Usually NBA head coaches aren’t considered a success if they fail to make the playoffs in their first season. Most are considered failures if they only win 36 of 82 games as a rookie. However Brian Shaw wasn’t the usual rookie head coach for the Denver Nuggets, and Shaw’s 36-win rookie season is widely considered a successful debut by those in and around the NBA.
“I love Brian,” Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly told the Denver Post, “and I love what he did in the most difficult of circumstances — a first-year coach taking over a team that won 57 and having all the injuries? I can’t say enough good things about Brian and the staff.”
It’s always a good sign if the general manager is happy about the job his head coach is doing. For Shaw, it’s an even better sign that Josh Kroenke, the Nuggets owner, is also in agreement that Brian Shaw is the right man for the job after his debut season.
“We feel strongly about him as our coach,” Kroenke told Yahoo Sports on Thursday. “I don’t foresee a scenario or circumstance where he’s going to be anywhere but with the Nuggets next season.”
However, the Nuggets aren’t the only one who noticed Shaw did a great job this year. Shaw’s first season must have been a success because there have been rumors of other teams *cough Knicks cough* that are already trying to pry him from the Denver Nuggets. As much as I wanted to avoid a whole piece on this, because it always felt like gossip to me, it’s now time to officially lay this rumor to rest:
Brian Shaw’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
It’s crazy this gossip continues to go on, but since it’s not stopping I had to address the issue. Multiple Knicks’ and national media outlets point out that Phil Jackson may be able to lure his former player to New York this offseason. Those outlets keep bringing Shaw’s name up as a candidate for the Knicks coaching job despite the fact Brian Shaw has said he’s staying in Denver, despite the fact that Nuggets’ management has said he’s staying in Denver, and despite the fact that all visible signs point to Coach Shaw staying in Denver for at least next season.
Maybe I never even considered the idea that Shaw could be coaching on a non-Nuggets bench next season, because what head coach in their right mind would leave a Nuggets team with lots of potential for a Knicks team that can’t even make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference?
It’s clear the Nuggets love Shaw and they love his potential. Management has had nothing but good things to say about Shaw, and they even backed the coach when there was a public rift between Shaw and Andre Miller (the Nuggets’ eldest vet at the time). The Nuggets also have control because the Knicks need permission from the Nuggets to even speak to Shaw. Based on what Connelly and Kroenke are saying about their guy, it’s unlikely the pair would even think about granting that meeting.
The management duo backed up their encouraging words last Tuesday when they chose Shaw to represent the Nuggets at the draft lottery. Although he wasn’t any good luck, because the Nuggets kept their original pick at No. 11, it’s clear the Nuggets wanted to kill these rumors for good. I’m happy to join them: Brian Shaw is a Denver Nugget, and it’s going to remain that way for the foreseeable future.