George Karl Says J.R. Smith Was ‘Smoking Weed’ When The Nuggets Were Working On Set Plays

Former NBA player turned HBCU golfer J.R. Smith was a recent guest on JJ Redick’s podcast and said while he was a member of the Denver Nuggets they never had an out of bounds play under head coach George Karl.

Smith played with the Nuggets from 2006 to 2011, and during the 2008-09 season the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games.

“Seriously, we didn’t have one out of bounds play my whole time playing for this man,” Smith said on “The Old Man And The Three” while lamenting the conference finals loss.

No Out Of Bounds Plays?

Karl was not a perfect coach but amassed an 1175–824 record over his career. He played his college ball at the University of North Carolina under the late legendary Dean Smith, who was one of his coaching mentors. It would stand to reason he has run out of bounds plays before.

Karl called cap on Smith and quote-tweeted a response on Twitter.

“I’m happy for @TheRealJRSmith these days with his education, golf etc. And he’s the second best athlete I coached after Shawn! Re out of bounds plays, I’m sure JR was smoking weed when we practiced them but it’s 15 years ago so let’s just celebrate and move forward!”

Smith had some questionable behavior as a young player in Denver under Karl and his shot selection always earned him a side eye from the coach. Perhaps they still have bad blood?

Smith blocked Karl after his response and Karl let everyone know.

Smith And Karl’s Beef Runs Deep

Back in 2016, Karl released his book “Furious George,” where he talked about coaching Smith, among others.

“J.R. had a slightly different story. He went straight from high school in New Jersey to AAU success to the NBA. His father was on the scene and in his life, which is obviously good. But Earl Smith Jr. urged his son to shoot the ball and keep shooting it from the very moment I put him in a game, which is obviously bad.

“In his defense, sometimes J.R. can make it from anywhere and score in bunches. But I wanted defense and commitment to the team. What I got was a player with a huge sense of entitlement, a distracting posse, his eye always on his next contract, and some really unbelievable shot selection.

“He had problems off the court, too, which is none of my business. Until off the court affects on the court. J.R. collected cars. He drove them fast, resulting in tickets and license suspensions. He also got some jail time for a 2007 crash that killed his passenger, his friend Andre Bell.”

When the book was released Smith said of Karl, “Still trying to be relevant. Sad just sad.”

It’s clear these two still feel some type of way about one another and they will not be exchanging pleasantries the next time they see each other.

Smith earned the scholar athlete award at North Carolina A&T in 2022, the same year Karl was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame.

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