On Wednesday, the Broncos welcomed a Nugget to Dove Valley.
George Karl spent the day at team headquarters, sitting in on meetings, watching practice and getting to know Head Coach Josh McDaniels.
McDaniels reached out to the Denver Nuggets head coach, hoping to “pick his brain” about coaching at the professional level. After all, Karl’s first NBA coaching gig came when he was just about the same age as McDaniels.
“I’m a big fan of his and what he’s done in his career,” McDaniels said. “He’s had great success as a coach in the NBA and I’m a big NBA fan. Certainly (he’s) overcome a great deal of adversity personally with the things he’s had to deal with. It’s just a great privilege for our team to have him around us.”
Karl, who recently battled with neck and throat cancer, said he has spent time at other NFL facilities in Cleveland and Green Bay during previous coaching stints, but had never been to Dove Valley. He jumped at the opportunity.
“There’s a juice to starting the season that I’m getting into,” he said. “Sometimes just going to another place and learning and getting a feel and a sense for another sport that I played — but so long ago that I don’t remember — I think it’s just an energy.”
Karl and an assistant watched how the Broncos prepare for a game — which he compared to the way the Nuggets get ready for a playoff game since there’s a full week to install a plan.
McDaniels was happy to give the coaching veteran an inside look at the process.
“They’re just paying attention to some of the things that we do to try to get our team ready to go,” McDaniels said. “It’s kind of a full circle because I’m going to pick their brains and see if there’s anything that we can do better that they know.”
The experience got Karl thinking about which Nuggets would make good NFL players. His first thought? Nene as a 6-foot-11, 250-pound tight end.
“Quickness-wise, Ty Lawson is probably a guy I think could be a defensive back,” he added.
With the start of the NBA season a little more than a month away, Karl hopes to return the favor, inviting McDaniels out to watch him coach the Nuggets.
“Hopefully Josh and I will spend some time together and develop a relationship,” he said. “If we can be friends with one another, hopefully they have a great year then he can come see us play great basketball.”
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com
Below are photos from Wednesday’s practice.