And that would have been the best-case scenario.
Per Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears, Shaw had his entire team over to his house for a barbecue on Tuesday. After the players left on the team bus for their San Francisco hotel, Shaw made one final sweep for any leftover trash.
What he found instead was his second-year shooting guard Fournier passed out on his patio furniture, he told Spears:
I locked up everything, and everything seemed in order before I was going to walk out. I went on the deck to make sure there weren't any bottles or plates laying around. I saw a leg and a hat on one of the chaise lounges outside. I went over and he was knocked out.
Shaw's gathering might have been a blast, but it wasn't the kind of fun you're probably thinking. Fournier didn't party himself to sleep; he reportedly had been under the weather for days. A sickness, a full stomach and a warm afternoon under the Bay Area sky left Fournier dozing off before he knew what hit him.
Luckily, Shaw made that final sweep. If not, Fournier could have had an uncomfortably intimate, potentially dangerous encounter with his coach's guard dogs, Shaw explained:
I have the protection dogs and the players were trying to see them and they were agitating my dogs. One of my dogs had actually jumped over the fence and onto my courtyard. [Fournier] would've been stuck out there with them.
Stuck with no "service or any juice" in his cell phone, Shaw said.
Fournier dubbed the event a "funny story," but understands it could have been much worse.
"He saved my life," he said of his coach.
Evan Fournier gets the steal and then nails the half court shot at the buzzer to put Denver up 91-82 at the end of three.— Dime Update (@DimeUpdate) January 16, 2014
Just one savior helping another, I guess.
Remember when the basketball world worried that Shaw, a former assistant and player under coaching legend Phil Jackson, wouldn't be innovative as a signal-caller? That he'd be married to Jackson's famed triangle system and wouldn't bring his own ideas to the game?
Well, it turns out that Shaw is an inventor.
If "coach's intuition" enters our vernacular the way "mother's intuition" has, this story will be its takeoff point.
Fortunately, that's all this will be. This could have had a much different outcome.