A week after Steve Kerr signed his 5-year deal with Golden State, the New York Knicks are still on the hunt to fill their coaching vacancy. After hiring Phil Jackson as the president of the Knicks, he fired Mike Woodson after a disappointing 37-45 record.
In his search for the new head coach of the Knicks, Jackson is reaching into his past in order to find someone that will run his famed triangle offense. Kerr was the front runner of the job, but now that he is off the table the Knicks are looking into options such as Oklahoma City Thunder’s guard Derek Fisher, and Denver Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw.
Shaw had a successful season under the restraints he had in Denver. With key players out such as Danilo Galinari, Javale McGee and Nate Robinson, Shaw had to put a competitive team on the court without key components. Shaw had to bring along players in order for them to be big producers on the floor, which he was able to do with Timofey Mozgov.
He stayed healthy all season, one of the few which were able to do so, and improved his points per game by 3.6 points and his rebounds by 2 rebounds per game. He was also imposing on defense with a 1.2 blocks. It’s going to be exciting to see what Shaw can do once he has a healthy roster and the talent Denver will hopefully pick up in the offseason, but if he leaves then the Nuggets will have a bigger problem than trying to resign Kenneth Faried.
What will be the options that the Nuggets have if Shaw does depart for New York? One coach that a lot of teams have their eyes on is UCONN’s head coach, Kevin Ollie. In Ollie’s first season as head coach of the Huskies, he led them to a National Championship. Ollie took a team that was supposed to be beaten in the first round to a team that beat the top-seeded Florida Gators en route to the championship. The only thing about Ollie is that his UCONN team played slow, something that would be bad for the speed and athleticism of the young lineup in Denver.
Another possibility would be Fred Hoiberg, the Iowa State head coach. Hoiberg led the Cyclones to three tournaments and a sweet sixteen game in which they lost to Ollie’s Huskies. Hoiberg also has an uptempo style that would fit perfectly with the current roster.
Hopefully none of this will have to happen. Shaw did a great job this season with the hand was dealt and will be able to improve on that next year. If Galinari and McGee return and produce on a level that they are both capable of, the Nuggets have a chance to make the playoffs next year. Hopefully the lure of coaching for Jackson and coaching Carmelo Anthony won’t get to Shaw. If it does, and none of the other coaches work out, there is always George Karl.