You might be wondering: why has George Karl been in the headlines so much lately? Well, he recently released a memoir with quite a few juicy NBA storylines.
He talked about a potential Shawn Kemp-Scottie Pippen trade that fell through, and also took shots at Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, and Kenyon Martin.
Karl wasn’t done dishing out the heat, though; in an interview with New York Magazine, he pinned the blame for Portland’s early-season struggles on star point guard Damian Lillard.
"I was watching the Portland Trail Blazers play, and I was trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with this team?" Karl said. "My conclusion is that Damian Lillard is getting too much attention."
He added: “I think their coach, Terry Stotts, is a great coach. So I'm going to say the problem is Lillard. They were a together, connected, committed team last year. This year, they're not. What changed?"
Naturally, this sent ripples throughout the NBA world, with people wondering: what? The Blazers responded similarly, with Stotts telling Karl to “stay in his own lane.”
Thursday, Lillard responded to the criticism.
"I'm confused at how that even came up," Lillard told ESPN's Jeff Goodman. "I've never met [Karl] or spoken to him. I don't have anything to say about him or the situation, but I'm comfortable knowing the people I work with every day know exactly who I am and how I operate."
The Blazers are 14-20, and are certainly underperforming, but should the blame really fall on their sole star? Lillard is putting up 27.0 points, 6.2 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game—all of which are improvements from last season, excepting a slight decrease in assists—and is shooting less this year.
The criticism certainly seems unwarranted, and it's probably an attempt to generate publicity for the book.