It was a long time coming, but Brian Shaw is finally a head coach in the NBA.
UPDATE: Tuesday, June 25, at 4:07 p.m. ET by Eric Ball
---End of Update---
According to Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post, the 47-year-old has agreed to terms with the Denver Nuggets.
Nuggets hire Pacers asst BRIAN SHAW as coach, source tells Denver Post. Story coming: http://t.co/QeT8EZMw55— Benjamin Hochman (@nuggetsnews) June 24, 2013
Shaw spoke to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports and commented on his first head coaching job.
"Appreciate the opportunity & grateful that Josh Kroenke & Tim Connelly had faith in me to do the job," new Nuggets coach Brian Shaw told Y!— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) June 25, 2013
The Nuggets coach reflected on the long journey it has been to become a head coach when he spoke with Ramona Shelburne of ESPN LA:
Brian Shaw: "I'm so appreciative for the opportunity. It's been a long time coming. I've been prepared by the best of the best."— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 25, 2013
Shaw: "There were times I was frustrated but my family kept telling me it wasn't my time or right situation, and to keep the faith"— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 25, 2013
Shaw: "There's only 30 of these jobs out there. There's a lot of competition. I just feel fortunate & blessed to have one of those jobs now"— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 25, 2013
The new Nuggets coach also gave Hochman some insight into what his philosophy will be as he tries to mold Denver into a title contender.
Here's link to our Shaw story: http://t.co/Sn28TNDYVu .. also, on phone he told me he prob won't run triangle with Den— Benjamin Hochman (@nuggetsnews) June 25, 2013
You won't find many hirings that are more "deserved" than this one. After 15 professional seasons (14 in the NBA) as a player, and another nine as a coach, Shaw established himself as arguably the most qualified assistant in the NBA. He will be leaving Pacers coach Frank Vogel, who had nothing but praise for him when he spoke briefly with Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star:
More Vogel on Shaw: "Denver just got one of the best head coaches this league will see for years to come."— Mike Wells (@MikeWellsNBA) June 25, 2013
But while his foray into the head coaching ranks always seemed inevitable, he struggled to land that leading role for an NBA team. When Phil Jackson retired after the 2011 season, Shaw garnered serious consideration for the Los Angeles Lakers job, but was passed up for Mike Brown instead.
How would you grade this hire?
After retiring from the Lakers as a player in 2003, he joined their staff in 2005. He spent seven seasons there, developing crucial experience under Jackson and helping contribute toward two NBA titles in 2009 and 2010.
In 2011, he left Los Angeles for Indiana to work with new head coach Frank Vogel and was once again a vital success, helping the Pacers to two incredibly successful seasons and postseason runs.
Shaw is highly respected around the league and will serve as a fine leader, but he has also spent the better part of the last 25 years continuing to learn the game and gain experience.
In short, he has the right blend of leadership skills and basketball savvy. He has already conquered the assistant coaching world, and he should only continue to rack up wins in the future.