There are still some moving pieces within the Nuggets organization. Playing a little catch-up here is what I have gathered on the Nuggets front office and coaching staff this summer, as far as who is coming in and who is leaving the team.
Nuggets coaching staff:
Brian Shaw - head coach. We all know this one, right? Right. Former player, guard, for the Celtics, Heat, Magic, Warriors, 76ers, Blazers (one game), and Lakers spanning from 1989-2003. An assistant coach with the Lakers and with the Pacers. This will be Shaw's first head coaching gig.
Lester Conner - assistant coach. This will be Conner's first season with the Nuggets. He was an assistant coach, defensive focus, with the Atlanta Hawks from 2010-2013. Conner also spent time as an assistant with the Celtics (1998), 76ers (2004-05), Bucks (2005-07), and Pacers (2007-10). Conner played in the NBA, guard, from 1982-1995 with the Warriors, Rockets, Nets, Bucks, Clippers, Pacers, and Lakers (two games).
Getting to talk with Conner, who was coaching the team at the Las Vegas Summer League, he comes across as a straight shooter. He's open and honest when talking about his players and from talking to players - he's open and honest with them as well. He is a true authority on basketball. Talking with some Atlanta based reporters in Vegas, it was Conner calling the defensive sets for the Hawks and putting the bulk of his focus on defense.
It was rumored that Conner would follow Larry Drew to the Milwaukee Bucks, but Shaw was able to convince him to come to Denver. Look forward to him bringing a new voice to the Nuggets and a defensive mindset. The Hawks were 124-102 with Conner on the staff.
Melvin Hunt - assistant coach. Hunt will be entering his fourth season on the Nuggets staff after being hired prior to the start of the 2010-11 season. He is also a defensive minded coach, but a well-rounded one - who was courted by the 76ers as a head coaching candidate. At some point, Hunt will be an NBA head coach. He's engaging with players and has an inviting personality. When you talk to Melvin, you just know he's a leader. The Nuggets are 145-85 with Hunt on the staff.
Chris Farr - assistant coach. Farr spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach at Loyola Marymount, where he specialized in player development and recruiting. He was with the team in Las Vegas and is another guy with an engaging personality. Damian Lillard credits Farr for getting him ready for his first NBA season, but specifically for the NBA draft (a must read by James Herbert on Farr and Lillard). He sounds like an asset for such a young team and is close with Shaw.
Patrick Mutombo - assistant coach. Entering his third season with the Nuggets. He started as the player development coordinator, but took on more responsibility as an assistant last season and this season. Mutombo played at Metropolitan State and then professionally overseas and in the NBA-DL before joining Metro's staff and then the Nuggets. He's from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, like Dikembe, and is very active during practices and shootarounds by being out on the floor. He also would partake in shooting and dunking contests after practice with guys like Timofey Mozgov.
Nuggets front office:
Tim Connelly - general manager. We all know Tim's story, but if you want to get to know him better - be sure to read the interview I did with him in Vegas - right here.
Arturas Karnisovas - assistant general manager. He comes over to the Nuggets after being with the Rockets since 2008 - serving as their international scout and most recently the director of scouting.
Herb Livsey - scout. Remains with the team, basketball lifer.
Rafal Juc - international scout. Juc was hired back in August to be Denver's international scout. You can follow him on Twitter - right here.
Ben Tenzer - director of basketball operations. A Colorado University graduate will be working with Josh Kroenke and Connelly on day-to-day operations, salary cap management, and Collective Bargaining Agreement issues. Read more from Ben Hochman here.
Tommy Balcetis - manager of basketball analytics. Graduate of Harvard where he focused on economics and psychology. Born in Lithuania and lived there for 18 years before moving to the U.S. in 2004 to concentrate on playing basketball. He also did a little writing for Bleacher Report.
Leaving the team: front office guys Masai Ujiri, Raptors, Pete D'Alessandro, Kings, scouts Mike Bratz, Kings and Dan Tolzman, Raptors, coaches George Karl, Vance Walberg, Ryan Bowen, Kings, Chad Iske, 76ers, John Welch, Nets.
Best wishes to all the guys leaving the staff. I've given my thoughts on them all except for Walberg, Bowen, and Iske. I didn't get to talk much with Walberg, he was with the team just last season as an innovator of the dribble-drive offense that Karl utilized.
Bowen was a high energy player for the Nuggets, out of Iowa, and was an active assistant coach as well. He was often out working with the big men and very gracious with his time off the floor. I got to catch up with him a little in Vegas, when he was still with the Nuggets, and I wish him luck in Sacramento.
Iske was great to talk with about both offense and defense and about player development. He was another active coach that would often stay after practice to help guys work on shooting drills, dribbling drills, and defensive drills. A local Colorado guy that joins a rebuilding project in Philadelphia with Brett Brown, formerly of the Spurs. Best of luck to Iske too - great guy and awesome to talk hoops with.
The Nuggets may still make a hire or two before the season starts, we'll be keeping our ears open and eyes peeled.
Nate_Timmons on Twitter