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February 16, 2010

Nuggets’ Karl to undergo chemo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bradford Doolittle @ 10:09 pm

Sobering news out of Denver, where it was revealed that Nuggets coach George Karl has suffered a recurrence of cancer and has begun a regiment of chemotherapy treatments.

If there is a bright side to the situation for the Nuggets, it’s that Karl will remain on the bench for the most part, though he expects to miss about nine games because of the treatment. It’s difficult to be pragmatic in the face of such grim news, but this comes just three days after Karl received a contract extension through the 2010-11 season. Karl deserved the extension, of course, and there is currently no reason to believe that he won’t be around to fulfill his new contract.

However, Karl had some interesting comments yesterday regarding the value of a good coach, saying, “Now, some starters make $10 million, some starters make $5 million, some starters make $2 million. But, I think, from a standpoint of basketball value, a good basketball system is as valuable as maybe your fourth- or fifth-best starter.”

Now’s not the time to evaluate that statement and I’ve never hatched a good scheme for measuring the effect of a basketball coach, though I have little reason to doubt what Karl says is true. However, the key choice of words to me is where he says “system” rather than “coach.” Karl has had his system in place for quite a long time in Denver. His players know it; his assistants know it.

So even on those nights that Karl will be unable to lead his team from the bench, it’s still going to be Karl’s teachings on display on the court. And you have to believe that on the nights that Karl is absent, the Nuggets are going to have just a little bit more want-to than normal.

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