The Denver Nuggets played full-throttle 100 percent of the time last season under former head coach George Karl. On offense, they wanted to push the tempo and get to the rim as quickly as possible. On defense, the Nuggets wanted to try and create turnovers and generally create chaos with gambles and constant switching.
As the Nuggets head into the 2013-2014 NBA season with new head coach Brian Shaw at the helm, though, their philosophy, on the defensive end at least, is about to drastically change.
In a report from Denver Stiffs, Shaw said that the first couple days of training camp have been a complete 180 from what the team focused on defensively last season. Instead of gambling for turnovers and constantly switching off of screens, Shaw has forced his players to not switch at all in practice and has forced them to instead put in the individual work to stay on their man. He wants to instill a more hardened focus on man-to-man defense that doesn’t rely on help as heavily.
More than just their switching, though, Shaw is also thinking about how to play to his roster’s advantages. Though guards Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson are both lightning quick and can be terrors when they have the ball in their hands, their lack of size sometimes makes them an easy target when they are defending. To help address that issue, Shaw has been working with his guards on picking up the ball deep in the backcourt with pressure to try and keep their men away from where they can use their potential size advantage.
Shaw has big shoes to fill and a tough job ahead, taking over a team that won 57 games last season and lost arguably their best player in Andre Iguodala in free agency. However, Shaw seems determined to change the philosophy and style of play of this Denver team. If his plans work out, the Nuggets should be right back in the mix in the Western Conference.
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