Suffice it to say, things have not gone well in Brian Shaw's first season as head coach of the Denver Nuggets. After finishing last year at 57-25 and third in the Western Conference with George Karl as coach, the team is sitting at 25-29 and 11th in the conference, seven games out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
If that weren't bad enough, the team took a serious turn for the worse on Friday against the Chicago Bulls, losing 117-89. Apparently, Shaw has had enough of the losing. Most importantly, he's fed up with the lack of effort the Nuggets have demonstrated.
#Nuggets coach Brian Shaw: "I felt like we had some guys that just decided they weren’t going to play tonight."— Denver Nuggets (@denvernuggets) February 22, 2014
Shaw cont'd: "It’s unfortunate. We’re professionals, and as a staff we have to beg guys to give effort when they play." #Nuggets— Denver Nuggets (@denvernuggets) February 22, 2014
Denver is admittedly hurting right now without point guard Ty Lawson. Yet the performance against Chicago was unacceptable, as the Nuggets allowed an alarming 69 points in the first half. They weren't much better on offense, either, going into intermission trailing 69-46.
Since Shaw clearly felt pride wasn't enough of a motivating factor for his team, he talked about going after the players where they'd feel it most—their pocketbooks.
Shaw cont'd: "I told our team, I wish paychecks were predicated on night to night performance." #Nuggets— Denver Nuggets (@denvernuggets) February 22, 2014
Shaw cont'd: "If you play like an uninspired player, then either you don’t get paid, or you get paid like an uninspired player."— Denver Nuggets (@denvernuggets) February 22, 2014
For Shaw, part of the frustration stems from the fact the Nuggets had a solid showing the night before, winning 101-90. Of course, they beat the lowly Milwaukee Bucks.
But still, you'd think a team like Chicago, who poses a legitimate threat, would be enough to inspire Shaw's players. Apparently not.
More Shaw: "We act like the big bad wolf against Milwaukee. Then we come in against the Bulls and we tuck our tails, and we hide."— Denver Nuggets (@denvernuggets) February 22, 2014
More Shaw: "We don’t defend at all from the onset of the game until the end. And thus another 30 point loss for us on the road."— Denver Nuggets (@denvernuggets) February 22, 2014
The ultimate solution, which Shaw finally alluded to, is to take away playing time from those who don't put forth effort. As much as he'd probably like to dock the players' pay, it's not within his power to do so. The one currency he does have, however, is minutes, and he intends to use it.
Final Shaw: "I’m going to play the guys who want to put forth the effort & act like professionals & go out and earn their paychecks."— Denver Nuggets (@denvernuggets) February 22, 2014
Shaw better hope that does the trick. The Nuggets are sinking fast in a ridiculously difficult Western Conference. They don't have much time to lose—literally and figuratively.
Brian Shaw hates this roster and this roster seems to hate him.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) February 22, 2014
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