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Brian Shaw was just a symptom of Nuggets’ sickness

Colin D. | March 3, 2015

It’s a team without an identity. It’s a team that says it wants to win but doesn’t appear to know how to. It’s a team for whom relative success (under Karl) wasn’t enough. It’s a team that wants to get to the next level but isn’t capable of it because the sickness starts at the top.”

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Well, it looks like we won’t have old Brian Shaw to kick around anymore. After less than two full seasons as the head coach of the Nuggets Shaw has been handed his walking papers. Kroenke Sports apparently realized that the damage being done to the reputation of the franchise on a nightly basis threatened to leave it in ruin. If the front office didn’t do something to appease the fan base there wouldn’t be many supporters left. The Nuggets haven’t just been losing – they’ve been getting brutally beaten  – and not always by more talented teams.

I was a bit surprised that Shaw survived the All Star break. It seemed like the writing was on the wall already. It’s hard to say how Shaw lasted as long as he did. My best guess is that the team was holding out hope that he could rally his troops and that the Nuggets would begin to show some improvement – to give fans a reason to feel somewhat positive heading into next season. Instead things went from bad to worse. The players quit – and reportedly began joking about hitting the beach in a few weeks. The Nuggets went from being one of the bad teams in the NBA to being the most hopeless of all – worse than even the 76ers, the Timberwolves, the Knicks and the Lakers. Each of those teams has at least one bright spot and gives their fans some reason to feel optimistic about the future.

Now that Shaw is gone Nuggets fans can at least be hopeful that he will be replaced by a coach that favors a more interesting style of basketball than he does but beyond that I see little reason to think that the team is suddenly pointed in the right direction. Brian Shaw was not doing a very good job but his failings were only symptoms of what I will call Nuggets’ sickness.

It’s a team without an identity. It’s a team that says it wants to win but doesn’t appear to know how to. It’s a team for whom relative success (under Karl) wasn’t enough. It’s a team that wants to get to the next level but isn’t capable of it because the sickness starts at the top.

Stan Kroenke has his paws in everything – including the race to bring the NFL back to LA. To say that he’s got bigger fish to fry than the pathetic Nuggets is a gross understatement. So he turned the Nuggets over to his thirty-something year old son, Josh who, aside from being an heir to the Wal-Mart fortune, has little on his resume to show he’s capable of running one professional sports franchise – much less three (the Avs, Nuggets and Rapids).

Josh Kroenke employed a first-time general manager in Tim Connelly to oversee day-to-day operations of the Nuggets, chasing off Masai Ujiri. Connelly has a decent enough resume but the Nuggets are the first team he has been in charge of and the results of his leadership have not been good. Between Josh Kroenke and Tim Connelly it’s the blind leading the blind on Chopper Circle. But team Presidents and GMs don’t typically fire themselves. Instead they fire coaches. And Shaw won’t be the last fall guy in Denver. At the rate things are going the Nuggets should expect to have another new coach soon and another soon after that because no coach will succeed here so long as he’s being set up to fail by an incompetent front office.  

Written by Colin D.

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