Brian Shaw hired as Denver Nuggets head coach

June 25, 2013

Finally, Brian Shaw will get his chance to be a head coach.

After spending many years on the coaching interview circuit while learning the trade as an assistant coach, Brian Shaw today was named as the 20th head coach in the history of the Denver Nuggets franchise by team president Josh Kroenke.

“I appreciate the opportunity that the Kroenke family, general manager Tim Connelly and the entire Nuggets organization have given me,” Shaw said. “Josh has built a quality team and front office and I look forward to joining that nucleus. It’s a talented roster with a great foundation. As a player and a coach, my primary goal has always been to win a championship. I sincerely believe that Josh and Tim share that same vision.”

Shaw joins the Nuggets after two seasons as associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers, who advanced to the 2013 Eastern Conference finals. Prior to that, he spent seven seasons as an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers, who won two NBA titles while Shaw was a member of the coaching staff.

During his time in Los Angeles, Shaw assisted 11-time title-winning coach Phil Jackson and worked closely with All-Stars such as Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Shaquille O’Neal.

"I was extremely impressed with Brian's intelligence, knowledge of the game, and intangible qualities, both when he played for me and when he was an assistant coach on my staff," Jackson said. "He's one of the brightest young coaches in the game and has a great future. I commend the Nuggets for recognizing this and for giving him this opportunity."

What Nuggets fans will want to know is whether Shaw plans to employ a triangle-based, half court attack utilized by his mentor, Jackson, or instead continues the team's push-the-pace, uptempo style established by former coach George Karl.

Shaw, 47, is a five-time NBA champion who played a major role in helping forward Paul George and center Roy Hibbert develop into All-Stars during his two seasons in Indiana. The Pacers went 49-32 and finished with the third-best record in the East in 2012-13.

That ability to develop talent and to teach will be important in Denver, as the Nuggets' roster contains many young players.

“After completing a thorough process, we are thrilled to welcome Brian as the next head coach of the Denver Nuggets,” Kroenke said. “He brings a remarkable pedigree of success as both a championship player and a championship coach.”

Shaw also reportedly interviewed with both the Los Angeles Clippers and the Brooklyn Nets this offseason.

Drafted 24th overall by Boston in 1988, Shaw played 14 NBA seasons with Celtics, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, and L.A. Lakers. He was a member of Los Angeles’ back-to-back-to-back title teams (2000, 2001, and 2002) and he won a gold medal with Team USA at the 1986 FIBA World Championship.

“Through his experiences as a player and a coach, Brian has a proven track record of success,” Connelly said. “He has been around some of the greatest players in NBA history and studied highly respected coaching styles with both L.A. and Indiana.”

Laker fans will forever remember his clutch three-point shooting in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals against Portland, which helped to spark a rally and to propel LA into the NBA Finals.

Shaw played collegiately at Saint Mary’s College of California and UC Santa Barbara, where he was the Big West Conference Player of the Year in 1988. The Gauchos later retired his No. 22 jersey.

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

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