Demise of Denver: The Brian Shaw reign must end
April 20th, 2013 the Denver Nuggets and their fans are riding high. The Nuggets just won game one of their first round playoff series against a young Steph Curry, and the Golden State Warriors. The game was won 97-95 thanks to a game-winning layup by veteran leader Andre Miller. The Nuggets finished third in an insanely difficult Western Conference, winning a franchise best 57 games. George Karl is in the midst of his eighth season on the job in Denver, his best yet, and about to be named 2013 NBA Coach of the Year. No one could have envisioned what the Nuggets team would look like just two years later.
Present day Denver; the Nuggets are in a tailspin losing 13 out of their last 14 games by an average of 11 points. No longer a part of the organization are former head coach George Karl, general manager Masai Ujiri, assistant general manager Pete D’Allesandro, or even players like Andre Iguodala, Corey Brewer, Kosta Koufos, and Andre Miller.
Brian Shaw is in his second year on the job as head coach of the Nuggets, guiding them to a dismal 19-32 record. Shaw recently lashed out at his team talking with Nick Groke of the Denver Post, “It just looks like you almost have to try and lose as bad, and in the way we’ve been losing.” He continued, “I can’t make the ball go in on the floor. I can’t slide over and take a charge, or slide my feet and keep somebody out of the paint. I can’t do that.”
Watching the Nuggets play, there is definitely a lack of passion and love for the game that was so evident under George Karl. Brian Shaw has preached half-court sets and slowing down the Nuggets aggressive, running style. One problem, the Denver roster is not built that way. Speedster point guard, and the Nuggets best player, Ty Lawson’s game is running a quick transition style. Shaw is essentially trying to tell a world class sprinter to jog to the finish line.
In Shaw’s first season as head coach, the Nuggets snapped their NBA leading, ten consecutive playoff appearances finishing the 2013-14 season with a 36-46 record. That record was good for 11th in the Western Conference, just one year removed from the franchise record 57 wins. Since Shaw has taken over for Karl, the offense has scored six points less per game and the defense has allowed five points more per game. A combination that speaks to the Nuggets record.
|2014-15||20-33* as of 2/11||Coach: Brian Shaw|
|2013-14||36-46, did not make playoffs-1st time in 10 years||Coach: Brian Shaw|
|2012-13||57-25, lost 1st round||Coach: George Karl|
|2011-12||38-28* lockout shortened season, lost 1st round||Coach: George Karl|
|2010-11||50-32, lost 1st round||Coach: George Karl|
|2009-10||53-29, lost 1st round||Coach: George Karl|
|2008-09||54-28, lost Western Conference Finals||Coach: George Karl|
|2007-08||50-32, lost 1st round||Coach: George Karl|
|2006-07||45-37, lost 1st round||Coach: George Karl|
|2005-06||44-38, lost 1st round||Coach: George Karl|
|2004-05||49-33, lost 1st round||Coach: Jeff Bzdelik|
|2003-04||43-39, lost 1st round||Coach: Jeff Bzdelik|
For Nuggets fans, watching the state of the team crumble has been a hot topic in Denver, making it is hard to place the blame solely on Brian Shaw’s shoulders. A lot of people in Denver will tell you Josh Kroenke, son of owner Stan Kroenke is to blame. Josh took over as team President in the summer of 2010, and at the age of 31 he was suddenly the youngest man to hold such a position in the NBA. While Kroenke’s involvement in the team has come under scrutiny, the day to day workings of the team fall on Shaw’s shoulders.
With a severe lack of leadership, the Nuggets franchise will continue to rack up the losses. The blame needs to be placed on Brian Shaw. Sometimes a person is not made to be a head coach, it is not in their DNA. Shaw has proven to be a great assistant coach in the association for the LA Lakers and the Indiana Pacers, just look at his championship rings as evidence. However, there comes a time when a person needs to admit they are not cut out to do the job, and Brian Shaw is at that point. At 19-32, the Nuggets need to start over, and that begins with their head coach.