The Denver Nuggets have fired head coach Brian Shaw, the team announced on Tuesday.
The Nuggets have had a miserable season. They’re 13th in the Western Conference at 20-39.
Throughout the year, there has been a public disconnect growing between Shaw and his players.
In February, Shaw openly wondered if his team was trying to lose games, saying:
“I’d have more respect if guys just told me they didn’t feel like playing tonight from the start.”
“I think it’s hard to try to lose, try to tank, try to go out there with guys who are competing with you and not compete back. It’s harder to do that than to just put forth the effort in the first place.”
Later, as the trade deadline approached, Zach Lowe reported that basically any player on the Nuggets was available, and noted that Shaw and point guard Ty Lawson had clashed at times. Lowe also said that Shaw was considering getting rid of morning shoot-arounds because ” players like the nightlife” — meaning Nuggets players weren’t entirely up for preparing for games.
During a Nuggets-Lakers game, TNT sideline reporter Rachel Nichols reported that Shaw admitted he was reading books on how to motivate millennials:
“Head coach Brian Shaw has acknowledged he’s had some trouble communicating with his players, and it’s gotten so bad that he told us he started reading some books on how to relate to millennials, or Generation Y players as he put it. Shaw said he’s been frustrated that these players seem to need more praise than in his day, that they’re easily distracted.”
Most recently, players seemed to show their most outright form of mutiny. Dempsey reported that during the Nuggets’ 22-point loss to the Utah Jazz Saturday night, players huddled and chanted, “1, 2, 3 — SIX!” referring to the six weeks remaining in the season. Shaw said after the game that the chant referred to a speech he gave when he said the Nuggets haven’t won a home game in six weeks.
The Nuggets are on pace to have their worst season since in over 10 years. While a combination of incompatible role players and injuries haven’t made Shaw’s job easier, it’s been clear that the Nuggets need to move on.
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