Back in 2011, Phil Jackson’s coaching career in the NBA came to an end. The iconic coach stepped away after having guided the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers to a total of 11 NBA titles. With arguably the greatest NBA head coach of all-time retiring, the Lakers had the seemingly impossible job of replacing him. Although no one can quite fill Jackson’s shoes, Brian Shaw received his endorsement for the job.
Unfortunately for Shaw, the Lakers decided to go in a different direction. The Lakers brass made the questionable move to bring in former NBA Coach of the Year, Mike Brown. Shaw was given the cold shoulder and he wasn’t happy about it, but now he is back as an assistant under Luke Walton and recently reflected on being passed over in 2011, via Bill Oram of OC Register.
“I felt like I had done everything that was asked of me, went above and beyond,” Shaw said. “Worked my way up from player. I scouted, assistant coach, and had a good rapport with players. And at the end of the day it didn’t work out.”
Admittedly, Shaw didn’t like the way the Lakers handled the interview process to be Jackson’s replacement and the lack of communication with Jim Buss. Although it did rub him the wrong way, Shaw has talked it out with Buss and that paved the way for his return, via Oram.
Shaw said after talking with Buss this spring the two “were able to bury that” and that he was able to “move on and come back here to be in this situation that I’m in now.”
Although Shaw was unable to become Jackson’s successor in Los Angeles, it didn’t take long for him to get another coaching job in the NBA. Shaw joined Frank Vogel’s coaching staff with the Indiana Pacers and quickly proved his worth while becoming a legitimate candidate for head coaching jobs around the league.
Shaw eventually became the head coach of the Denver Nuggets. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned for Shaw in Denver. Shaw’s stint with the Nuggets didn’t even last two seasons with Jackson’s protege being fired after going 56–85.
Shaw will face the Nuggets as an opposing coach for the first time since being fired in 2015 on Friday night. The Lakers will take on the Nuggets at the Staples Center in their second preseason game.