Brian Shaw was famously close to the Los Angeles Lakers head coaching gig after serving under Phil Jackson as an assistant for a number of years. Instead he ended up in Indianapolis as an assistant and then eventually with the Denver Nuggets as their head coach. And so it is that he ended up in his first game as a head coach (albeit in the preseason) against none other than those Lakers. His team came through for him with a 97-88 victory.
Here are two interesting notes from Sunday night’s action.
Ty Lawson with a double-double, but not the way you think
Lawson, after an unpleasantly eventful off-season, opened preseason action looking fully like the team’s go-to guy. He filled up the stat sheet with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists. Yes, you read that right…10 rebounds for Lawson. It might be nothing more than an aberration in a meaningless game, but that’s still interesting.
While the Nuggets will not expect big rebounding numbers from Lawson, this game might be an appropriate representation of the versatility the team will need from him this season. He needs to be their best player, and he needs to be able to take over the game in multiple ways. Some nights that might be scoring more and creating his own shot, and other nights it might be playing the role of distributor. Will they ask him to clean the glass? Well, probably not, but the versatility is still nice to see.
Increased minutes from the starters
Lawson logged 27 minutes. Kenneth Faried played over 18 minutes. The Nuggets have plenty of injury concerns entering the season (as they always will with this particular group of players), but they also need to learn Shaw’s system. As such, they are going to play a bunch in the preseason.
If nothing else, it will make the meaningless games a bit more interesting, right?