Evaluating Phil Jackson and Brian Shaw for Head Coach of Cleveland Cavaliers


This is the second in a series of reviews of possible Cavalier Head Coaches. Click a name below to read other reviews.

Mike Brown

Phil Jackson and Brian Shaw

How it will work:

I believe there is an opportunity for a partnership to work. Yet as everything in Cleveland its a complicated plan. The Cleveland Cavaliers hired Phil Jackson.... and Brian Shaw as their new Head Coach Based on Jackson's health history, as well as desire to do more executive level work, in this scenario he will coach the team at home games and all playoff games. During away games Brian Shaw will coach the team while Jackson stays in Cleveland learning from Christ Grant and company on the many facets of the Front Office. In this way the Cavs benefit from the vast knowledge of the 10 time world champion coach. Shaw gets his first experience running a team and in game adjustments. Jackson is given the respect he deserves from his experience, learns more about front office work, gets to work with an up and coming star in Kyrie Irving and provide an opportunity for one of his pupils in Shaw.

Long term plans call for Jackson to retire from coaching in a year or two, moving into a unique position within the front office. Shaw then steps in as the full time head coach, well trained by his mentor and supported from above by a coaching legend.

How it will fail:

Based on its complicated nature this partnership has many opportunities to fail. Simply having two different coaches could cause a split in the locker room between players who benefit from one coach over the other. Also statistically most if not all teams have a worse record on the road then at home. The pressure would rise then on Shaw as media, players and even the front office start to track the Cavs record With Phil and With Shaw, possibly causing more tension. Lastly this is just a abnormal setup making for chaos and uncertainty.

Likelihood of hire: 

I truly believe this is an amazing opportunity for Jackson, Shaw and the Cavaliers yet the odds of Jackson coming to Cleveland are small, reports say he already has turned down the opportunity  Adding this complexity may actual increase the odds as Phil tends to look out for his own, and Shaw is one of his own. Phil may see a great opportunity to setup Shaw with his first head coaching position. Historically Phil also has shown a propensity to coach the best players in the league and as long as his health holds Kyrie is moving towards at least the top 10 in the league. Also Jackson has spent a significant amount of time coaching in the Midwest, coaching Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.

Effect on draft:

Jackson’s, and Shaw’s, Triangle Offense requires big men who can pass out of the post and high post as well as athletic players capable of cutting off of screens. With Waiters and Irving, as well as Tristan Thompson to some extent, there are some athletic players that fit this offense. Tyler Zeller fits the criteria  for a big man who can pass out of the post but he projects better as a first big man off the bench. His brother, Cody, also fits this criteria and depending on our draft position may be an option. Otto Potter’s all around game and athleticism will also be a option. Given that Jackson and Shaw will be given a great deal of patience to develop their roster Nerlens Noel and his injury will be tough to pass up on even though he might miss part or all of this upcoming season and may not fit as a passing big man.

Effect on free agents:

Just like Pay Riley in Miami a chance to play for and in a organization run by the legend of Phil Jackson will be an opportunity high profile players will want to come play with. In 2014 Jackson may have the opportunity to lure Lebron James, or another big star to join this young roster. If James comes back to Cleveland Jackson’s resume will include coaching Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, by the end of their careers will at least be the Top 3 wing players of all time. Other players near the end of their career would be interested in joining a Jackson coached, or run team, seeking a title prior to retiring.