The Denver Nuggets have lost 10 of their last 11 games including Saturday night’s six-point loss to Portland. Since Feb. 7, they have had two five-game losing streaks. They are losing by an average of 19 points a game and the team is hearing about the poor play from head coach Brian Shaw.
Shaw has questioned his team’s effort repeatedly He’s called the the players out both in the media and in the locker room according to various media reports. Even after the close Portland loss on Saturday night, Shaw took a shot.
“I don’t know how many of these guys have gotten into fights in their life, but if I’m going down, I’m going down swinging,” Shaw said. “I’m not just going to keep taking blows and taking blows and not deliver any myself. That’s all I want to see. I just want to see some fight.”
This tune has become a recurring theme for Shaw. That quote is very similar to what he told the media at his press conference after the Nuggets lost to the Bulls on Feb. 21.
“It’s unfortunate,” Shaw said. “It’s a nationally televised game that we’re professionals and as a staff we have to beg guys to give effort when they play.
“I finished most of the fourth quarter with our two new players, Vesely and Aaron Brooks, with our young guys. So they’re going to be hungry, they’re going to want to play. They’re going to go out and make a lot of mistakes. But if they want to play, and the other guys don’t want to play, then I’m going to play the guys who want to put forth the effort and want to play like professionals and go out and earn their paychecks.”
For a first-year coach, he sure isn’t shy about saying this stuff to the media and some in Denver are surprised he’s so blunt after the George Karl years. But after saying it over and over again, is he going over the top and are players tuning him out?
Personally, I think he’s just telling the truth. The Nuggets have flat out stunk since February started. Although we never saw George Karl go at his players like this, George wasn’t losing games by 20 points consistently every night.
It’d be one thing if Shaw blasted his players after one loss following a five-game winning streak..
However, it’s completely fair for the head coach to be pissed about losing so badly. It’s completely fair to be publicly embarrassed that the Nuggets only scored eight points in the first quarter against Brooklyn.
After all, he’s not the only one clowning the Nuggets in the media.
“This felt like a pickup game tonight,” Joe Johnson said after the Nets shellacked the Nuggets. “It didn’t even feel like a real game.”
I WANT a coach who hates to lose. Seeing that gives me hope that he’ll get things on the right track. It’s good to have a coach who expects to win, or at least compete, despite the Denver Nuggets being without six players to injury.
Also, Shaw is solution orientated. It would be extremely annoying if the coach trashed the team and then went into the next practice without changing anything that he’s doing. But, instead he’s trying all sorts of things to get this team winning again.
According to the Denver Post, the coach even laced up the old sneakers and played against his players in the shootaround after the Nets loss. He’s also banned junk food in the locker room and continued to tweak lineups in hopes of getting the effort he desires.
So, as long as this team is having games like the embarrassment to Brooklyn, Shaw should continue to be pissed, and it’s okay to let the media and fans know he is pissed, instead of just giving us the same old ‘coach speak.’
“I just think [Shaw] wants to win and I think that’s what it comes down to,” Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler told Denver Stiffs. “I don’t take that as anything harmful. He’s not saying things that are not true and he’s not trying to disrespect any of the players, he’s just addressing the situation at hand.”
If the Nuggets are getting tired of hearing it, I’ve got a solution: WIN.