Browman Blog: Shaw makes good first impression

Denver Nuggets coach shows genuine care for players
by Aaron Lopez

If you never get another chance to make a first impression, then Brian Shaw’s tenure as the 20th coach in franchise history is off to a good start.

Immediately liked the guy 5 minutes into his introductory press conference. However, as a disclaimer, I should tell you I pretty much like everybody.

There are two exceptions. I’m not fond of the people who speed up when you are trying to change lanes, and I canʼt say I like Raider fans too much. Brian Shaw may make me re-evaluate the latter.

Shaw said a lot of great things during his press conference, but he did admit, being from Oakland, he’s a Raider fan. Clearly a smart man, he followed that up saying he really likes Peyton Manning. I’m back to liking this guy.

Brian calls himself a “young coach, with an old soul.” Sadly, this seems to be too true.

Brian had to grow up quickly, when in 1993, in his mid-20s, his parents and sister, his entire immediate family, were killed in a car crash. The only survivor was his niece and namesake, 11-month old Briana. With the help of his Aunt Marie, Shaw took on the responsibility of raising his niece.

After being traded and released, passed over for a head coaching job multiple times, this is a man whose personal life has given him perspective. Not that he isn’t highly competitive and wants to win, but you get the sense that over the years he is a man that has a handle on where basketball fits into life.

When it comes to hoops, he has an impressive resume. Shaw is a five-time NBA champion – three times as a player and twice as a coach.

He’s a man who will demand a defensive priority from his teams and will preach fundamentals 24/7. Nuggets players, if you’re not ready to work on your footwork, ball handling skills and passing, you’re going to have a long season ahead of you.

He also understands the situation he’s in, admitting that “people come to see the players play,” and not the coaches coach.

That being said, he wants to have a good connection with his new player in Denver, as he did with the Pacers. He readily admits, these days you have to coach in different ways, because these are different times.

“Some of the players I have coached are amazed at how short the shorts were during my days, and we had no cell phones,” he joked.

Unthinkable isn’t it?

I thought one of the most insightful things he said was: “Players don’t care about how much you know, they want to know how much you care.”

In the end, itʼs ultimately about if Brian Shaw can coach.

But after his press conference, I am sure he cares.