George Karl opens up about Carmelo Anthony and his regrets with how he coached the future Hall of Famer in Denver.
Playoff success has eluded Carmelo Anthony all throughout his career. The star lifted the New York Knicks to just one playoff series win in seven seasons. Prior to his Knicks stint, Melo’s Denver Nuggets were a one-and-done in the playoffs in six of seven years.
First-round exits have been a persistent theme during Melo’s career and his former coach—George Karl—wishes he did more to help Anthony win a championship. Karl spoke about Anthony on his podcast “Truth + Basketball.”
Melo was the best offensive player I ever coached. Looking back, I wish I had done a better job of helping him become a championship player. https://t.co/bs3JvvzxH6 pic.twitter.com/TSI2I6vpC5
— George Karl (@CoachKarl22) March 20, 2020
“He won a lot of basketball games for us in Denver,” Karl said of Anthony. “And he was the reason the team went from being very ordinary to being a playoff team. I just wish I would have done a better job of helping him maybe evolve into a championship player than just being an offensive player. I think that was the one thing sometimes the compromise we had with one another should have become a commitment and it never did.”
That sounds like Karl is taking on much of the responsibility for Denver’s failure to win. With Anthony, the Nuggets were a tough team, but they never were able to make an NBA Finals trip. Much like Melo, Karl has yet to win a championship.
Karl and Anthony made one trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2009 where they fell to Kobe Bryant and the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Those two playoff series wins in 2009 were the only ones during Anthony’s tenure in Denver. Although the Nuggets were perennial playoff team, Melo was never able to push his team over the hump.
The Western Conference was a beast at the time with Kobe’s Lakers, Tim Duncan’s Spurs, Dirk Nowitzki’s Mavericks, and Steve Nash’s Phoenix Suns. There was no easy path to the Finals out there.
For what it’s worth, Karl puts Anthony on his all-time starting five of players he’s coached. He’s joined by Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Chauncey Billups, and Ray Allen. Decent company.
Got asked to name my “top 5 starters.” Tough to name just 5!! Here goes:
– Gary @GaryPayton_
– Shawn @sk40_reignman
– Melo @carmeloanthony
– Chauncey @1MrBigShot
– Ray Allen
Alternates on here may include Joe Barry Carroll and World B. Free! Great players in their day!
— George Karl (@CoachKarl22) March 23, 2020