Karl Says He'll Run Tighter Ship Next Season

By: AP
By: AP
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Another first-round flameout by the talented but disjointed Denver Nuggets has convinced coach George Karl he has to be tougher on his players next season.

"I think the players have kind of done it their way more often than doing it my way," Karl said of the past two seasons. "As an organization, as a coaching staff, as a team, we're going to have to address that next year."

The Nuggets, who lacked defensive discipline and often were reluctant to share the basketball, were swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, becoming the first 50-win team in NBA history to get whitewashed in the postseason.

Still, the team's brass has said Karl's job is safe, and Karl confirmed his intention to return next season. He has two years and $6 million left on his contract.

"Yeah," he said. "The players, they drive me crazy, but they are also loved by me. For three or four years, we haven't figured out that journey we want, and that's winning in the playoffs. It's very frustrating. But if you look at the ledger of good and bad, the (good) side's going to be three times as long.

"It's going to be drifting more toward my way," Karl insisted. "But I'm not going to say it's going to be demanding and dictatorial.

"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."

The Nuggets expect Allen Iverson back next season unless he opts out of his contract. He has said he wants to return to the Nuggets and loves playing in Denver.

Karl said he'll begin meeting with the team's management next week to discuss the roster. The Nuggets have the 20th pick in the draft next month, and some changes are expected in the team's $80 million-plus payroll.

"Any time you're in the Western Conference and you lose in the first round, you probably anticipate some changes," he said. "And I think players anticipate some changes."

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