deal with the punishment.
How exactly did George Karl be "tough" on Carmelo Anthony. In an interview with Dan Patrick, he called Melo and stated how much he loved him. I have kids, I love them, I will always love them, but my first call to them after a DUI is probably not going to be about how much I love them. Granted, Anthony had not been tried, convicted, etc., so I understand not sitting him down for a game, especially in the playoffs, but news comes out today that he was over the legal limit. How does George Karl handle this? Now we finally get to see how George Karl gets to be more tough on his team, with raised expectations.