Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw was clearly not happy with how his team executed the game-plan from their first game of the season. He expounded on many aspects of the game and how his players reacted to their first contest. Some very interesting quotes below from Shaw.
Shaw on how the Nuggets played against the Kings:
"We have such a small margin of error, we have to do all those little things," said Shaw. "Watching film, just things like not setting screens and not executing what we practice on a daily basis: box outs, weak-side help, turning out post players on the post and not letting them get to the middle. All those things that we talk about, that we work on everyday, we didn't do. In a game where we shot 15-17 from the free throw line, we held the team to 40-percent shooting from the field, and to 90 points - we should win that game. But 19 turnovers for 21 points, on top of those small details that we didn't take care of, it's not going to get it done for us."
Shaw on how closely the team executed what he wants to see:
"We did some things very well," said Shaw. "I thought defensively, when we followed the game-plan, I don't have a problem when we do what the game-plan is, but at least give the game-plan a chance to work. That's what's tough to watch, when you go out there and everybody just kind of goes on their own and does their own thing and they say, "Well, this isn't working." Well, we didn't give it a chance to work because we didn't do it the right from the start. That's what we wanted to hammer home today when we watched film. We showed them examples of things that we did when we did it the way we were supposed to and sometimes they still scored on them. But for the most part they scored or took advantage of the mistakes we made when we went away from what we do on a daily basis."
Reporter's question: Having JaVale get into quick foul trouble surely wasn't in the game plan, right?
"Not at all," said Shaw. "I told [JaVale McGee] and I told all the guys that for him to play 10 minutes, what keeps you on the floor, if you're out there and you're working hard and you're making plays you'll stay on the floor. And if you're not, I have to try to continue to try to search for guys that are going to get it done. And for [McGee], he was having the most difficulty following the plan in terms of keeping DeMarcus Cousins out of the middle, not allowing him deep post catches. I thought Timo [Mozgov] and J.J. [Hickson], late in the game, did a better job on him than JaVale was doing and that's why he wasn't in the game."
Shaw on Kenneth Faried and J.J. Hickson's night against the Kings:
"Kenneth is still working his way back into game shape," said Shaw. "He missed games at the end of the preseason, he missed some practices. So, he's still catching up in terms of that. That's one of the reasons why we brought J.J. here, he gives us one more big post presence on the offensive and defensive end that we can play at the four and the five spot. And late in games, you'll probably see that lineup a lot because I think defensively, at least right now, that's our best lineup with Darrell Arthur at the four and J.J. at the five with their activity and their flexibility."
Nate Timmons, "You were just saying that Hickson and Arthur would be your four and five late in games, does that kind of go against what you have been saying in wanting a true big man out there? Hickson has been undersized his whole career at center."
"He is, but until JaVale shows that he can handle those kind of situations, I want to be able to trust him especially when the game is on the line," said Shaw. "Some of the fouls, some of the positions that he got himself in, I didn't trust at the end of the game that he was going to be able to get it done for us. Although I want JaVale to be in that position, and I'm going to continue to be patient with him in doing that; he has to earn the right to be on the floor at that time."
I was pretty surprised to hear how much Shaw didn't think his team executed the little things aka the fundamentals of what he has been teaching them throughout training camp. Shaw was asked specifically about McGee's foul trouble and went into some key areas with him not following what the team wanted to do on defense when the opposition threw the ball into the post on Cousins and some very interesting quotes on Shaw wanting to trust McGee, but not being able to do so in that particular game. Shaw did live with mistakes from some of his players during the Kings contest, but it's interesting that he wasn't willing to live with McGee's mistakes and part of that had to do with the big man being in foul trouble.
It was also eye-opening that Shaw will look to continue to play Hickson and Arthur together, especially to close out games. We've been hearing about all this inside-out ball and how the center must anchor the defense and how the team needs true bigs to be effective and it appears we will see more smallish-ball with Hickson - who is a big man, but much better suited for power forward than he is for center, but he did play quite well against 6'11" and 270 pound Cousins.
Some very interesting comments from Shaw.
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