Skip to content

Brian Shaw blames Nuggets’ slow starts on pizzas and nachos

Dec 10, 2013, 4:44 PM EDT

Brian Shaw

The Denver Nuggets have been outscored in every first quarter they’ve played this month.

They’ve scored a little and fallen behind (22-18 to the Wizards on Monday night), scored a lot and still fallen behind (29-27 to the Nets on Dec. 3) and have just been plain routed (39-15 by the Celtics on Friday).

Yet, Denver has still gone 4-2 in December to bolster an impressive 13-8 overall record. Under first-year coach Brian Shaw, the Nuggets are definitely exceeding expectations, and there are many more reasons to be satisfied than not.

But Shaw is leaving nothing to chance.

Tom Schad for The Denver Post (hat tip: Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie):

Shaw has searched for answers to their offensive woes in the first quarters of games. Last week, he walked through the locker room, saw players eating pizza and nachos and believed the poor diet to be the cause. So he picked up all the junk food and threw it in the trash.

The Nuggets had fresh salads with chicken breast and cold cut sandwiches before Monday’s game. The sluggish result was the same.

“We’ll keep searching and seeking until we find (it),” Shaw said. “We just talk about the starters needing to start the game for us. Our bench has been tremendous really this whole season. They’ve bailed us out of a lot of situations.”

First of all, I applaud Shaw’s  attention to detail. That’s the mark of a good coach.

Many coaches get so drawn into Xs and Os, they don’t see the forest for the trees. Anyone who’s ever eaten fast food knows how lethargic it can make you feel, and that very well could be a significant factor for Denver. Again, Shaw deserves credit for considering all angles.

But I’m not convinced the Nuggets even have a first-quarter problem, let alone one based on pregame meals.

Denver’s offensive rating is actually better in the first quarter than overall, though it’s defense slips to a greater degree than the offense improves. The Nuggets’ first-quarter net rating (–0.6) is lower than its overall net rating (3.4), but 27 of 30 teams have at least one quarter where their net rating slips more than four points, including seven for which it happens in the first quarter.

There’s just a natural variance that occurs, and overall, the Nuggets’ first quarters seem to fit within it.

Really, Denver’s worst quarter is its second. Here’s the team’s offensive rating (gold) and defensive rating (blue) by quarter with the dotted line representing the team team’s overall mark in each category. The upper and lower bounds of the chart are set equal to the NBA’s best (Trail Blazers) and worst (Bucks) overall offensive rating.

image

Of course, the stats don’t tell everything. Shaw is better positioned to recognize when Denver’s early errors could be attributed to the side effects of eating unhealthily. And he’s especially well-suited to inform his players how to eat better – or at least refer them to someone who will.

But if his players push back and want their junk food, I don’t think Shaw can say with certainty the Nuggets’ first quarters are due to anything other than random variance. If they accept his change to the menu, then there’s certainly no harm done.

Latest Posts
  1. PBT Extra matchups to watch: Spurs look for ways to contain Chris Paul

    Apr 21, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT

    Expect to see a lot more Kawhi Leonard (and Danny Green) on Paul from the start.

  2. Report: Suns’ Morris twins charged with aggravated assault

    Apr 21, 2015, 4:51 PM EDT

    Phoenix Suns Media Day Getty Images

    The twins were allegedly part of a group that beat up a man outside a rec league basketball tournament.

  3. Hawks’ Al Horford says he will play in Game 2 despite finger injury

    Apr 21, 2015, 4:14 PM EDT

    Al Horford AP

    Horford is going to have work to do on the defensive end slowing down Brook Lopez.

  4. Brilliant spoof: Zach Randolph’s deep thoughts on cats, shirts, more

    Apr 21, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    Zach Randolph AP

    Well done, Zach Randolph and the Memphis Grizzlies.

  5. Nets list Mirza Teletovic as ‘probable’ for Game 2 vs. Hawks

    Apr 21, 2015, 2:43 PM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

    Teletovic was originally ruled out for the season on Jan. 23.

  6. Report: Spurs might get a free agent meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge

    Apr 21, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Another report has Aldridge at no better than 50-50 to re-sign with the Blazers.

  7. Raptors’ Lou Williams: ‘Staying in Toronto would be ideal for me’

    Apr 21, 2015, 11:10 AM EDT

    Toronto Raptors v Charlotte Hornets Getty Images

    Williams will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

  8. PBT Extra matchup to watch: Can Toronto keep Paul Pierce quiet on the court?

    Apr 21, 2015, 12:14 AM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptrkyze4nmfkytlhmjnjodc4mjk4mgq0nzixowuwndg2 AP

    Pierce’s comments made him unpopular north of the border, but his play should bother the Raptors more.

Featured video

Mavericks need to contain Dwight Howard in Game 2
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (5782)
  2. C. Parsons (5709)
  3. K. Durant (5351)
  4. P. George (5286)
  5. T. Splitter (4950)
  1. M. Conley (4901)
  2. L. James (4760)
  3. D. Lee (4712)
  4. K. Bryant (4592)
  5. S. Curry (4504)