There has been speculation as of late that the Denver Nuggets
are contemplating giving head coach Jeff Bzdelik a pink slip.
What a reward to give the man who completed the greatest
turnaround for a team that won under 20 games the previous season.
The Nuggets 26-game turnaround has astonished every analyst in the
world. No one gave the Nuggets, or their second-year coach, a
Funny how that second-year coach, Bzdelik, brought the team to
its first playoff birth in nine years.
Why would the Nuggets fire a guy who, in only his second year
coaching, took a team that only won 17 games last year and turned
it into a true playoff contender?
It has been said the Nuggets management wants to seek a coach
with experience. The only coaches I can think of that they would
have a shot at would be Doc Rivers, George Karl and, a long shot,
Let me just start by saying Doc Rivers would be a terrible
choice. He led the Orlando Magic straight into the ground this
year, starting with a 1-10 record. That 1-10 record ended up
costing him his job. How could Rivers let his team have as terrible
of a record as he did when the Magic have, quite possibly, the best
player in the game in Tracy McGrady?
George Karl has never had any playoff success. In reality he’s
never had any success. Need I remind you rusty Nuggets fans that
the ’94 Nuggets team, seeded No. 8, beat the best team in
basketball, the top-seeded Sonics, who happened to be coached by
none other than George Karl. That was the first time a No. 8 seed
had ever beaten a No. 1 in the playoffs. Karl also folded in the
most recent world championships in basketball, leading the United
States to its first loss ever since the installment of NBA players
on an Olympic or world championship squad. The United States didn’t
even make the medal ceremonies under Karl, which is unheard of. If
the Nuggets would like to stay a mediocre team, I say Karl is their
As for Riley, who needs him when we already have him? What I
mean is Bzdelik studied under Riley during the future Hall of
Famer’s tenure in Miami. Bzdelik was right there with him as his
assistant coach from 1995-2001. Riley was Bzdelik’s mentor for
close to eight years. Riley is considered one of the best coaches
in NBA history, having won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award in
1990, 1993 and 1997, so I feel pretty confident in having his
prot�g� taking charge of the Nuggets.
Bzdelik may only have two years of coaching experience under his
belt, but he’s made advancements in the league in other ways. In
Sports Illustrated’s 1998 Pro Basketball issue he was voted the
NBA’s best advance scout by league general managers. In 2000, USA
Today recognized him as one of the NBA’s top five assistant
coaches. Bottom line is the guy knows basketball and can flat out
coach. It would be a travesty and a terrible mistake if the Nuggets
let him go.
Word to the wise, Kiki Vandeweghe: Don’t get rid of the leader
on this team. Players may perform, but it takes a great coach to
get the best out of everyone, and that’s exactly what Bzdelik