New Denver Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw means business.
On Wednesday, Shaw revealed that he is trying to instill a greater sense of toughness into his players in training camp, subtly insinuating that Nuggets teams of the past have been relatively soft. Shaw referred to this style of play as "smashmouth basketball" and proceeded to explain the term in the following manner:
"Smashmouth means that you are literally going to get your mouth smashed if you’re going against us for a rebound or a loose ball,” Shaw said. “We want to have a nasty disposition, both offensively and defensively.”
“The style of play … is going to be a little different than what it has been around here for the past few years,” Shaw said. “We do still want to take advantage of getting up and down the floor and take advantage of the climate and the altitude. But, with that being said, the teams I’ve been associated both as a player and as a coach have had success establishing a presence inside, executing in half court and having a defensive identity, as well as being a good rebounding team.”
Shaw's philosophy should play into Denver's strengths. Last season, the Nuggets finished 11th in the league in defensive efficiency, while finishing 4th in the league in rebounding. So, believe it or not, the Nuggets may already be well on their way to playing the smashmouth style Shaw desires.