Nuggets coach Brian Shaw is known for his honesty to the media. It’s the type of trait that the media and fans like, and it’s the type of trait that his players hate.
When he told several members of the Denver media last week that his players have quit on him, he was begging to be fired. There’s no question the players didn’t appreciate the idea they quit on him. They haven’t rallied around the coach since he said it as the Nuggets lost to the 76ers the day after he suggested that idea. They ended their six-game losing streak on Tuesday night in a 106-96 victory over the Lakers.
It’s hard to believe Shaw is still the Nuggets coach, and odds are he won’t be fired anytime soon. Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly and Nuggets president Josh Kroenke are committed to the beleaguered Nuggets coach. They have high hopes he can evolve as a coach, even though he has showed he hasn’t.
This is a mistake. Listen, it’s not Shaw’s fault the team stinks. It’s the players. They are not good at all. They have stunk for the last two seasons. They don’t play defense, and they can’t shoot. They are fundamentally bad at playing the game.
Still, the Nuggets can’t have Shaw coaching the players if they don’t like playing for him. Not when his players are not paying attention to him in the huddle. Not when guys such as Arron Afflalo and Kenneth Faried have openly expressed their disdain towards him. Not when guys are approaching this game as work rather than looking at it as competition.
Shaw’s problem is not his record. His problem is he can’t relate to his players. He can’t communicate with them. He can’t get guys to buy in to him. If he has to read a book on how to work with his players as head coach, that is not a good thing.
His problem started last year when Ty Lawson bristled about his halfcourt offense. The Nuggets point guard is more suited to play in a run-and-gun offense. Andre Miller wasn’t a fan of it, either, and he was not shy of ripping Shaw.
From then, he hasn’t won his players over. He hasn’t been able to get the maximum out of his players. Either guys like Lawson never developed or guys like Faried was never good.
Those are what should get Shaw fired.
It’s hard to think Shaw will get his players back after he accused his players of quitting on him. That’s why there’s no point keeping him around anymore. He should have been fired as soon as the Nuggets came home from a three-game road trip.
Kroneke will keep his coach, so that he does not want to admit he screwed up firing Karl as the coach. He thought Shaw was a guy that can develop players better. He thought his coach could take the Nuggets to the next step. He thought his coach was the right coach to run a halfcourt offense.
It’s hard to blame Kroneke to why he liked Shaw when he hired him. After all, the Nuggets head coach was highly regarded as the Pacers assistant coach for developing young players and working well with players.
The Nuggets want Shaw to succeed after investing so much on him. That’s all well and good, but he has showed that he has been overmatched as coach. He can’t run offensive players for Lawson. His offense is hard to watch. The young players such as Faried and Lawson have gotten worse.
The coach is not getting better. He hasn’t showed signs he can take the Nuggets from Point A to Point B. He hasn’t showed any tangible evidence that he can get better as coach.
That’s why the Nuggets are better off firing him now rather than compounding the problem.
Let’s face it. The Nuggets need to clean house. They have to fire Connelly based on the fact he has showed he can’t build a team or find talent to make the team better. They also need to dump all their players on the roster.
By firing Shaw, this gives the new general manager a chance to hire his own coach in overseeing a rebuilding project that should happen for the Nuggets. That’s why it makes sense to clean house along with firing their head coach.
There’s no reason to keep the Nuggets coach. The guys are done with him. It’s a situation that has become toxic for him to stay. He shouldn’t have to put up with this, and neither should the fans that are still watching the Nuggets.
Maybe Shaw will get better when he coaches for another NBA team in a few years, but it isn’t happening here. This hasn’t work. This isn’t going to work.
The sooner Nuggets fire Shaw, the better off everyone will be.
The hiring is a mistake, and there should be no reason to keep this any longer.
Follow or Contact Leslie Monteiro: @LightRodWriter