Paul George openly wonders how Nuggets couldn’t play for Brian Shaw


Pacers players are taking sides.

In the dispute between Nuggets players and Brian Shaw that ultimately led to Shaw’s firing, Indiana players are supporting their former assistant coach over their peers in Denver.

First, David West said the Nuggets weren’t “grownups.”

Now, Paul George is making his stance clear:

I’m also surprised the Nuggets players didn’t connect better with Shaw, but let’s not automatically pin that on the players. Even if Shaw built strong relationships in Indiana, communicating with players as head coach is a different challenge.

All evidence points to Shaw not being up to it. Maybe the players didn’t help, but by the time they were counting down weeks until season’s end, the dynamic was sufficiently broken.

Shaw definitely has positive attributes, and it’s telling these Pacers players are coming out so strongly on an issue they could easily sidestep. But I’d have a lot of reservations about making him my team’s head coach after what happened in Denver.

There should at least be an assistant’s job in Indiana waiting for him next season, though.

Nuggets need to decide direction, then hire coach


Brian Shaw needed to be let go; it had become very clear he had lost the locker room. The team is 20-39 and in a free fall. Frankly, the Nuggets should have done this sooner (or waited until the summer).

Of course, as soon as the vacancy came up a list of potential long-term successors started to float around — Mike D’Antoni, Avery Bradley, Alvin Gentry, Mike Malone, Vinny Del Negro.  But before the Nuggets start interviewing candidates, they need to sit down and answer one question:

What kind of team are they trying to build?

The seeds of Brian Shaw’s disaster of a tenure were sewn as he was hired. Remember that a couple of years ago the Nuggets had just completed a 57-win season and were considered very dangerous for the playoffs until Danilo Gallinari went down just before the postseason started (the shorthanded Nuggets lost in the first round). Then came a tough summer, which started when GM Masai Ujiri left for Toronto. Coach George Karl was in the last year of his contract and rather than extend him and give him more power in the organization, team president Josh Kronkie canned Karl.

The Nuggets hired Shaw, who was one of the top assistant coaches out there at the time, and he seemed ready. Management and Shaw were on the same page about wanting better defense and maybe slowing down the tempo more — not so much running and gunning. The problem was the roster — starting with Ty Lawson at the point and moving through the entire rotation — was built for up-tempo basketball. The Nuggets didn’t go out and reshape the roster to fit Shaw’s style, so he was stuck trying to fit square pegs into round holes.

Then came a perfect storm of problems. Shaw struggled to communicate and get the players to buy into his vision. As David West noted, this was not a mature locker room Shaw was trying to reach. Shaw didn’t adapt his system. Injuries continued to be an issue, with Gallinari never being the same, JaVale McGee and others missing extended time. It all started to spiral downhill, picking up momentum as the slide got worse this season.

Shaw deserves blame here; he deserved to be let go. But the seeds of the friction that was his demise ties back to a real disconnect between the style Shaw wanted to coach — what management said it wanted — and the roster he was given.

Denver needs to figure out what kind of team it wants to be before it hires its next coach.

With much of the current roster under contract for another year, if they want to go up tempo then Alvin Gentry would be an excellent fit. Mike D’Antoni could work well (again, if you give him a roster that fits his very particular tastes).

If the Nuggets want a more defensive-oriented team, Malone would be a great call. But while he can bring discipline, there is a need for a roster overhaul to make that happen. The Nuggets have the flexibility and cap space (especially after the salary cap jumps in 2016) to make roster changes if they so choose.

The Nuggets, known for not spending on coaches and front office people like other franchise, may go with a top assistant coach and give him his first time job (Boston assistant Jay Larranaga is suggested by Ken Berger of

Whatever they do they need to think it through and get the entire organization on the same page. It sounds like they are leaning that way.

Pacers’ David West on Nuggets firing Brian Shaw: ‘That’s bullsh-t. No grownups on the roster.’


Brian Shaw was fired as head coach of the Nuggets on Tuesday, which didn’t exactly come as a complete surprise.

The team was in a complete tailspin, having won just twice in its last 21 games, and with the players publicly counting down the days left in the rest of their miserable regular season, it was clear that Shaw had lost the locker room, which left the organization no choice.

But many believe the problems in Denver go well beyond the head coach — and that includes a prominent member of the Indiana Pacers.

From Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports:

Pacers were in practice when news of B-Shaw being fired came out. All very aware of the news, guys that were here with him were upset.

David West on Brian Shaw being fired: “That’s bullsh-t. No grownups on the roster. You can’t win without grownups.”

There is certainly a complete lack of strong veteran voices (like West’s) in the Denver locker room, and it’s true that the way the roster was constructed was flawed from the very start.

But a head coach needs to command respect and be able to motivate players under a variety of scenarios and circumstances, and with reports emerging that Shaw clashed with Ty Lawson (and resorted to silly stunts to try to get the players’ attention), it’s clear he wasn’t yet ready to properly handle all of the head coaching position’s tricky responsibilities.

Shaw was an assistant coach with the Pacers before landing the head coaching job in Denver, which explains why West so quickly came to his defense.

David West after Kevin Garnett blows in his ear: ‘I think (Lance Stephenson’s) was more sensual’


Early on in the Pacers’ 110-85 win over the Nets on Saturday, Kevin Garnett did something unseemly to David West.

Garnett appeared to Blow in West’s ear — or if not in his ear specifically, directly into his face.

West immediately retaliated with a shove, and received a technical foul — which was likely Garnett’s goal all along, to get his opponent off his game.

We saw something similar, of course, between Lance Stephenson and LeBron James, when the Pacers faced the Heat in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.

West was clearly heated at the time, but was willing to joke about the silliness of the situation afterward.

From Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star:

“Yeah, I didn’t like that,” West said. “I just know it was too close and I didn’t like it. I don’t really play them games. We’re out there to play basketball so let’s play basketball. Everybody was kinda looking at what made me push him or whatever, (I) told ’em, ‘he blew in my face.'”

Then, recognizing the absurdity of the Lance-like moment, West began to smile.

“An aggressive blow at that,” West described. “I think Lance’s was more sensual. That was an aggressive one.”

West is known as one of the more legitimate tough guys among his fellow players, while Garnett has a reputation of being all bark and no bite — i.e., essentially the opposite.

Being “aggressive” in that way is Garnett’s attempt at getting inside his opponent’s head. But after the shove from West early on, I’m guessing Garnett was on his best behavior for the remainder of this one.

Kevin Garnett blows in David West’s ear, West retaliates and gets technical (VIDEO)


Kevin Garnett will do anything to get in the head of an opponent… but imitate Lance Stephenson?

Yup. And it worked.

During the first half of Indiana’s visit to Brooklyn, Garnett blew in the ear of Pacers’ veteran David West, who took a little offense at that and pushed KG. The referees blew the whistle and hit West with a technical for the shove.

Of course, then Pacer Lance Stephenson became a meme after he blew in LeBron James’ ear during the playoffs last season. It didn’t really bother LeBron, and West moved on from this pretty quickly. But I somehow doubt KG will become a meme.

This just fits with Garnett’s personality.