“All season long when I was harping on effort and just going out and competing, that’s all I want,” Brian Shaw told the Denver Post after last Friday’s loss to the Spurs. “I’ve always said I can live with us taking losses if we go out and compete.”
By running a play for Timofey Mozgov to shoot a three at the end of Monday night’s loss to the Memphis Grizzles, the Nuggets’ head coach proved he doesn’t mind taking a loss when the team played well. But trying to end a three game losing streak by running a play for a career 1-for-15, or 6.7 percent, three-point shooter is just taking it too far.
That’s a play you can run in practice at the end of a scrimmage, but at the end of a game against a Western Conference playoff team? That’s counterproductive for a team wanting to head into the offseason with some positive momentum. What are we trying to prove? Was Shaw trying to reward Mozgov for a 23-point, 10-rebound game? IF YOU GO TO THE RUSSIAN, YOU AT LEAST GIVE IT TO HIM IN THE POST WHEN YOUR DOWN TWO.
I’ve been a Shaw supporter all season, and I still think we’re in good hands. But when you’re trying to install a system that “wins in the playoffs” as the Nuggets often say, and you get a playoff type game against a Memphis team fighting for their playoff lives, you use that situation for practice. The best practice for late game situations is late game situations, and running a designed play for Mozgov to shoot a three just isn’t something any fan wants to see.
The highlight of the season for me will probably be Randy Foye‘s game winner from DEEP to beat the Clippers. If we’re going for three, at least give Foye (whose played clutch all season) a shot to relive the Clippers shot. After all, we pay Foye $4.5 million a year to hit three pointers. Last night was our chance at getting Ty Lawson some much needed practice at carrying the team in the final seconds, and we spent it on a giving a center more three point practice.
Yea, I’m blowing up a bit about the play call. I know Shaw’s probably just showing he is a rookie head coach after all. I’m wearing from the frustration that comes from not being in the playoff race for the first time in a decade. And it doesn’t help dealing with the strangeness of following Knicks’ scores closely, knowing those games have more bearing on the Nuggets’ future than our own games.
But I still can’t believe we went Mozgov for 3 to win the game. Not at home, and not when you’re down two. Brain Shaw still needs to show us he’s about winning the slow-down, less-than-100-point type of games like Monday night’s 94-92 final.
“I told our team I wish paychecks were predicated on night-to-night performance,” Shaw ripped his players in a statement he told the Denver Post earlier this season. “So if you play like a star on a given night then you get paid like a star.”
You wouldn’t have got paid last night based on that logic, Brian Shaw.