NBA Q&A: Brian Shaw

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Monday, April 14, 2014 with No comments
Courtesy of David Aldridge 

DA: After all the waiting you did, how does the suit of being a head coach feel on your back?

Brian Shaw: It feels good. It feels natural. I feel like it was a seamless transition. Obviously there were a lot of things I dealt with this season that were unexpected, but it feels natural.
DA: How different are you now, having gone through this first season, than you were before?
BS: Well, I don't know if you can see my goatee at all, but there weren't any grays when the season started. I'm different. I'm the same person on the inside. But I think that with all the things that I've had to deal with as a coach this year -- made two trades, had a player suspended, and all the injuries we had to deal with the expectations we had, not only that I had for us and our team, but that the organization and the fans had, falling short of that, for whatever reason, we're not going to make any excuses -- it was eye opening. I also feel that I was prepared by the best of the best for a long time. And anything that I face, any situation that I have to come across, I'm equipped to deal with. There's going to be a silver lining after it's all said and done. I really, truly believe that with our team. We're going to get everybody healthy and strong and together, and I think there's going to be some teams out there that's not going to want to see us.
DA: Given your history as a player and assistant coach, who have you leaned on this season? I read that you and Jason text each other all the time. Do you talk to Phil as well?
BS: I do. I kind of backed off of talking to him when he was going through the whole thing with the Knicks, and taking the job there. But he would text me sometimes and say, 'Did you guys run this particular action, a triangle action, after a timeout, at this time on the clock?' And I'd laugh. It was just his way checking in on me, letting me know that he was watching what I was doing. I also leaned on him when I had to deal with some situations with our players, disciplinary things that were going on. And just having discussions about times, and how they've changed. With all of the technology, and social media that our players have available to them now, it's different walking in the locker room, when you have a game on and you expect the players to be watching the film of the team you're about to play, and everybody has their head in their IPads or their cell phones, or what have you. So you have to kind of evolve. Your coaching has to evolve with the times we live in.
DA: Magic Johnson, famously, did not evolve!
BS: That was the very beginning. If I picked up every cell phone and slammed it into a locker every time a phone went off or someone's alert went off, nobody on our team would have any mobile devices.
DA: What are you looking forward to next season, assuming most of your core can come back healthy and is ready to play?
BS: I think that we have, and they have an understanding now, of what I expect from them, and how we want to play. And I think that's huge. This year, I was getting used to them, and they were getting used to me. I don't know if, all year, if everybody bought into our vision and what we were trying to do. But over this last month, I've been very pleased with how our guys have been competing, especially in light of the fact that we have a young team, we've been eliminated from the playoffs for a while now, and it would be real easy to let go of the rope and just give up, because we don't have anything to play for. But they've been very professional. They come out and compete. They're still playing for one another. They take their professional responsibilities seriously. And going forward to next season, I'm excited about what I know these guys can do now, and what they can bring. There's still a question mark about the guys who didn't get an opportunity to play because of the injuries this year. But, if they are able to bring what they've done in the past, and the experiences that our young guys have gotten this year because of their injuries, I think we'll have a deep team.
DA: Did it surprise you that it took so long for them to understand what championship habits really are?
BS: Not really. I think Rick Majerus, I heard him say a long time ago, he said 'players don't care about how much you know until they know how much you care.' And I think for our team, I tried to do some things. I'm old school. The first time we played in Oakland, I brought the whole team to my [family's] house after one of our practices. And just talked to them about, this is what we used to do. When you came to a city that a guy was from, his family cooked and brought the whole team over. Now, guys get on the phone, or their IPad, and they go in different directions. So I tried to bring some of that old school stuff. I wasn't a star on my team. I don't claim to know everything. But I have been fortunate and blessed to be around the greatest of the great, from the guys I came in with -- Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, DJ [the late Dennis Johnson], Danny Ainge and Red Auerbach -- to the team I ended up with, Shaq, Kobe, being around Jerry West, Mitch Kupchak, and a bunch of guys in between. So I've seen the best do it on a player's level, on a coaching level, on a front office level. I think I understand what it takes. I know what it looks like. And talking about it is one thing. I've been used to sweat equity on the court, getting out and banging with guys, and that was something I had to kind of back up from as a head coach. But I think when our guys started to see that what I was talking about was real, I've lived it, I'm not telling them to do something I haven't experienced myself, it just took a while. And I think now, they get it. And I think they know how much I care, and I think it's showing in how hard they're playing for me right now.