There are two players on the Nuggets who Karl would never bench or partly bench no matter what: Marcus Camby and Allen Iverson. Why these two? Because these two have such long and great careers, and many awards as well, that they have become legends, already part of the glorious history of basketball, which Karl reveres.
Karl would have to defy his own belief system in order to bench Camby or Iverson, and it is rare for anyone to defy his or her belief system. Neither Camby nor Iverson is likely to ever mess up to the point of deserving to be benched, so this potential flip side of the usual Karl mistake is most likely just a hypothetical.
Kenyon Martin does not qualify as great enough to be part of the glorious history of basketball, so that enabled Karl to bench him for the playoff series two seasons ago and freed him, in his mind, from the responsibility to seek a compromise with his feuding star player.
This is why, by the way, that Iverson gets more burn than Anthony, and why Iverson is always discussed in glowing terms in the media by Karl, whereas Anthony is always minimized to one extent or another. Karl generally refers to Anthony as nothing more than a work in progress who needs to make changes in his game, and never as the cornerstone of the Nuggets franchise.
If Rick Adelman, or any other good NBA coach, was coaching the Nuggets, he would never have a player of the caliber of JR Smith completely benched. He would make sure the player was traded or waived if there was truly a severe attitude problem. On the other hand, Adelman would be at least as fast as Karl to yank Smith, or most other players for that matter, from a particular game if a player was clearly playing very poorly after about 10-12 minutes.
In the NBA, players who are impulsive, young, and poor decision makers due to inexperience, but have a lot of raw athletic ability, commonly have their minutes reduced, but you almost never see them completely benched for games at a time. Karl justifies his periodic complete benching of Smith by complaining about Smith’s personality and how it leads to dumb mistakes on the court. This type of sweeping and derogatory accusation is just not something anyone should accept without proof. I keep looking, but I still haven't found the personality and IQ ratings of basketball players on the internet in order to confirm that Smith is the dumbest player in the NBA, and/or the one with the worst personality. Until I find objective information that shows that Smith has one of the very worst personality ratings in the NBA, I am not going to agree to his being the only very talented player in the NBA who should be totally benched for games at a time. Even if I found such information, I would still not agree to the total benching, but I would acknowledge that Karl had a leg to stand on, something which he doesn’t have right now.
And the Nuggets can't have it both ways at once. If the serious Karl accusations are true, Smith is just about worthless and needs to be waived immediately. Surely no other team will offer anything for the worst personality and the dumbest player. And no other team will ever play him either.
Seriously though, there have been cases where good players have washed out of the League as a result of psychological difficulties. But JR is definitely not in that group. He plays video games for god’s sakes, how dangerous can he be to himself or others? If Karl gets what he really wants, which is JR off the team, Smith will definitely move on and get to play substantial minutes elsewhere.