Phil Jackson’s number 1 pupil, in the eyes of many, has finally received his first shot as a head coach. Former Lakers assistant coach and player Brian Shaw was hired late Monday evening by the Denver Nuggets as their new head coach. Shaw will have rather large shoes to fill with coach of the year George Karl being his predecessor but is he up for the challenge. In an interview with ESPNLA’s Ramona Shelburne Shaw spoke on his new occupation.
“I’m so appreciative for the opportunity to be able to lead this team and for the faith that [Nuggets team president] Josh Kroenke and [general manager] Tim Connelly have put in me,” Shaw told Shelburne. “It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been prepared by the best of the best for a long time. I’m just really looking forward to it.”
“I look at the positive things that they did, the things they did well under George Karl, and try to continue to build on those,” Shaw said. “And in some of the areas where they could use improvement, try to improve in those areas. I want to put my own spin on things, push the right buttons and find the right combinations.”
Some speculate that Shaw has not been hired due to his experience running the triangle offense. However Shaw has stated that he, and his staff, will first look at the team they have before they decide on the type of offense they will run.
“Of all the years I played, I only played in the Triangle the last four years, and obviously I coached in that system under Phil,” Shaw said. “But in all the other years I was exposed to a lot of different systems. So no, I won’t be coming in and bringing the Triangle to Denver.”
Since leaving Los Angeles, Shaw has been rumored for a number of jobs within the NBA yet was never hired for them. Even with him being a finalist for jobs and never getting the call he stayed the course and did not let his disappointments steer him.
“There’s no hard feelings,” Shaw said. “Situations just don’t work out. You just have to look at it and say it wasn’t my time, or it wasn’t the right situation. I don’t have any hard feelings, I learned lessons along the way. I’m a pretty patient person by nature anyway, so although it did test my patience at times, it turned out the way it [was] supposed to be and I’m happy to be in Denver. I’m just looking forward to getting started.”
When asked about Phil Jackson, Shaw stated that he and Phil “talk on a regular basis”. Shaw spent the last 4 years of his career under Phil and highly values his advice and opinions. When needed, Phil has been there to offer an opinion but not to the point where he was making decisions for Shaw. At the end of the day he wants Shaw to do what is best for him.
“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.
“But the main thing was just, ‘Be true to who you are and trust your instincts.’ As a player for him and a coach for him, that was something he always said to me. I took that to heart. It’s nice to be able to check in with someone like him all the time and get their advice.”
What do you think of Brian Shaw’s hire in Denver? Should he have been the Lakers first choice or is he better off with the Nuggets? Express yourself below!
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