At practice last week, Brian Shaw was both affable and defensive, consciously pouncing on openings to correct what he believes are misconceptions. That has been the pattern for most of the season, as the NBA rookie head coach tries to make it clear that despite the occasional anarchy on the floor, these guys are being coached.

"After the games, a lot of times I'll sit around," Shaw said the afternoon after the Nuggets' home-court loss to Oklahoma City. "Last night, I sat around with (Altitude analyst) Scott Hastings for about a half hour and we were just talking about the game.

"All the things that he was bringing up, that he was talking about in his telecast, I was like, 'I want you to see the scouting report, I want you to see what we talked about before the game and what was on the board,' because all the things that he was pointing out that we're not doing? We work on, we talk about it, we emphasize every single day."

From there, Shaw emphasized the repetition and lessons in on-court and video work, and expressed frustration that the message was not getting across.

He brought up touching a red-shot stove burner as a curious child and learning that day to never do it again. But, Shaw seemed to imply, these guys just keep touching that burner. They keep making the same mistakes. And even when I made a light-hearted reference to Nate Robinson playing around after practice with a little football, throwing passes to teammates, Shaw said he wasn't thrilled with that little bit of fun, either.

He made a point of saying that there had been plenty of serious film and practice time before the doors opened to the media, and there was another practice day before the next game.
The strange thing is that Shaw played in the league for 14 seasons and was an assistant for nine more, so he is not an NBA neophyte being reminded nightly of the limited influence of even the most respected coaches.