By Ian Thomsen
June 06, 2013
George Karl (right) and Masai Ujiri both earned accolades after the best season in Nuggets history.
Jack Dempsey/AP

A season-ending knee injury to Danilo Gallinari helped ensure a first-round upset loss to the Warriors, but the outcome proved what many in the league knew already: The Nuggets absence of go-to leadership could not produce victories in the playoffs. Instead of being credited for earning the No. 3 seed in the West with an inexperienced roster that had one player 30 years or older and no one averaging 17 points or more per game, Karl was blamed for the team's inevitable failure in the postseason. It was as if he would have been better off not raising expectations in the first place.

We'll also see how Denver reshapes its identity. Even if the Nuggets succeed in hiring Lionel Hollins or Brian Shaw, they'll be unlikely to win 57 games again next season. Not only was Karl the best coach for this roster, but he and his staff ranked among the best in the NBA at developing young talent. The Nuggets' next GM is going to face a big challenge in finding a coaching staff that can match the accomplishments of George Karl.

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