With news coming down a short while ago that Lakers assistant Brian Shaw is close to taking the vacant Cleveland Cavaliers head coaching position it eliminates one of the better candidates for the Warriors after they get rid of Don Nelson. Shaw an Oakland native, is considered one of the better assistants in the NBA as he’s spent the past few seasons learning under Phil Jackson and his ability to develop and nurture relationships with the players is second to none.
Shaw is making a bold move by taking the Cavaliers position as its still unknown whether or not LeBron James is coming back to Cleveland or heading elsewhere with Miami and Chicago being the rumored favorites to land his services. The uncertainty of LeBron’s future is what eventually stopped Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo from taking the Cavaliers job even though he was offered upwards of $30 million dollars over the life of the contract.
Shaw would’ve been a worthy candidate to replace Don Nelson as Shaw is exactly the type of coach the young Warriors need to turn the team and franchise around. The opportunity to take over the Warriors would’ve been hard to pass up for Shaw as he’d be returning home and coming in under new competent ownership. The Warriors don’t need any re-tread head coaches who’ve been around the league and are looking to land back on their feet somewhere. Been there, done that. The Warriors need a young, dynamic teacher who can come in and bring a breath of fresh air to the franchise. Shaw from day one would have the players’ respect as he’s been through the wars, played in big games and has the track record to back up what he’s saying.
Shaw and his staff coming to work everyday with the intention to teach and better the team would be a huge shift from the current regime. Under the current group there’s not much teaching going on from the head man in charge. Nellie at this point in his career is not going to be actively engaging in practice or concerned with the correct development of his players. Nelson places much of that responsibility upon his assistant coaches who have done the job with sporadic results. There isn’t one player on the roster that you can look at from his starting point with the Warriors to now and say without a shadow of a doubt he’s gotten better or taken his game to another level. The lack of development across the roster is one of the reasons why the Warriors have struggled mightily over the past few seasons.
Don Nelson is likely in his last season as Warriors head coach with the possibility of being fired or replaced before the start of the season depending on when the sale of the team goes through. Nelson has spent the large part of the off-season at his home in Hawaii and hasn’t been as involved in the Warriors draft process and player movement as he’s been in the past. The Warriors drafting Ekpe Udoh was solely Larry Riley’s decision as Riley’s been infatuated with Udoh since traveling to Lubbock, Texas to see Udoh play earlier this year. With the writing on the wall and Nelson knowing his time with the Warriors is coming to an end, it behooves the Warriors to start taking a look at possible replacements. With Shaw heading to Cleveland, they can cross one of those candidates off their list.