Brian Shaw, former Lakers assistant coach, returned to Staples Center last night as head coach of the Denver Nuggets. Once a candidate for the Lakers head coaching job following Phil Jackson’s retirement, before being passed over in favor of Mike Brown, Shaw has always been a Lakers fan favorite. Prior to beating the Lakers last night, 97-88, Shaw spoke to the media about a variety of topics, including his transition from an assistant coach to a head coach, his thought’s on Kobe Bryant’s return and what he’s learned from Phil Jackson. Below is a transcription of Shaw’s conversation with the media.
On getting adjusted to being a head coach:
I knew that head coaches were pretty busy, but overseeing kind of everything, you got to balance everything out and not let it wear you down before you actually get to the game. I’m just getting adjusted to the routine of that, but other than that everything has been pretty smooth. I had a great mentor to kind of watch and follow. So, a lot of what I do just seems natural because I’ve seen him do it for so long.
On his experience in Indiana and his professional opportunities:
There were some opportunities that I would have loved to jump at. Going to Indiana the last two years was probably the best thing that could have happened to me, in retrospect looking back at it. I had only known one way of doing things and being under Frank Vogel in Indiana and seeing the way that he prepared for the games, the way he practiced, was more along the lines of what the majority of the teams I would imagine do things. Phil had a very unique way of doing things so it was nice [to be in Indiana]. I feel more well-rounded now, or more rounded I should say, having experienced the last two years in Indiana.
On when Kobe Bryant will return:
Who knows? I saw him out here a couple weeks ago. I was out here for a coaches clinic and he spoke at the coaches clinic so I got to talk to him a little bit. We had been kind of missing each other’s phone conversations back and forth, but I had reached out to him a couple times just to kind of gauge. I saved all of our old practice plans when I was here with him, just to kind of gauge how we put things in in training camp and introduce certain things, just to get his advice on things like that. But, it was good to see him a couple weeks ago. He looks good. He still has his wit about him.
If there is anybody out there that can come back from this, with all the wear and tear he has and at the age that he is, he can. I wouldn’t bet against him. It’s a tough injury to come back from, but no doubt in my mind he can do anything that he has his mind set to. I think he’ll be out for the season opener. I think that’s realistic to say. But I believe that he’ll take off right where he left off when he does come back. [There is] no doubt in my mind that he will.
On what he’s taken from Phil Jackson:
One of the big things is patience. I’m laid back by nature, naturally, anyway. But Phil had a lot of patience and he allowed players to figure some things out on their own and I’ve been trying to kind of do the same thing. Not spoon feed them everything, but just enough and then see who has the ability to be able to figure out exactly what they need to do. That’s probably the biggest thing that I’ve taken from it.
On the Lakers expectations this year:
I think Kobe still has that expectation. But you know what? It may be good for them to be able to kind of fly under the radar. They’re going to be competitive. You know the expectation level around here is as high as anywhere else, but for one of the first times in a while they won’t come into the season as a favorite or one of the top contenders in the league, so it will be a different vantage point that they’re coming from and that may help them out.
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