Fast Break Thoughts… The Word on Brian Shaw

Phillip Barnett —  June 29, 2010

May 04, 2010 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - Los Angeles Lakers head coach PHIL JACKSON (center), assistant coaches BRIAN SHAW (L) and FRANK HAMBLEN in the Game 2 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series. The Lakers won 111-103.

In Darius’ “Fast Break Thoughts” post yesterday, he mentioned that Brian Shaw was granted permission to talk to the Cleveland Cavaliers about potentially coaching their franchise. Well, there were early reports by NBA Fanhouse’s Sam Amick saying that Brian Shaw had been offered the Cavs job. However, Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is saying that there is no deal done yet, although the Cavs were impressed with Shaw in the interview. The Cavs have said that they plan on offering the coaching job to either Brian Shaw or Byron Scott by Thursday, and as of right now, it looks as if Brian Shaw is the front-runner. If anything else comes up, we’ll keep you updated with a full post dedicated to this topic if Shaw does in fact get offered the position and takes it.

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register has a column about Kobe Bryant’s finger. It looks as if Kobe may never play without a splint on his finger again. From the column: “And now that Bryant played out the season with the splint and heavy tape job compensating for the lack of strength in the finger, perhaps he can never live without it. Cartilage damage in a finger joint simply isn’t easily fixed because there is so little cartilage with which to work. For Bryant’s purposes of shooting and handling a basketball, fusing the joint is hardly a viable option.” I don’t think the finger will be a big an issue next season as it seemingly was this past season, but it will be something to pay attention to as we get closer to next season.

A lot of us are concerned with what the Lakers are going to do in regards to the back up guard position. With Jordan Farmar pretty much gone already and Shannon Brown deciding to opt out of his contract, the Lakers need to take a serious look at what’s available. Andy Kamenetzky of Land O’ Lakers has compiled a list of guards who are not only available, but fit within the scope of the Lakers’ cap.

I know it’s a little early, but I think I may end up really liking this Devin Ebanks kid out of West Virginia. So far, he’s said all of the right things, he seems hungry to work hard – especially on the defensive end of the floor, and he’s awfully athletic. I don’t see him playing any major minutes next season, but I think he’ll be able to work his way into the rotation over these next couple of years. Mike Trudell of Basket Blog got a chance to sit down with Ebanks and shared a few quotes from his interview.

Also from Trudell, the Josh Powell exit interview is up.

Finally, we get to relive the Lakers post season one last time with this video from The Lakers Nation which captures the Lakers’ Top 10 moments from the post season. And if you haven’t been sold on Derek Fisher returning for one more season, look at how often – and in what situations – Fish appears on this count down. It’s a fantastic video.

Phillip Barnett


45 responses to Fast Break Thoughts… The Word on Brian Shaw

  1. Msnbc is reporting that Shaw will accept Cleveland’s job. I don’t like the way this is playing out. I really hope Phil’s health is good enough for another go round.

    If it is true, congrats to B. Shaw. He seems like a good guy and deserves a shot being a head coach.

  2. A back-up guard that won’t cost us any additional money…Sasha! If the coaching staff has faith in him, we won’t need to pay as much for a higher caliber player to fill the gaps. Of course we could probably pay one more person to come in at a guard spot, but if the minutues are Sash’s, the next void can go to a minimum contract type of guy.

  3. Darius,
    If the Bosh and LBJ to Miami joining up with Wade does happen I am now requesting a write up from you on what you think the Lakers need to do this offseason in FA to compete with that Heat squad.

  4. You don’t think our Kobe-Artest-Pau can handle a Wade-LBJ-Bosh? ; )

    It’s all speculative now…and even if it happens, chemistry can be a whole different story…and then they’re in a similar situation as us with filling gaps with minimal/no money left.

  5. I got chills and goosebumps watching that vid! Awesome…

    If the Wade-LBJ-Bosh deal goes down then the only way we can be better is if Bynum is 100%. If he is then we are a match for them. They would have no one to match a fully healthy Drew.

  6. @Aaron:
    “role players” is the answer. If Miami signed those 3 max-level players, it will have nothing but the minimum and MLE to sign anyone outside those 3. The Lakers, however, have quite a few non-min or MLE players outside of Kobe, Artest, and Pau (Bynum and Odom). Plus, Kobe can handle wade, artest can more or less neutralize lebron, and Pau historically dominated bosh (Bosh is even softer than Pau, mind u). That’s not taking in account of who will handle Bynum (Jermaine O’Neal +bosh struggled against bynum + pau remember?), as well as Odom, who even with some loss of athleticism is still a walking mismatch when he wants to be one.

  7. Gasol is better than Bosh, although not by a lot. I think that Wade and Kobe are too close to call, although Wade seems to have a greater tendency to get injured. How would Artest do against James? James is better, but Artest can probably limit him, especially in the half-court offense. If Bynum is healthy, he would be a mismatch against whoever he is matched up against. Fisher? – Hard to say. I would say that the Lakers starters would have a slight edge, which leaves it up to the bench. Odom, Vujacic, and ??

  8. I think this quote from Farmar is hysterical:

    ” ‘I really want to see what kind of player I can be in this league,’ Farmar said. ‘I want an opportunity to play more. I know I can do a lot. I know I can lead a team.’ When Farmar was asked prior to Game 7 if playing the Celtics in a do-or-die situation to win a championship was a dream scenario for a L.A. native like himself, Farmar said if it was truly a dream scenario, he would be the Lakers starting point guard.” Keep dreaming, dude.

    RE: Shaw. I think if Phil leaves, it means disaster. Bringing in a totally new coach (I don’t care who) is going to be rough on the offense and the chemsitry. Can’t blame Shaw for trying to secure his own future, though.

  9. strange question, but…

    how does anyone not on the lakers have any idea how good or important shaw is as an assistant coach, or for that matter, what role he plays relative to PJ and the other assistants? why was it assumed last year that rambis was the obvious choice to make the jump, and shaw is the choice this year, but not cleamons or hamblin? unless you’re thibadeau and some kind of specialist, how can any team make an assessment if shaw (or any assistant for that matter) is talented or merely there to please a player or for chemistry reasons? which is the best assistant coach on say, the mavs? or the spurs? I must say I have absolutely no idea.

    somehow, there seems to be a consensus that a particular asst is the #1 head coach in waiting to come from a given staff, but where does this consensus come from and what evidence is there that that coach is in fact any good? Do we really believe the Cavs owner is privy to information about what Shaw does and does not do on the Lakers practice court?

  10. lil’ pau, I don’t think it is a strange question at all. There seems to be a consensus that Byron Scott would not be a good choice, whereas Shaw would be the right call.

    I am not an advocate for either guy at this point, but I don’t understand the antipathy for Scott, a guy with an actual record of success as a head coach (two finals appearances with NEW JERSEY for crying out loud) and the apparent love-fest for Shaw, a guy with absolutely no record of coaching success at any level.

    Seems to me that a lot of fans, in their desire to cling to any vestige of Phil Jackson, just assume that a Jackson assistant with no prior record of coaching success is the best candidate. That may me the case, but it is odd that Shaw jumps to the front of the list over a guy like Cleamons or Hamblen. The fact that there is NO support for Cleamons or Hamblen, but pretty significant support for Shaw suggests to me that bloggers really don’t know what they are talking about–unless Cleamons is excluded because of his poor record as a head coach (something that supporters of Shaw might want to consider before anointing him as the second coming of PJ…).

  11. Can someone please show me who the last person was to make a successful transition from being an assistant coach with no prior head coaching experience to being a head coach in the first couple of years?

    I would rather take a coach with a proven record and experience than hire an assistant with potential. Especially when the team has a fantastic roster with vets in their peak. Heck, I’d take Larry Brown too. By the time he wears out his welcome (~3 years) we will have cap space and another couple of rings under our belts.

    The whole LBJ/Wade/Bosh thing is out of hand. It’s too much at this point. I refuse to read any more rumors about this circus. There will be no dream team and I even doubt any of the three big names will end up on the same team. LBJ will stay in Cle with Amare through S&T, Wade will get Boozer in Miami, and poor New Yorkers will get stuck with the awesome duo of Joe Johnson & Rudy Gay while David Lee continues to play center. The only winners might be the Bulls, who might land Bosh and become instant favorites in the East (he gets his own team and a young talented core to surround himself with)

  12. bron-bosh-wade?

    one thing is for sure, they’re not going to be a great 3pt shooting team.

    teams with length are going to bother them.

    miami doesn’t run, and they’re not equipped to grind games out against well-balanced teams.

    i think the lakers have the advantage. i think they’d have a decisive advantage if they improved their efficiency. better 3pt shooting is a must.

    and if a rondo-type, 1-man-fastbreak point guard capable of creating easy buckets is lying around, it would behoove us to pick him up.

  13. LBJ/Wade/Bosh – not gonna happen, except next year during the All Star Game.

    LBJ – Stays in Cleveland
    Wade – Stays in Miami
    Bosh – Goes somewhere (not LA)

    Re: All the love for Shaw. I think it’s because he’s a blank slate as a Head Coach, and us crazed fans can project upon this blank slate whatever they want.

    Scott, on the other hand, has actual head coaching chops, and everybody just “knows” what he can do.

  14. Great video, I got all happy inside of me again. Yeah, that Fisher guy was all over those highlights, huh? As far as Kobe’s finger goes, a splint is the same as a fusion, isn’t it. I mean the finger would not bend in either case, right? This is a question for the Mailbag. Other teams seem to be taking away our next Head Coach, it seems like to me, but that Fisher guy would make a good/great one in my opinion.

  15. Forgot to mention, that video made me feel tingly inside. Great job by the creator. We could use a post with a nice round-up of all the records we’ve broken this year. One that has been constantly omitted – we swept Jerry Sloan. I’m a big Sloan fan, so this is very impressive in my eyes.

  16. I laugh at all the pundits who say that Wade/LBJ/Bosh will take paycuts to play together. These players are in their prime, and the new CBA may not even allow for anything close to what the CBA is now. I’m sure that each player is saying in their mind, “I’ll take that paycut when [the others] take theirs.” No one will walk away from that much money, and don’t even begin to tell me that you’d walk away from $30 mil more. IF players move, they will insist on a sign and trade to get that 6th year and $30 mil. Miami doesn’t have the parts to do a sign and trade.

    I’ll take our team against any team, even against the purported triumvarate. I’m confident the FO will make the right moves and get the right pieces to complement the team.

  17. Igor Avidon, one particular coach who made the jump from assistant with no prior NBA coaching experience to head coach that comes to mind would be Phil, another, perhaps more comparable in terms of situation, would be Avery Johnson.

    Last I checked, both did pretty well going from assistant to head.

    Concerning the coaching sitation, if Brian Shaws accepts the hypothetical Cavs offer and Phil decides to retire does that leave us anyone OTHER THAN Byron???

  18. Igor, how about we flip this around. Name the last time a retread coach who was fired twice in the middle of a season less than 5 years in both tenures showed any success taking over veteran team?

    I’d argue that historically teams have a higher success rates going with assistant coaches who have served time underneath great coaches and organizations.

  19. Great example of someone who went from assistant coach (with very little experience) to very successful head coach rather quickly…

    Pat Riley

    Although it doesn’t hurt to have Magic and Kareem on your team to help earn your stripes as a coach…


    Phil had no NBA head coaching experience. But he had head coaching experience in the PR league and the CBA.

  21. I really don’t see why some Laker fans don’t want Byron, he led the Nets to the Finals for 2yrs in a row. He took the Hornets from a 18 win team to a 56 win team and 2nd seed in the West when that conference was hotly contested. When Byron left the Hornets completely fell apart and CP3 was audibly irritated when they let him walk.

    I don’t think Byron would be a bad head coach for this team and all these supporters for Shaw is based out of loyalty and that’s it. He’s never coached before and there’s no way to know how he’ll be as a head coach. To me this whole thing about Shaw coaching the Cavs means that PJ is leaving…why would Shaw leave a team contending for it’s 3rd straight title to go to a team without LeBron which is likely the case. Even if LeBron stays you got to figure the landscape of the East is going to change and the Cavs may drop from the #1 seed to the 3rd.

    The idea of Bosh/Wade/LBJ teaming is a possibility…I would think if each of those players wants to win titles, cement a legacy than they need rings…LBJ if he stays, he’s not going to win one in Cleveland, Wade won’t win one in Miami and Bosh won’t win one in Toronto. Teaming up makes sense professionally; have each player take a 2-3yr deal and then they’ll still be in their primes where if this experiment doesn’t work they can split up and still sign max deals.

  22. Personally, I’d rather have Shaw because of the continuity factor (sticking with the systems that the Lakers currently run and have won with) rather than bringing in a new guy who would (likely) look to change everything.

    Also, I don’t think Byron is a bad coach, but I do think the issues surrounding his previous coaching jobs are real. His offensive schemes have been simple and rigid and his coaching style has grated on his teams to the point that both the Hornets and the Nets simply stopped listening.

    I understand that he’s a familiar face from the Showtime era, but when you combine his stops with other teams (and what I consider to be some red flags associated with them) and the fact that he’d likely change the schemes that have led to back to back titles, you bet I’m endorsing the in house guy that’s been a part of building the Lakers back up from a lottery team to champion.

  23. Ok, so we’ve got three great examples in the last three decades. Now, over the same amount of time, how many assistant-promoted-to-head coaches have failed miserably? My point exactly. The ratio is so disappointing that I’d rather take someone with prior record of success. Chownoir, I would love to hear your argument backed by solid statistics. Please?

    No coach is perfect – aside from Pops and Phil, I don’t know if any other coach can keep his players’ ears and devotion for more than a few years and keep his team at the top. B-Scott is a qualified candidate. B-Shaw may be the next Phil – but chances are rather slim, and we don’t have the time to mess around. Our roster is in its peak and if we need to find a replacement for Phil, we might as well get someone with a proven track record.

  24. I don’t buy the “lack of head coaching experience” factor as an issue with who the Lakers should hire. Mike Dunleavy was an NBA assistant who took the Lakers to the 1991 Finals in his first ever year as a head coach. Both Westhead and Riley got rings with the Lakers in their first seasons as head coach. Phil led the Bulls to the championship in his second season. Avery Johnson? Finals in his second season. Byron Scott himself took NJ to the Finals in his second and third seasons. Gregg Popovich? Champion in his third season. Rick Adelman? Finals in his second season.

  25. If Scott had a respectable track record, then I’d say the devil you know beats the devil you don’t. But his baggage and the fact that he’d probably change systems is a real concern. I’d rather promote from within.

  26. I’m not all that worried about Scott wearing on guys because it would look to be happening right when our window with this particular unit would be starting to close anyway. All things considered, I could live with 2 more titles from this group, and it would seem to reasonable to expect that from Scott. You could certainly argue that a guy who commands respect with a good defensive mind are the most important attributes for this team.

    Shaw is an inknown. Rambis seemed great, but now it looks like he’s a great basketball mind that might not be all that great a motivator or personnel manager.

    I agree with the idea of continuity, and the fact that Scott seems like they kind of guy who might change things just so that everyone knows who’s in charge is worrisome, but I have no doubt that the players would love him for a couple of years.

  27. I would love to see the Lakers sign T-Mac for the veteran’s minimum. It makes all the sense in the world. T-mac can play the 1,2 or 3 spot and it would not cost us that much. And T-mac might just explode and have great year. Not his early years with Orlando but a solid player of the bench. I say 10.5 ppg, 4 assist and 3 rebounds. I would take that. Then sign someone like Steve Blake to relieve d-fish….

    My 2010-2011 Roster

    Kobe Bryant
    Pau Gasol
    Andrew Bynum
    Ron Artest
    Derek Fisher
    Lamar Odom
    Tracy McGrady
    Steve Blake
    Luke Walton
    Sasha Vujagic
    Josh Powell
    Devin Eubanks
    D-League player

    Sounds good to me….

  28. 28. @RC…I believe Caracter is going to make the team and play rotation minutes in his rookie season, especially if Byron isn’t hired. IMO, Caracter is already a much better talent than Josh Powell, who was simply awful last season. I also believe Ebanks and Crittenton will make the team, and the Lakers will try to get another wing/PG to sign for 1/2 the MLE.

  29. 29. The DUDE,

    I see your point but I think PH11 Jackson is coming back and notice that is not a IL I put but 11 as in Eleven rings nobody steal that I have that trademarked lol but you make some very valid points. I see Josh Powell coming back only because Kobe and him are good friends. I however do not see Caracter making the team. I see him either in the D-League or overseas. What do you think about Tmac playing for the Lakers?

  30. Agreed with all of those who said that the video gave them chills. Just great stuff.

    Amazing how quickly after locking up back-to-back titles, we’re back on the FA merry-go-round, hoping to shore up the squad for another run. With so many players leaving (or most likely leaving at this point), it’s going to be a more active off-season than the last couple (although with lower priced players, and without the Mexican standoff we had with LO last year!).

    Hope Phil’s back for 1 more go around too…

  31. Like others have said, there are 3 main reasons why I prefer Shaw over Scott:

    1) The continuity factor. This is a veteran-led team that has been running the same offense – with a notable year-long absence during – for almost 15 years. The personnel has been acquired over that time for a very specific skill-set, particularly in terms of role players. You can guarantee that Shaw would keep the existing system in place, and most likely the coaching staff (really, where are Hamblen and Cleamons going to go if PJ retires? They’d be happy to stay on board, even if, say, Cleamons feels slighted over not getting the job). However, if Scott gets the job, you can guarantee that he will change both the scheme and the staff, something unprecedented on a 2-time defending champion. If we are going to go for a 3-peat, our best shot is to keep the existing system in place.

    2) I love Byron as much as the next fan of the Showtime Lakers. And I respect what he did in both NJ and NO. But each time he had a dominant PG, and thus ran rather basic offensive schemes, and each time he alienated his team such that he was canned mid-season, including once after leading said team to the Finals 2 years in a row. That’s significant to me.

    3) Shaw has been talked about glowingly by Phil over the years, and it’s been recognized across the league that he’s a comer. Better to get a guy on his way up than one on his way down.

  32. Kobe Bryant played most of this season with an injured right index finger, and it may never heal, according to Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register.

    “The middle knuckle on that critical finger on Bryant’s shooting hand is so debilitated by arthritis after the past season of misuse and overuse that there may be no real way to fix it,? Ding wrote. ?Bryant will consult with specialists in July to figure out his options, but arthritis is not a problem that can just be cleaned up with arthroscopic surgery or wished away with a little rest. Bryant suffered an avulsion fracture in two places near the tip of the finger on Dec. 11 as he tried to field a low Jordan Farmar pass. Bryant kept playing despite a projection of needing at least six weeks to heal — and he played pretty well. … Cartilage damage in a finger joint simply isn’t easily fixed because there is so little cartilage with which to work. For Bryant’s purposes of shooting and handling a basketball, fusing the joint is hardly a viable option.”

  33. @30 RC, I see T-Mac as a fallback if we can’t sign Dorell Wright. I’ve seen video of a couple of T-Mac’s Knick games, and he has lost one or two steps. It’s like a slow-motion version of the old T-Mac. Wright on the other hand is Trevor Ariza’s age, is slightly taller and longer than Trevor, is a better ballhandler than Trevor (he played a little PG in Miami), and is a better shooter (39% 3FG, 88% FT this past season).

    I’d also choose Blake over T-Mac, but I think the team can sign Wright for only 1/2 the MLE while IMO Blake will be more expensive. Wright had a DUI issue earlier this year, and he’s a SoCal kid so the team might have to keep an eye on him and discourage partying. As Snoopy2006 said in an earlier thread, the biggest obstacle for Wright could be the triangle learning curve. As a PG, that could be a problem. But then again, any new PG will have to learn the triangle if the team wants continuity.

  34. Well, let’s turn things around a bit.

    We know assistants can be good, I think Alvin Gentry proved that they can be quite good at implementing what they saw as an assistant.

    We also know that vagabond coaches can be good as well, I think Larry Brown was good enough and even Byron wasn’t all that bad.

    With that in mind, let’s think of the pros and cons. On one hand, you have coaches with a ton of question marks. Nothing’s proven. It’s a gamble.

    On the other hand, you have coaches that can at least squeeze out a year or two before players shut them out.

    Our team, we have veterans with a championship window of maybe 2~4 years, which means that even though Byron may end up being shut out, it’s not that big of a deal since our window is not too long anyway. We need somebody proven so that we don’t waste the early, more competitive years.

    Of course the same can be said about learning a new system, but then again, it’s not like we’re going to implement a square or a pentagon. We’re going from complex to simple, and we’ve got veterans and players who scrimmage against those offenses every day. So the shock of moving to a new system won’t be that big.

    Having enough talent to run with a new system is something else, of course, but at the very least if all fails, the new coach could turn to current assistants and re-use the triangle for offense and focus his coaching on defense and set plays on inbounds.

    So, I think Scott may actually be a more sensible option here, as long as the players follow him for at least a year or two.

  35. is there such thing as a finger cartilage donation or transplant? Cuz i will be willing to donate for kobe

  36. The advantage of Shaw is the implied continuity. He would most likely run the triangle, and would probably keep most of the coaching staff (assuming guys like Hamblen and Cleamens don’t follow Jackson off into the sunset).

    John Ireland said on his radio show today (and I tend to agree) that Shaw is talking to Cleveland because he knows he isn’t getting the job in LA (either this year or next year).

  37. Kobe needs to be the player-coach

  38. Raja Bell would be my first free agent choice. He’s a hardnosed player who can shoot and defend very well. He can step right in and take most of Shannon and Sasha’s minutes at the backup wing spot.

    Which would also free us up to try and move Sasha’s expiring contract come the Trade Deadline. The free agency class of 2011 is not too shabby, alot of teams are going to want in.

  39. Sign and trade for Rudy Gay..

    Kobe Bryant
    Pau Gasol
    Rudy Gay
    Andrew Bynum
    Luke Ridnour/Raymond Felton
    Ron Artest
    Derek Fisher
    Sasha Vujagic
    Josh Powell
    Shannon Brown

    Thats better then this yr with better bench. Do it Mitch… Get rudy gay and rid our team of Odom walton and other scrubs.

  40. Does anyone else think that if Shaw takes the Cavs job then it’s more likely that Phil will return? Surely Brian wouldn’t take the Cavs job if he knew Phil was leaving LA, especially with all the uncertainty surrounding LeBron.

    And if Phil and Brian both leave – how do we feel about JVG?

  41. Alarming trend in this and other threads: trade odom [for a vet PG or gay, or anything really].

    Don’t you guys think that losing our versatile 6’11” PF sixth man ruins the successful defensive dynamic we had last year, and the year before that. (And I’m not even going to bring up the fact that odom has proven to be functional bynum insurance.)

    Why all the “trade odom” momentum now?

  42. Here’s a transcript of a conversation between LBJ/Bosh/Wade at their summit this past weekend.

    Wade: alright, so it’s all set, see ya here in Miami. I’ll sign my 6 year deal at the max. I just got divorced, need the cash man. Also, Gabrielle Union, she ain’t cheap.

    LBJ: hold up. I thought I was getting the max deal? I need to feed my crew.

    Bosh: Wait up, I thought I was getting the max? My audition for the Avatar sequel didn’t quite pan out, I need the money to re-grow my hair!

    Wade: I thought y’all wanted to play with me in Miami?

    Bosh + LBJ: I thought you wanted to play with me?

    [LBJ exits rights, Bosh exits left. Wade stands on stage, clutching his cell phone as he calls Alonzo Mourning, Glen Rice, Escalade, and the Professor to fill out the rest of Miami’s team.]

    NO ONE will take a paycut to play for another team. No one will willingly forgoe that 6th year and $30 mil, especially with a more draconian CBA possibly looming. Hope this free agency madness ends soon.

  43. Shaky,

    I’m with you. Unless Chris Bosh is somehow coming back in a trade for Odom there is no point in letting go of Lamar. Considering that Bynum’s body may not hold up for all 82 games we NEED Lamar Odom.

  44. Brian, Artest and Pau champs of fast-breaks to be remembered.