After years of searching and too many interviews to count, former player and longtime assistant coach Brian Shaw has finally landed his sought-after gig. Per Benjamin Hochman and The Denver Post, the Denver Nuggets have hired Shaw as their next head coach.
Shaw joins the Nuggets after spending the last two seasons as Frank Vogel's lead assistant with the Indiana Pacers, and he previously worked (and played) under Phil Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers.
And his mentor couldn't have been happier to hear the news:
Happy for BShaw, who got the job in Denver today. I think the Nuggets are going to benefit from his tenure. Good team to run system offense— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) June 25, 2013
Despite garnering heavy interest and numerous interviews for coaching spots over the last few summers, Shaw had been unable to secure a head-coaching position. Hoopsworld's Steve Kyler recently reported that iffy interview skills are what really held him back.
But Shaw didn't need to say too much to convince Denver that he was the right man for their job; the two parties appear to be the perfect fit.
Thanks in part to his 14-year playing career, he's shown an uncanny ability to relate to players. He's highly regarded for his player development skills and was seen as instrumental in the improvements of several young players, including recent first-time All-Star Paul George.
Coming off a 57-win season, the Nuggets employ one of the younger rosters in the league, with four of their five core starters all under the age of 26. But one young player in particular, 25-year-old JaVale McGee, reportedly factored heavily in Denver's decision to let go of reigning Coach of the Year George Karl.
The team was less than thrilled with Karl's handling of McGee, who managed just 18.1 minutes per game after signing a four-year, $44 million contract extension in Denver last summer.
Although I played in the triangle and coached the triangle, I also played in a lot of systems, so that's not something I'm looking to bring to the Nuggets and try to implement. I'm going to look at a lot of film of things the team did well, running was one of them. And I'll continue to build on things they did well and get more of a feel for the personnel and what I think will be conducive to everybody's ability.
Even though Andre Iguodala plans to opt out of his contract and test the free-agent waters, Denver has one of the more athletically gifted rosters in the league. With speedster Ty Lawson running the point, stretch forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari filling the forward spots, and bigs McGee and Kenneth Faried wreaking havoc above the rim, Shaw won't want to restrict his new team's ability to run.
Despite Denver's frenetic offensive pace, the Nuggets did post a top-half defensive rating under Karl last season (102.0). But Shaw will be looking to fill whatever leaks exist in Denver's defense after helping Vogel and the Pacers put together the league's stingiest defense in 2012-13 (96.6 points allowed per 100 possessions).
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
The Nuggets shocked the hoops world when they fired Karl after his award-winning season, but it's hard to think of a coach more perfectly suited for the position than Brian Shaw. Denver now has a roster that's only going to continue to grow right along with its new coach.