On Tuesday afternoon, it was reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports that the Denver Nuggets have fired head coach Brian Shaw, who coached them to a 56-85 record during his tenure with the team. Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly thanked Shaw for his services in a statement released yesterday.
“I want to sincerely thank Brian for his time with our organization,” said Connelly. “You won’t find a better guy than Brian and he is one of the brightest basketball minds I’ve ever been around. Unfortunately things didn’t go as we hoped, but we know with his basketball acumen that he has a very bright future ahead of him.”
In the beginning of the season Denver was in the hunt for the Western Conference’s 8th and final playoff spot, but strife between Shaw and the roster resulted in the Nuggets’ downfall.
It was reported on numerous occasions that several members of Denver’s roster had clashed with Shaw, with the latest rumor being that the Nuggets broke their huddle with a chant of “1-2-3… six weeks,” during their 104-82 loss to the Utah Jazz last Friday. The chant referenced how many weeks remain until the offseason hits. It had been speculated that Shaw was unable to reach his players, and that Nuggets players gave minimal effort because they disliked playing for him.
Zach Lowe of Grantland also reported that there was conflict between Shaw and Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson throughout the course of the season:
Shaw and Lawson had some tense locker-room moments this season, per several league sources. Faried has plateaued/regressed. Just bad times.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) March 3, 2015
Assistant coach Melvin Hunt will serve as Denver’s interim head coach for the remainder of the season, and he got off to an encouraging start with a 106-95 home win over the Milwaukee Bucks last night.
Despite his underwhelming stint as Denver’s head man, Indiana Pacers big man David West believes that Shaw got axed too early, and cited the lack of veteran leadership on the roster as the reason why the Nuggets have had a wayward season.
David West on Brian Shaw being fired: “That’s bullshit. No grownups on the roster. You can’t win without grownups.”
— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) March 3, 2015
Pacers swingman Paul George echoed the same sentiment, taking to Twitter to voice his opinion on the situation.
Don’t understand how you can’t play for B Shaw!
— Paul George (@Yg_Trece) March 4, 2015
Shaw served as an assistant coach for the Pacers for two years, and was a huge factor in the emergence of Paul George. It’s highly possible that Shaw may make a return to Indiana, but that’s something that won’t be explored until the offseason according to Scott Agness. For now, Shaw will try to learn from his mistakes and make sure they don’t replicate themselves during any future endeavors.