There's no telling whether or not this was JaVale McGee's idea, but the Denver Nuggets have found the anti-Mike Rice.
Instead of throwing balls at his players, Brian Shaw is allowing the roles to be reversed. He's getting hit in the head when players make free throws, according to NBA.com's Jeff Caplan, who relayed a quote directly from the mouth of the first-year head coach:
What I did was I joked with the guys that the safest place in the building to stand when we’re at the free-throw line is right underneath the net. So, I gave everybody on the team basically a chance to shoot a free throw with myself standing under the net with my hands down, where, if they made it, the ball would hit me on top of the head.
It's desperation time for the Nuggets, who have been absolutely atrocious at the charity stripe. Unfortunately, the free-throw line still deserves that moniker, even if it's been far more charitable to opponents than Denver.
According to Basketball-Reference, the Nuggets are one of four teams in the NBA failing to make even 70 percent of their freebies. That's not a good club to be in, and this new idea is designed to leave the Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Bobcats as the only three members.
If it works, Denver becomes even more dangerous. This is a deep team with a potent home-court advantage, so it's still right in the thick of the race for a playoff spot in the difficult Western Conference. Yes, even though Danilo Gallinari is still out and Andre Iguodala plays for the Golden State Warriors.
Plus, as Trey Kerby of "The Starters" writes, this drill is pretty fantastic: "So basically, this is the greatest shooting drill I’ve ever heard of. Who wouldn’t want to bonk their coach in the head after he’s been yelling at them for a month? Exactly."
There's just one problem.
If the drill works, the Nuggets will be making more free throws. And that means more hits to the head if you're Shaw.
So, how is he going to have the brain cells left to come up with his next brilliant idea?