Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw has heard his name mentioned with some frequency the last couple of years when it comes to potential gigs as a head coach.
But despite the fact that 11-time coaching champion Phil Jackson, who had Shaw as both a player and assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers, firmly believes that he will make an excellent NBA head coach once given the opportunity, the Nets must avoid taking that young route if they’re shooting to win a title next season.
This isn’t to be misinterpreted as a knock on Shaw, who demonstrated a keen basketball IQ during a long professional career as player that spanned from 1988-2003. With rings as a player on the three-peat Lakers of 2000-2002, and two more with the repeat Lakers of 2009 and 2010, Shaw has been around enough success to understand how to attain it as a coach.
Couple the right roster with realistic expectations, and Shaw has all the tools to blossom into a rising star as a head coach after a little bit of seasoning.
The core trio of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez is about as far from egotistical as a “Big Three” can be, so managing personalities would not be an issue for a first-time head coach. Their overall roster displayed plenty of depth to compete at a high level as well. No issue there, either.
Brooklyn’s expectations would still be too high for a puppy like Shaw, however.
A well-known fact is that owner Mikhail Prokhorov has been anything but shy since purchasing majority stake in the organization back in 2010. He openly set a goal for his team to win a championship by 2015, which he has not shied away from since.
And if he really wants to hoist a trophy a little more than just two years from now, expecting Shaw to be the one that leads them there, in only his second year as a head coach, would be more than optimistic.
Then you consider the other proven names that have been mentioned as candidates for the job, which include Jeff Van Gundy, Stan Van Gundy, Jerry Sloan, Larry Brown and maybe even Doc Rivers. One of them could certainly reach that goal in just two years.
Shaw will get his shot very soon, but the Nets should not be the ones to give it to him.