On Monday evening Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post reported Brian Shaw has accepted an offer to become the Denver Nuggets new head coach. Though Shaw has been a longtime player and assistant in the league, this will be the first head coaching job of his career. By all accounts, this appears to be a very solid hire as Shaw is one of the more well respected coaches in the NBA. Here is what we know about Shaw and the hire thus far…
“I can’t express my appreciation enough,” Shaw told The Denver Post by phone Monday evening. “It’s been a grind to say the least, but I’m just very appreciative of the opportunity to lead this team. … It’s been years, 11-12 interviews I’ve gone through. And I’ve felt I’ve been prepared by the best of the best. You know, everything that’s worth something, a lot of times you have to wait for it. I feel like I’ve waited and paid my dues… I feel honored and privileged that (Nuggets executives) Josh (Kroenke) and Tim (Connelly) have put faith in me that I’m the guy they want to grow with going forward.”
Shaw, 47, has a reputation as being a players’ coach and a player developer, notably with rising star Paul George, the Pacers forward who was an all-star in 2012-13… Shaw is adept at coaching the triangle offense, which Jackson utilized while coaching the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, but Shaw said he won’t use the offensive set with a team that thrived in a fast-paced, free-flowing system under Karl.
“Brian is brilliant working individually with players,” Walsh told me over the weekend. “They identify with him because he speaks their basketball language, and cuts through the X’s and O’s and techno-(stuff). And they respect him because he’s been a winner on every level as a player and a coach. The Nuggets have a bunch of outstanding young players for Brian to coach. I know. I reluctantly had to give them several.”
Shaw owns five NBA championship rings as a player and an assistant coach… The first-round draft pick of the Boston Celtics in 1988, Shaw played for seven teams in 14 seasons, and in four NBA Finals with the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers. He was a point guard on three straight title teams in L.A…. Shaw has served as an assistant coach for the past eight years with the Lakers and the Pacers. The six Lakers teams won 11 playoff series and two championships, and the Pacers have won three playoff series since he joined them… In a 2012 survey, Shaw was named the league’s No. 1 assistant by seven GMs. No other assistant got more than three votes. When Phil Jackson retired from the Lakers in 2011, Kobe Bryant said he and all his teammates supported Shaw as successor. Shaw also has been endorsed by Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal and Pacers coach Frank Vogel.
Shaw told Shelburne that he still speaks regularly with Jackson. “We talk on a regular basis, and I always value his advice,” Shaw said. “There have been some situations over the years that he kind of warned against, and there have been other situations where he weighed in and said this would be a good situation.”
While a member of the Heat, on April 8, 1993, Shaw hit a then-NBA record ten three-point field goals (out of 15 attempts) against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center, finishing with 32 points. Starting in 1994, he was one-half of the popular “Shaw-Shaq Redemption” (named after The Shawshank Redemption), an alley-oop from Shaw to Shaquille O’Neal that was popular with fans in both Orlando and Los Angeles (Shaw and O’Neal were also Laker teammates). In an interview with The Miami Herald in 2007, O’Neal claimed that the teammate he had most respected in his career was Shaw.