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Brian Shaw says playing and working for Phil Jackson hurt his previous chances at becoming a head coach

Jun 26, 2013, 1:50 PM EDT

Phil Jackson, Brian Shaw AP

There was an outpouring of support for Brian Shaw this week when he finally landed a long-deserved head coaching spot with the Denver Nuggets.

Shaw was a part of five NBA championships as a player and assistant coach, and more than paid his dues along the way, most recently rising to the top assistant position with an Indiana Pacers team that pushed the eventual champion Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Those championships all came with the Lakers, however, and came with Phil Jackson running the show. That also meant that the Triangle offense was prominently featured, and Shaw said that having such strong ties to that system hurt his chances much more than it helped when pursuing previous head coaching opportunities.

From the Associated Press:

“I jokingly said to (Phil Jackson), `Coach, I thought playing for you and working for you would be my biggest asset. Actually, it’s hurt me the most,” said Shaw, who’s still working on assembling his assistant coaches. “I’ve never gone into an interview and said, `I only believe in the triangle and this is the system I’m going to run.’ But I understand everyone’s thought process because it’s such a unique system.”

Early on in Shaw’s interview process with various teams, he was planning on installing the Triangle offense, but tried to make it clear he wasn’t married to it. Still, teams were right to be a tad skeptical since that was the primary source of his experience.

Shaw has proven himself at this point by working his way through the coaching ranks, and has done so successfully on the assistant level without being linked to Jackson. He’s finally getting his shot in Denver, although it is odd that being associated with five championship teams and working under one of the greatest coaches of all time was viewed by many as being a negative instead of a positive.

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