Brain Shaw Named Head Coach of the Denver Nuggets

Brian Shaw, who was a member of the Lakers during their championship runs in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

Brian Shaw, who was a member of the Lakers during their championship runs in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

After having been passed over for head coaching jobs in Los Angeles three times (the Lakers in the summer of 2011 and at the beginning of the 2012/13 season and the Clippers job most recently), as well as being passed over for the Pistons job in favour of Maurice Cheeks and the Nets job in favour of Jason Kidd, Brian Shaw has finally found his first head coaching position as the Denver Nuggets announced yesterday that they have named Brian Shaw as the teams new head coach. 

Brian Shaw spent several seasons under the tutelage of the Zen Master Phil Jackson.

Brian Shaw spent several seasons under the tutelage of the Zen Master Phil Jackson.

It is good news for Shaw, who, unlike most first-time head coaches who have to take over a lottery team to earn their chops, will be taking over a team who just came off of a franchise best 57-win season. Expectations will be high for Shaw who replaces Coach of the Year George Karl.  Shaw will be expected to not only win 50+ games again, but perhaps even challenge for the best record in the West.  A first-round exit will not be tolerated from a fan base and management team who has tired from a plethora of first-round exits (since Doug Moe left the team, the Nuggets have only gotten past the first round twice and has only won three playoff series in 25 years). 

Brian Shaw and Kobe Bryant, who won 5 championships together, 2 of which Shaw was an assistant coach for.

Brian Shaw and Kobe Bryant, who won 5 championships together, 2 of which Shaw was an assistant coach for.

Shaw saw some success as an assistant under Phil Jackson and was both Jackson’s and Kobe Bryant’s first pick to replace Jackson when he stepped down in 2011, but Lakers’ ownership opted to go in a different direction.  In his most recent position, as lead assistant coach of the Indiana Pacers, Shaw also saw some success as the Pacers improved upon their previous record each season with Shaw and also got deeper in the post season.  Whether or not Shaw will implement the triangle offense made famous by Jackson and Tex Winters remains to be seen, but should the Nuggets retain Andre Iguodala, they will have the personal to at least attempt it.  Pacers head coach Frank Vogel had kind words for his departing assistant and stated he believed Shaw will quickly establish himself as one of the premiere coaches in the NBA.  Denver fans are hoping for the same. 

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