Former Laker Brian Shaw is finally getting a crack at a NBA head-coaching position. After spending nearly a decade as an assistant, Shaw was hired Monday night by the Denver Nuggets. He will be replacing the NBA’s reigning Coach of the Year, George Karl. Karl led the Nuggets to a 57-win season before being fired after yet another first round elimination in the playoffs.
The Denver Post reported that the Nuggets chose Shaw over former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lional Hollins, who was Denver’s other top candidate. Shaw is an apprentice of Phil Jackson, having both played for and coached under the legendary coach for nearly a decade.
“I think the Nuggets are going to benefit from his tenure,” said Jackson from his Twitter account.
Shaw has interviewed with the Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Orlando Magic, and Brooklyn Nets since leaving Jackson’s staff. While Jackson has told him to be himself throughout the process, and one thing Shaw will not implement in Denver is the Triangle offense. The Triangle offense is a trademark of Phil Jackson coached teams and is a system Shaw knows very well. Shaw however has said that he has been exposed to many other systems in his years after the Lakers and does not plan to bring the Triangle to Denver.
Brian Shaw inherits a young team loaded with talent between point guard Ty Lawson and small forward Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari however was hurt down the stretch, a big reason for the Nuggets first round departure. One of the Nuggets best players, Andre Iguodala opted out of the last year of his contract this off-season but could return to Denver on a five-year deal, where the most he could get elsewhere is a four-year contract.
Shaw has been praised for his work with rising Pacers star Paul George. George was an all-star this year while he led Indiana to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing in seven games to the Miami Heat.
Shaw won three NBA Championships as a player and two as an assistant coach, all with the Lakers. Kobe Bryant expressed his desire to have Shaw become Jackson’s successor, but Shaw was denied that promotion.