Brian Shaw is not a triangle guy. Yes, he played in the system with great success when he suited up for the Lakers, then he was the lead assistant to Phil Jackson for years. But he also coached with Frank Vogel in Indiana, he was drafted into the NBA on the Larry Bird era Celtics — he has a wealth of basketball knowledge.
But the shadow of Jackson and those 11 rings still hangs over Shaw as he starts his first head coaching job in Denver.
Shaw would love to have his mentor check in on his team, but he’s not reaching out to Jackson for a more formal role ala Jackson and Tex Winter, he told Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
“No,” Shaw said with a laugh Sunday when asked if he had any plans to coerce the Zen Master out of retirement to join his coaching staff. “He can be my Tex? No. No….
“I want to invite him to come and watch us practice and just kind of see how I’m doing,” said Shaw.
With all due respect to the great basketball mind of Tex Winter, that’s not the role Jackson envisions for himself at this point. He sees something more like Jerry West or Pat Riley have, a consultant whose voice is heard but does not have to deal with the day-to-day tedium of a front office job.
Plus Shaw is working to get out of that shadow, to be his own man.
“Going to Indiana the last two years was probably the best thing that could have happened to me, in retrospect looking back at it,” said Shaw, who was the associate head coach of the Indiana before landing the Nuggets job. “I had only known one way of doing things and being under Frank Vogel in Indiana and seeing the way that he prepared for the games, the way he practiced, was more along the lines of what the majority of the teams I would imagine do things. Phil had a very unique way of doing things so it was nice (to be in Indiana). I feel more well-rounded now, or more rounded I should say, having experienced the last two years in Indiana.”
And the Nuggets are not going to run the triangle. A couple sets may look familiar — most of the teams in the league run one or two triangle aspects — but that’s about it. This is a different team. Shaw’s team.