Crazy Nellie: Don Nelson the GM

It struck me today while contemplating the latest batch of ignorant and vicious propaganda regarding Don Nelson to be secreted out of the San Jose Mercury News, that while everyone is agitating over the decision whether to bring Don Nelson back as the coach of the Golden State Warriors, no one is discussing whether it might be worth while to bring him back as the de facto GM of the Warriors, or re-hire him as a “godfather” and paid consultant after his contract is up.  This is a great oversight by the Bay Area media, which, of course, is what we’ve come to expect from these paragons of journalism.  I wish to correct this oversight.  Let’s discuss Don Nelson the GM.

I don’t want to bore you too much with everything I know about Don Nelson as a GM, as for instance all the secondary players he drafted (eg., Paul Pressey (20th, ’82) and Scott Skiles (22nd, ’86)), or all of the secondary players he discovered and created out of the D-leagues (eg., Mario Elie, Avery Johnson, Matt Barnes, Kelenna Azubuike, CJ Watson, Anthony Tolliver).  Or the complete details of how he built four playoff franchises from scratch.

What I want to do is give you is a very simple list of ALL-STARS that Don Nelson has drafted:

  • Marques Johnson (3rd, 1977)
  • Sidney Moncrief (5th, 1979)
  • Mitch Richmond (5th, 1988)
  • Tim Hardaway (14th, 1989)
  • Tyrone Hill (11th, 1990)
  • Chris Gatling (16th, 1991)
  • Latrell Sprewell (24th, 1992)
  • Chris Webber (1st, 1993)
  • Dirk Nowitzki (9th, 1998)
  • Josh Howard (29th, 2003)
  • Stephen Curry (7th, 2009) (I’m being presumptous here. Or am I?)

Do you think any other GM in NBA history has drafted 11 future All-Stars? Do you think any other GM in NBA history has drafted a future All-Star in 6 straight drafts, as Don Nelson did for the Warriors from 1988-93? Has any other GM in NBA history built four playoff franchises from scratch?

Don Nelson has a record as a GM that is unparalleled in league history, and which is likely never to be matched.

Joe Lacob, do you think you can do better?

131 Responses to Crazy Nellie: Don Nelson the GM

  1. “Vicious Propaganda”? How does Lauridsen’s opinion, or Kawakami’s for that matter, rate that pejorative? Because it disagrees with your opinion. On other blogs YOU are considered to be the propagandist with a one-note penny whistle. LOL. You are all pretty much ridiculous, except for Adam, who puts up his viewpoints, defends them, attacks nobody else’s and feels no need to pump himself up.
    Nice summary on Nelson’s draft picks. I agree with you that he is a shrewd evaluator, although Curry was a no-brainer. Nowitzki was genius.

  2. Gnossos, I disagree with you, since Adam’s opinions, like Kawakami’s, exhibit a total disregard of fact, as I have chronicled exhaustively over the years. Adam has a near total ignorance of Nellie’s career prior to his latest Warriors stint, as I have also chronicled, and has no desire to correct that ignorance. That is prejudice, and its persistence and virulence is in my mind vicious.

    Is there any doubt in your mind that Adam, Kawakami and Killion’s recent avalanche of hit pieces are intended to cause Don Nelson’s firing? To bring about an outcome? That, and the fact that they are packed with lies and inaccuracies, is what makes them propaganda.

    Vicious propaganda.

  3. basketball for dummies

    Super idea Nellie as GM! Small obstacle, his BF Riley being in that chair right now. One of the Palace Coups Nels is so good at should take care of that! Best friend-smesh friend, no biggie.

    Curry-Jordan Hill-Curry-Jordan Hill other than that “astute” pick I like your ancient history list! Adam was a fan back than also, his “propaganda” is in the here & now! Maybe you can get “Brother meir” to guest blog all of Nels awards, starting with his “18 year” COYS?

    BTW let me know when you want your bfd handle back, thanks for letting me use it!

    ~now batting MWLX~

  4. basketball for dummies

    No need for carpet bombing. One’ll do!!!

  5. I really don’t think Nelson wants to be a GM, he has said as much in clarifying his current role with the team. thinnk he (at this time) loves game time coaching. Consultant I could see, if there is a way to keep his wisdom on board after next season, it should be done.

  6. basketball for dummies

    (semi) serious question felt

    Did Nelson win your loyalty when you won big on his teams at the Bellagio (?) during “We Believe”?

  7. Follow up, if Riley stays, I think we will have his input even if he’s not on the payroll.

  8. BFD, I’ve been a fan of Nellie since RunTMC, and signed up for the NBA package solely to watch his Mavericks.

    I bet on him at 12-1 against the Mavericks because I saw what he did to them in the regular season, and I knew that he knew how to beat them.

    Ape, I’m not suggesting a new title for Nellie. I believe he is currently the de facto GM of the Warriors, in partnership with the friend he installed in the job. I’d like that partnership to continue. (Sorry I didn’t make this clearer in my post.)

  9. Feltbot – Nelson’s legacy glows, in your mind, but to a lot of people it is yesterday’s news. In his most recent stint things have not gone so well and that is what is being scrutinized. The people you are disagreeing with are criticizing his current strategies, rotations and most of all results. You have been a vigorous and literate defender of his brilliance. But like in today’s column you often delve into the 90’s. That doesn’t seem immediately relevant to many. So they disagree with his fitness for being Coach right now. That’s an opinion, not ‘propaganda’.
    As for those who call for replacing him, yes I see that they are doing that quite openly. But I don’t call it vicious. This is sports. It is all about results and Nelson has not been getting them lately. He is fair game and I bet he would agree.
    Anyway, I won’t be getting into another heated exchange here. It’s really just a semantic point. We will all see what happens.

  10. I was listening to Mad Dog Russo on XM the other day, and some idiot called to rip Joe Torre because the Dodgers have had a mediocre year. It was all Torre’s fault, in this dumbbell’s opinion. Never mind that Torre has been one of the top five managers in baseball for decades. Never mind that no one wins it all every year. Never mind that in pro sports, it has more to do with player talent than managers/coaches.

    So when you write a piece in praise of Don Nelson, you’re asking for the same kind of idiots to come out of the woodwork. People with no perspective, no ability to see the big picture, no ability to break down and analyze a situation. In short, they are not members of the cognoscenti. And you two guys at the top of this column know who I’m talking about.

  11. basketball for dummies

    cog…cogno… Screw it if I can’t spell a $20 word, how am I supposed to know what it means?

    Now i-d-i-o-t I can spell that! And I’d rather be that than one of those ‘cogni-things’ if it means being a closed minded elitist to be one! And how do you know I’m not a Nellie fan that’s simply disappointed in his efforts the last 2 1/2 seasons? There’s plenty of hard evidence to support that.

    jeez MWLX, you even had the temerity to jump all over one of your own, Steve, for recently trying to introduce a couple of links for discussion that weren’t part of the company line!!

    Just goes to show you felt, the bottom feeders here are no different than at Adam’s.

    BTW this trolling thing is kinda fun felt. Thanks for the guiding light!

    (Hey felt, notice any similarities between MWLX & MikeW?)

  12. Gnossos and others —

    Thanks for your thoughts. I stopped reading most of the local press and the other blogs on Nelson simply because the writing was so bad and I had trouble believing much that was said. I just don’t learn anything. Little is put in context, the slightest pieces of evidence are exploded into large, damning indictments. There is little indication of getting beneath the surface and exploring, or that anyone is even trying. Or some try to read body language on a bad night and make something of that. In few do you see a portrait of someone who cares about coaching, has learned anything about basketball in some three decades, or even has a plan on any given night. So much writing doesn’t transcend personal attack because that is all it is, however much the writers put on some kind of mask of reasonableness. The rabid fanatics are not the worst offenders.

    Which is why I keep coming back here (not sucking up, FB) — I learn something that corresponds to what I saw the night before.

    Nelson has to be evaluated in the context of what he has had to work with, what he’s been allowed to do, what he can spend. And coaching and drafting can be risky enterprises. Sometimes you have to take whatever is out there and do the best you can. Sometimes bright prospects don’t pan out. Sometimes you compromise when you don’t quite get the type of player you want. Or you make best use of the talents you have, even if they don’t fit into some ideal plan. Sometimes you gamble and win (S Jax) and sometimes you lose (S Jax). And sometimes you make a mistake — Nelson gets this.

    With that in mind, a more accurate assessment of last year would be that he did a remarkable job with a one-legged team. The guys played hard and together, almost every game, in spite of all. What they never did is look like a team that was lost and had given up. Who gets credit for this?

    One thing I suspect we can all sympathize with is what it’s like to be a good member of a bad organization. The crap falls on everyone and everyone smells bad. And this I suspect we’re all in agreement with, the Warriors have had a really bad organization, without a coherent plan or guidance. Lacob should change all this. Has Nelson overextended himself and tired to force his will on the club (if this happened) or has he stepped up to fill a vacuum, when no one else would act intelligently (if it did)?

    I still can’t sort out all that happened with the We Believe team and other fiascos — but I’ve yet to read a clear and convincing explanation. One problem is that we never got good communication from the organization. Nor did the organization stand by, promote, and defend its many decisions, or its coach and players. Cohan again — and Lacob has shown he intends to take care of both issues.

    Nelson has repeatedly said he avoids the press because they blow things up. And it intrigues me that Ellis went to a blog to say what we’ve all been waiting to hear. He didn’t feel comfortable with anyone else. This speaks volumes on the state of reporting we’ve had.

  13. Halberstam again from Breaks:

    “. . . a professional coach gained what authority he could by exercise of his intelligence, his subtlety, his very being. He was on his own and Ramsay [Portland coach then] believed as an article of faith that no loyalty, either from those above who employed you, or those below who played for you, could be expected. . . . Therefore a coach must learn that loyalty was valueless, and might even work against him. . . . For this reason, Ramsay rationed his emotions in his personal relations with his players.”

    This is the environment Nelson has had to work in. And this environment of mistrust is what the media has fed. No wonder he holds his cards close to his vest.

  14. rggblog: Great analysis and perspective, clearly written. What a pleasure to read your posts.

  15. rgg: Your post is as good as it gets…Thanks!

    It is possible there are contributions of this quality elsewhere, but you have to slog through so much dreck, it’s not worth searching out.

  16. Yes thanks for your very astute and readable observations, rgg, and the rest of you guys as well. I really enjoy the conversation here, whether with me or against me.

    Gnossos you make an excellent point that this is sports and Nellie is fair game. I totally agree with you. Indeed, I frequently take hard-nosed shots at other coaches and GMs (not to mention other sportswriters) myself.

    Where I differ from the Merc writers is that if I write something intentionally designed to get someone fired, I am going to make damn sure that I have all my facts straight. I’m going to write it from a standpoint of factual analysis, not ignorance, blind prejudice or hate.

  17. Gnosssos: Your comment “This is sports. It is all about results and Nelson has not been getting them lately” has merit on the face of it. However I’d bet it is 100% that without the twin handicaps of shitty ownership and incredibly bad luck with injuries, you couldn’t be making that comment.

  18. Let’s not forget that sports writing is basically a form of entertainment that has to lure it’s audience with lurid and controversial topics. Some sports reporters do this through investigative journalism, others go “tabloid” and most employ both. Too often they just regurgitate what comes off the wire. To remain relevant and draw an audience, they try to stir the emotions of the fans. This really is a cheap trick and is far short of true journalism. I’d have to say the Cohn is the grand old master of this technique, a brilliant writer with an amazing portfolio but little new to offer. Kawakami’s the most spiteful but also digs hard (apply “dirt” pun here) for stories. Lauridsen to often employs superficial intellect. By clicking on their blogs, subscribing to their newspapers and, especially posting comments, you help their cause. Audience equals employment. Obviously, I’m just one more sucker because I find myself reading their incendiary dribble. If we really want to affect a change, a simple boycott would be most effective. Finally, I doubt that tabloid reporting could sway Lacob’s coaching decision one way or the other. If anything, Lacob is not only skilled at asking the right question but also who’s opinion he values.

  19. On the improbable, but interesting front – GSW reportedly still in the mix for Earl Watson:

  20. Rasheed Malek of Warriorsworld is one hell of a writer and his analysis is very, very good.

  21. Yes, nice writeup. But did Rasheed Malek write it or Rick Blaine?

  22. Oops, Written by Rick, posted by Sheed.

  23. Fantasy basketball anyone? The Yahoo player rankings just came out and Stephen Curry is ranked 6th in the league! David Lee is ranked 11th and Monta Ellis somewhere in the 20-30s (I’m relying on secondhand information).

    Those familiar with fantasy basketball shouldn’t be shocked by this, as Curry will finish at or near the top in 5 of the 8 statistical categories: Steals, Assists, FG%, 3pt %, and FT %. He will also finish at or near the top in rebounding from the guard position, and probably in the top 10% in scoring. Blocks is the only category in which he doesn’t help a fantasy team.

    If my expectations for this season are fulfilled, I would expect Curry to be a top 3 fantasy player next season.

  24. Sorry Feltbot, but you seem to be making this into a production of ‘Othello’ with Lauridsen cast as Iago, pouring spiteful lies and malicious slander into Lacob’s ears. I don’t read it like that in any way. Adam is mild enough, just doesn’t agree with you. “Trying to get him fired”? Like management is going to listen to a bunch of bloggers? We’d better hope not. As brilliant as our insights into these matters are.

  25. Does that make Nellie Desdemona?

  26. Interesting insight into Dorell Wright, interview with Miami Heat broadcaster:

  27. Marcus Thompson writes about GSW getting Melo even if he wouldn’t sign an extension .

    This would be splashy, but also REALLY stupid. While “splashy” probably describes Lacob to a tee, I seriously doubt “stupid” belongs anywhere in the same sentence with the new Warriors’ owner.

    In the end, IMO, this is all meaningless speculation. The Warriors don’t have (other than Curry) what Denver wants, and just as well. Melo is obviously a very good player, but hardly worth gutting your team in any attempt to acquire his services.

  28. Thanks, Steve. Here’s what I posted on Marcus’ blog:

    I’m getting the sense that Philadelphia may be dangling Evan Turner rather than Iggy. Why would Melo want to enter a rebuilding project? A Melo Iggy pairing could make some noise. Another subplot: Evan Turner was surprisingly bustular in the LV summer league.

    I don’t see the Warriors landing Melo without involving either Biedrins or Monta, in what would probably have to be a three team deal. I don’t see Denver, or any team for that matter, being interested in Reggie Williams, Udoh and particularly Lin in return for a major talent. Those players are still unproven and have a lot of doubters.

    It kind of makes sense that the Ws wouldn’t require Melo to sign an extension, because what is the downside if he walks? They will be well under the cap going into the lockout, and after the lockout ends they will be prime players for the next available superstar, and for the first time in recent history have a real ability to attract one. For these reasons:

    1) With pick and roll partner David Lee in the fold, this season will be Stephen Curry’s REAL coming out party as a superstar NBA point guard.

    2) Joe Lacob will have a great relationship with NBA agents, and be able to convince them and their clients that he’s all about winning a championship.

    3) Lacob will have had the opportunity to put a good successor to Nellie in place; and

    4) The Bay Area, and Warriors fans.

  29. Steve: I’ll assume you’re sitting down when you read this: I agree with you completely…. With Monta’s new attitude, acquiring Melo makes sense to me only if they can keep Ellis, Lee and Curry. Highly unlikely, so let’s talk about the other item Marcus hinted at — acquiring Andre Iguodala. Feasible?

  30. Felt, that’s another way of breaking down the subject matter, and definitely food-for-thought when laying out all the pros and cons that this type of move would involve. Personally, I wouldn’t do it. Not because I’m against making bold moves and risk-taking. In fact, quite the contrary. What I’m not in favor of is “clearing the decks” for the “next available superstar”.

    The Warriors had apparently been interested in David Lee for a number of years, and when the chance to acquire him finally presented itself, they went all in to make it happen. Contrast that situation to back when Baron Davis left for LA. The Warriors first threw many millions at Gilbert Arenas, then Elton Brand, and finally Corey Maggette. The point being that when you have money to spend, and a list from which to choose, your final choice might not be the best choice. And that list from which to choose might be filled with star talent that’s more perceived than real. I’d much rather continue the process of building and getting stronger year by year, while at the same time always on the lookout for that one specific player that could put you over the top in regards to contending for a title. The approach of clearing a ton of cap space for the sole purpose of going “window shopping” would not be my blueprint for building a championship team.

  31. I agree with you, Steve, but I think Lacob believes that if he landed Melo, he and Steph Curry and Lee could convince him to stay. And even if they couldn’t, it wouldn’t be a disaster. This might be a simple case of risk/reward analysis for Poker Joe.

    I love Monta Ellis, particularly now with his fully committed attitude, but it would be very tough to turn down Melo for Monta. I don’t think its going too far to say that Curry, Lee and Melo could be a championship core.

  32. MWLX, yes I was sitting down when I read your blog. I won’t say WHERE I was sitting down (hint: when I reached for the paper it wasn’t the newspaper), but I WAS sitting down. And btw, you have a knack for bringing out that certain thing in people. :)

    Don’t know if getting Iguodala would be feasible, but if so I’d be all for it. Have always liked his game.

    MWLX, I hope you don’t think I have bad thoughts about you? I think you’re good guy, and I’ve never had a problem with your viewpoints. Your damn ten cent words have sent me paging through my dictionary way too often, but otherwise we’re cool. :)

  33. Felt, I just wish that Biedrins was anything but a center, because that’s the guy I’d love to see traded. Yep, Curry, Lee and Melo would be fun to watch, I give you that.

    Lacob is going to make some big moves, and likely sooner than later. From the traveling road show in Miami to the “new” Warriors, I can’t remember being more amped for a new NBA season.

  34. This website is mind-numbingly insipid.

  35. Yeah, that’s right, we’re insipid…you jealous? Haha!

    :::looking up “insipid”:::

    Uh…”flavorless supermarket tomatoes”? Huh? Stupid interweb.

  36. Nelli back in town. Also Biedrins in town working out… himself. What a great team guy, that AB.

  37. Thanks for the update, Steve.

    I’m a bit late, but great posts by rgg.

    Gnossos, Adam has gone from good to biased and paranoid. He didn’t even think Cohan was telling the truth about selling the W’s – it was a plot to sell more season tickets. When you’re thinking is that clouded, it’s time to give it a rest.

    Feltbot, we might have to remind Adam of his blog title after the Lee trade. It was “Randolph for Lee -How Bad Teams Stay Bad.”
    That’s gonna look silly in a few months…and years.

    Alright, time for me start reading regularly again. Preseason on the way…can’t wait.

  38. We’re gettin’ there, ET…

    Regular season in 34 days.

  39. ET- Give Kawakami his due then. He called the sale last summer. And why shouldn’t people have expected the worst from Cohan? Happily for us all, he ended up selling. And on this blog biased only means “does not love Nellie”, so that’s not much of an indictment either.

  40. Don_Nelson_SUCKS

    DON NELSON FIRED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good Riddance

    OVERRATED BUM IS GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!


  42. I assume FB will hold forth when he gets back from the liquor store.

    I hope at some point we get an explanation. I have yet to hear compelling arguments why Nelson was not the best man for the job this season. If it was done to “show” that the new ownership is trying to create an “environment of winning,” I am disappointed. This is superficial and self-defeating. Maybe there are other factors we don’t know about (how is his health?).

    I never was a huge Nelson fan. But there were so many games over the last years, even or especially last year, where I watched a style of play that made the game worth watching, one I had elsewhere grown tired of watching. A vote for Nelson was a vote for the game itself.

    Now I’m wondering how seriously they are pursuing Melo, how much they might give up to get him. And with Smart as new coach, untested, and the expectations Lacob has set, it could be a volatile situation. I like Smart, though, and wish him the best.

    The king is dead. Long live the king.

  43. Bottom line: Will Smart do a better job than Nelson would have done this season? If your answer is “yes” I suggest taking up another sport to follow cause you’re clueless on the NBA. Keith Smart, I’m sure, is a very nice guy, but please, what would make anyone think he’s head coaching material?

    I don’t come to feltbot’s blog because I have a man-crush on Don Nelson. He’s been a great coach who should already be in the HOF. And he’s easily been the best coach in GSW history. Give him the players that Phil Jackson has been lucky enough to coach and he’d have his share of championship coaching rings. All that said, I first and foremost want to see the Warriors win and become a top organization in the process. Replacing Nelson with Smart is making a change just to make a change. I’m not “bummed out” that Nelli is leaving, just don’t give me this guy as his replacement.

    It’s a shame Nelson won’t have a chance to coach what should be a pretty good team this season. Hopefully he’ll have an opportunity to stay in the game in some capacity going forward if he so desires. As a longtime fan of the Warriors I appreciate the good times cause Lord knows there haven’t been many over the years. Thank you, Nelli, for those good times.

  44. basketball for dummies

    My respects to those on this site that have been loyal Nellie supporters. I don’t get the glee elsewhere celebrating this move, even though I believe it was time. Jeez a remarkable 31 year career, that should have him in the “Hall” already, deserves respect. Even though my beef was with his waning passion & energy the last couple seasons. He’ll be missed.

    So now it’s time to throw support behind Smart.

  45. feltbot just peed in his pants. without nelson to defend, feltnot will have to find something else equally stupid to defend,

  46. I’m sure that most who are familiar with this site will be interested to get my reaction to this news. Obviously, I’m greatly disappointed for this season. I’m going to miss what could have been one last outstanding season of Don Nelson basketball, with a real roster.

    For more than that, I’m going to wait until after the official announcement. I’d like to absorb the interviews, which I guess will come on Warriors media day, before commenting fully.

  47. Here’s the ESPN report. Nothing like the voice of Ric Bucher to round out the day.

  48. I am so disappointed too. Nellie is the best coach for this team and Lacob made a major mistake!

  49. I am disappointed on several fronts.

    The timing is just odd and on the face of it doesn’t speak well for the new owners. If Lacob was so bent on a change and Smart was an acceptable replacement, why not announce it sooner? If he cares about public impressions, as he says, and wanted to assure Warriordom of direction, why wait until training camp? (Unless there was some kind of disagreement between Nelson and Lacob over his role next year, or maybe they were looking at other coaches behind the scenes that didn’t pan out? But I’m tired of making idle guesses.)

  50. “on the face of it this doesn’t speak well of the new owners.” RGG, you are correct. Hells bells, we’ve had 15 straight years of crappy decisions I don’t know if I can take any more. This is ominous…there had better be a reason, such as Nelson’s health.

  51. rgg, the timing was very likely dependent on a face-to-face between lacob and nelson, and nelson didn’t return to oaktown until a few days ago to prepare for the start of training camp.
    my expectations of the new owners will be adjusted downward–they will probably make conservative changes with their new investment until some of the clouds from the pending expiration of the c.b.a. get blown away on the financial side, and a thorough evaluation of the significantly made-over roster is carried through on the hoops side, with questions hanging over all three of the vets who have large, long-term deals.

  52. I have a feeling we’ll never find out what we need to know here, least of all from Nelson. The thing that has to be considered is that this definitely would have been Nelson’s last year with the Warriors. So the issue is transition.

    If they’re only looking for an interim coach and aren’t serious about Smart, they would have kept Nelson simply because of continuity and his experience. If Smart is seen as an interim coach, he’s going to be in a tough — impossible? — spot. Also, how can they start a season with so many new players, with such high expectations, using a coach they intend to replace? This doesn’t speak to stability or wins next year or the future.

    But if they are serious about Smart — and I’ve heard multi-year contract mentioned — they have to give him a shot. Couldn’t he have waited a year, or perhaps picked up the reins more as the season went along? And if Smart is serious about taking over, I hope he is calling his shots and demanding terms (or is this what happened?). A new head coach will have to have that confidence in himself and have terms that will give him a chance to prove himself and room and time to develop.

    If they’re not serious about Smart, but are just looking for a stopgap solution, I really wonder what they’re doing. And if they don’t put full confidence in him, even if for just one year, but try to direct from above, I’m really worried.

  53. moto —

    I didn’t see your post when I wrote my last one. But even so, why wait, why not contact Nelson sooner? It sounds like this was their intent all along. Or did things take time to develop?

    Keep posting, btw!

  54. From Marcus Thompson (who is NOT included in my rant above):

    “I had talked to a few players earlier this summer about whether they wanted to leave. They all said they’d rather Don Nelson to be back, but if the team went a different direction, their vote was for Keith Smart.”

    Not hard to figure out who those few players were, since there are only a few returning. OK, exactly what factors went into this decision?

  55. Don_Nelson_SUCKS

    The maestro DON NELSON KING OF ***NO!!!!!!!!!*** RINGS. THAT IS RIGHT ZERO. So effing brilliant according to Feltnot that he can’t even win a title after drafting All Stars in 6 consecutive drafts. Well get a clue.

    master don the egotist who wanted things done HIS WAY. didn’t understand that “NBA” championships are won by players and NOT mismatches and schemes. thought he could play 4 guards and Bill Russell but never realized that andris is no bill russell.

    Don Nelson has NOTHING on Jerry West. It is about TITLES not ALL STARS

  56. Don_Nelson_SUCKS

    Nothing good ever comes from teams that put the long-term future of their franchise in the hands of Nelson. And the recent trend has seen good things happening to teams the year after they get rid of him.

    The Dallas Mavericks went to the NBA Finals under Avery Johnson in his first full season after replacing Nelson. The New York Knicks made the rare move of firing a coach in the middle of a winning season when they let Nelson go in 1995-96, but the next season they were 57-25 with Jeff Van Gundy in charge.

  57. “And the recent trend has seen good things happening to teams the year after they get rid of him.”

    The Warriors, for example, 1995-2005?

  58. Don_Nelson_SUCKS

    The Warriors, for example, 1995-2005?

    You can Thank Don Nelson for Trading Webber.

  59. 1994–95 Western Pacific 6th 26 56 .317
    1995–96 Western Pacific 6th 36 46 .439
    1996–97 Western Pacific 7th 30 52 .366
    1997–98 Western Pacific 6th 19 63 .232
    1998–99 Western Pacific 6th 21 29 .420
    1999–00 Western Pacific 6th 19 63 .232
    2000–01 Western Pacific 7th 17 65 .207
    2001–02 Western Pacific 7th 21 61 .256
    2002–03 Western Pacific 6th 38 44 .463
    2003–04 Western Pacific 5th 37 45 .451
    2004–05 Western Pacific 5th 34 48 .415

  60. Lacob planned on keeping Nellie til the last sec. something happened in the last day or so right here in the Bay Area. The Lacob had to change course and made a hasty decision.

    Sounded like Lacob is a Cohan light.

  61. Just want to add my vote to those who are very disappointed at Nelson’s departure and deeply troubled with what this says about Lacob’s strategy, if in fact he has one. The puzzling decision to replace Nelson with his mild-mannered protege, and his earlier move to bring in the complete longshot, Jeremy Lin, have me worried that Lacob is all hat and no cattle.

  62. Don_Nelson_SUCKS

    Time to put FACT before FICTION.


    So now every head coach gets credit for drafting the players that his GM does. The first two drafted were not drafted by Don Nelson so stop with the BS.

    What I want to do is give you is a very simple list of ALL-STARS that Don Nelson has drafted:

    * Marques Johnson (3rd, 1977) NELSON WAS NOT THE GM
    * Sidney Moncrief (5th, 1979) NELSON WAS NOT THE GM
    * Mitch Richmond (5th, 1988)
    * Tim Hardaway (14th, 1989)
    * Tyrone Hill (11th, 1990)
    * Chris Gatling (16th, 1991) 1 FLUKE ALL STAR appearance Carreer 10PPG, 7RB
    * Latrell Sprewell (24th, 1992)
    * Chris Webber (1st, 1993)
    * Dirk Nowitzki (9th, 1998)
    * Josh Howard (29th, 2003)
    * Stephen Curry (7th, 2009) (I’m being presumptous here. Or am I?)

  63. Nelson took over the reins as general manager and head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1976, and if he wasn’t the one who drafted M Johnson in 1977 and S Moncrief in 79, who did then? On wikipedia, it stated Don Nelson “made his first trade of Swen Nater to the Buffalo Braves and turned the draft pick he received into Marques Johnson, who had a solid career with the Bucks.” Look like feltbot is correct and D_N_S sucks in his research.

  64. Don_Nelson_SUCKS

    Don Nelson DID not draft Chris Webber. He drafted Penny Hardaway and trade 3 #1 Draft picks plus penny to get Webber.

    Don Nelson DID Not draft Steph Curry either.

  65. Don_Nelson_SUCKS

    I don’t care how many All Stars he drafted. ALL STARS do not win NBA Titles. COMPLETE TEAMS win NBA Titles. That is something that Don Nelson NEVER mastered the art of building a complete team. If he so wonderful why did he never win a title. You keep telling me how brilliant he was in finding all these jewel of player. He has nothing on Jerry West and he has nothing on Phil Jackson. Put Nelson as coach of the Lakers and Kobe would have been trade. All Nelly does is destroy teams. It is no coincidence that player after player that he coaches demands to be traded.

  66. I’m also very disappointed. Just canceled my NBA broadband online. The team, and the NBA, just won’t be the same without Nelson.

  67. From the ESPN article:

    “. . . sources close to the situation said Nelson was hoping to be enthusiastically received this week after returning to Oakland from his offseason home in Maui.”

    If so, there wasn’t anything on Nelson’s end to account for why he stepped down. That he didn’t coach summer league, as he said he would, means nothing. He didn’t have any players there, other than Reggie. I assume Nelson always knew there was a chance he wouldn’t be asked to return, but it looks like he was kept out of the loop and Lacob decided at the last minute.

    One of the losses to Nelson and to us is that he would have ended his career with what looks (finally) to be a very coachable team.

  68. Don_Nelson_SUCKS

    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit, it is not an authoritative source

  69. DNS:
    WHAT, no CAPS for EVERY other WORD? You’re SHOUTING so LOUD I can’t UNDERSTAND you.

  70. Several questions answered here (from Steinmetz):

    “O’Connor [Nelson’s agent] said Nelson, 70, saw the handwriting on the wall in early July, when the Warriors didn’t extend a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Anthony Tolliver and didn’t extend the contract of assistant coach Scott Roth. Nelson was a big fan of Tolliver, one of the D-League callups, and helped bring Roth on board before the 2009-10 season.”

  71. rgg, stuck as we are in the realm of speculation we can only guess when lacob reached his decision on the coach. even if he deferred his final verdict until he personally met w. nelson, there’s plenty of circumstantial evidence he’d already resolved to make the change, and the practical difference it makes on the team’s preparation for the season is minimal, as long as the change was made prior to the start of training camp and there was sufficient staff present at the facility to get the early arrivals going, which appears to be the case.

    lacob had already made it clear that nelson’s contract wasn’t a factor in favor of retaining him, using the phrase, ‘sunk cost.’ lacob also pointed out in one of the early interviews after his ‘ascension’ that he hadn’t met nelson , only talked over the phone, but the absence of any mention of a prior acquaintance w. nelson struck me as curious, considering he’d been a season ticket holder and associated with the league for a while. over the summer he’s made complimentary remarks on rowell’s or riley’s accomplishments, and minimal or nothing about nelson.

    lacob seems to give a high priority on how the public perceives him, and apparently wants to seem calm, deliberate, neither hasty nor over-reacting. he added minority owners to his group methodically after he won the bid, although it would delay the approval process and the moment he’d be able to implement his decisions and changes directly. he strongly expressed his disapproval of players expressing their dissent or complaints in the media, and of anyone in the organization failing to show they were focused on improving the team–he probably detested what the media made of nelson in terms of the image projected to the public of the team’s leader (and practically speaking, the damage had already been done, and he would not be able to change the verdict in the minds of most in the media).

    lacob’s need to control perceptions also would have ruled out firing nelson in a phone conversation, or making any public announcement before meeting nelson personally. doing things in this sequence, he can get nelson’s cooperation, rather than more dissonance through the media. lacob is surely aware there still remained a small faction of nelson supporters within that constituency he wants to exploit. when dugout doug macarthur was relieved of duty by truman in the middle of a bitterly fought war, he was still granted a dignified exit by appearing before a joint session of congress for his farewell speech. we’ll get nelson’s variation of that in a few days.

  72. This just in:

    After conferring with his favorite Bay Area blogger Feltbot, Pat Riley has announced the hiring of Don Nelson to coach the small-ball Miami Heat.
    Said Riley: “The only thing missing from Nellie’s resume is a championship. He’ll get one here…AND it will be fun to watch.”

  73. moto,

    Nicely put and this makes a lot of sense. The surprise really was to us on the outside, who all read signs the other way, namely that the delay meant that Nelson would return (but apparently Nelson thought the same?). And Lacob decided that the majority of the fan base was neutral or anti-Nelson, thus there would be no great damage caused by the late announcement?

    I’m still curious why there couldn’t have been a flight somewhere by someone — these guys have money! Nelson, let’s sit down and talk. This sounds like an affront to Nelson. But there’s a whole system of hidden protocols which probably would still be alien to me once I saw them. And maybe Lacob decided he had given enough signs to Nelson — nixing the Tolliver trade (through Riley?), keeping his distance from Nelson, talking to Kawakami and saying what he did (you were probably right, Gnossos — and Lacob probably orchestrated the event), and Nelson must have had limited input, or at least not the final vote, on the other trades — enough signs that Lacob decided he had given Nelson sufficient indication?

    I’m still curious why Lacob waited, but maybe stringing out the clues above was his way of dealing with the situation, perhaps because he wanted to give it time to sink in, perhaps he wanted to leave options open up until the last minute, just in case there was some kind of change, e.g. deciding Smart was not suitable?

    Or maybe, given your MacArthur comparison, if it applies, Nelson had to be approached slowly and at a distance.

    I must confess, though, this kind of thinking makes me dizzy, and I’m leery of people who are invested in reading and controlling perceptions. Bad perceptions are a significant part of the organization’s problems. And giving into perceptions is not always a good plan (never in my book).

    We may have to learn how to read this guy and his signs. I’ve struck out so far. I understand in communist China, long ago, people learned which public figures were falling out of favor with the party by looking at the propaganda posters and finding them with grey hair, etc.

  74. The questions answered in my comment four posts up:

    1. Why Tolliver was not signed.

    2. Nelson had limited power in the decisions. Riley held the reins — in consultation with Lacob?

    3. And again, why Nelson was let go.

    But I wonder if Nelson has really had as much power as so many have suspected — and whether he’s guilty of all the things he’s been blamed for. I’ve heard him express genuine regret over the Chris Mullin firing, for example. He’s not going to name his bosses.

    So many have been so occupied in the smear campaign that they haven’t been paying attention. “Nelson doesn’t get along with players, doesn’t appreciate younger players” etc. I remember from his interviews his talking about, for example Curry and Reggie Williams, and his expression was of genuine joy.

    I don’t like the way the change has happened.

  75. I wish I could communicate with the grace and style of some of the outstanding contributors to this blog…but I can’t. I just know that a lot of the joy and anticipation of this season has disappeared, that the thousand words speculating above might be in error and we in fact have an owner who is Cohan part II. A post from another blog keeps rattling around my head remembering how the local media got into an owner’s head and ran off none other than Bill Walsh. Which of course was the beginning of the end for 49er football.

    And I remember the last time Nelson left, we descended into darkness, only to briefly rise upon his return. Regardless whether Nelson had lost his magic (or still had it but had been derailed by injuries and Cohan) I was REALLY looking forward to what he would do in his last year with us.

    Walsh leaves; joy lost. Nelson leaves; joy lost. Nelson gone again; strike three?

    I am sad.

  76. basketball for dummies

    felty I’ve got my “Dramamine” ready for your pending Nellie glorification!

    What will become of your blog?

    I think it’s about to get a whole lot better. Maybe you’ll be able to focus on what you do best, your post game breakdowns . without sliding into the constant Nellie hyperbole.

  77. This is encouraging:

    “Several of the players — Curry, guard Monta Ellis, center Andris Biedrins, forward Brandan Wright — have strong relationships with Smart, who has worked with them since they came into the league.”

    (Check your link FB?)

  78. What players think of the coach is no big factor. I’ve see many situations where employees wanted a certain person to be their manager. Yet that person was not the most effective choice.

    Let’s look at basketball examples. Do you think every Laker player has the warm fuzzies for Phil Jackson? Did every Heat player feel the love for Pat Reilly? How about Jerry Sloan? Those coaches are proven winners, but they’re not hired to be Mister Nice Guy. Sometimes they kick a player’s butt. They’re tough. But when Nelson kicked butt he was considered mean by our local idiots, or was slandered with the stupid notion that he didn’t like young players. Maybe some still players left on the roster felt Nelson’s sting and think Keith Smart will be nicer to them.

    Smart seems like a heckuva solid human being. As a head coach? We have little to go on except his brief but poor 9-31 record in Cleveland. He now has the opportunity to prove himself with this team. I suspect he’ll be “nicer” but will he develop a winner? I have my fingers crossed, but my expectations for the season are decidedly lower than they were a few days ago.

  79. rgg, tolliver found a better financial deal and probably a better situation (his perimeter game might fit into rambis’ triangle variation). there were two opportunities to keep him, re-signing him back in May when r.williams was retained, or after other roster issues were resolved, when he was a free agent. the team has need of amundson’s skills more than tolliver’s, and tolliver’s minutes last season were misleading, for he is not really a starting level player on a decent team. once he was a free agent he wanted to take maximum economic advantage of that status (a finance major in college who advises frugality for journeymen and d-league players). there was little reason to give him a guaranteed deal last spring when there were roster issues with higher priority to be resolved (who could have predicted that not only would m’gette get liberated but they’d secure an upper tier starting 4?)

    from the new owners’ perspective there were very good reasons not to make a visit to maui over the summer, or send a corporate jet to ferry nelson–in the negotiating game, that kind of gesture enhances nelson’s status or ‘face’. acting detached and aloof, the new owners were sending a message that they controlled his fate, and fits with the other circumstantial bits that suggest that lacob had formed his preferences if not a conclusion.

    oregon, lacob has put much energy and time to show he’s the anti-cohan (of course it’s too soon to tell how much of it is mere show), that he’ll interact extensively with the public and media directly, and that he’ll be personally involved with hoops decisions. from his remarks about his expectations of how his employees conduct themselves as professionals, he probably agrees with at least some of the media’s tarring of nelson–nelson used to bring a can of brew up to the post game media briefs until the league sent a memo. we have no reason to believe lacob will differ from cohan in one major way, however–he will seek to maximize revenue while the team flounders in the league’s fodder-purgatory where the playoffs are just out of reach and the lottery pickings are slim.

  80. Some thoughtful takes from fans, including Paul Wong of We Believe fame, and Dan Turman of Fear the Beard:

  81. moto —

    Thanks again, and once again a pleasure to read. Even if you’re wrong, I learned something. But that makes sense. The other cue I’ve ignored or misread is that Lacob has repeatedly said he has real differences with Nelson — I recall issues of defense.

    Or is this a perception? Felbot has spoken often and well on Nelson and defense, and the problems he’s had implementing it. My most distinct memories of AR are of his getting pulled after missing a block-out or being out of place on defense. I also recall a very nice conversation he had, on the bench, with Raja Bell in the Boston game.

    For Nelson proponents, the largest regret should be that Nelson never had a powerful organization to work with five years ago, or twenty. Who knows? It might have been a Lacob show.

    The second largest regret is that he couldn’t spend several years with the players he has now. I see real potential, with players he can work with. But this isn’t going to happen.

    Which leaves us with one year next year. I don’t know how much he might have accomplished, though I’d like to think he could have solidified this squad. He certainly deserved to end his career on a better note. But we’re only talking one year, and only about a start, and someone would have had to start again the next year. Maybe he could have had some kind of less active, more advisory role — and Smart was taking a more active role last year — but I don’t know how that would have played with Riley/Smart. And, again, maybe it just wasn’t what Lacob wanted and maybe Nelson wouldn’t have had the freedom he would have needed. Also, I don’t know how Nelson would take such a role. It would have been hard for him to give up his authority as coach, or be in a position where he didn’t have as much.

    I’ll hold my breath on Lacob and give him the benefit of a doubt. He’s got to look 2-3 years down the road and needs to provide some continuity with the pieces he’s got — the core players, now Smart, and maybe Riley. (I’m not clear how much Riley and Nelson see eye to eye, how well they get along.)

    And I suppose Lacob really is in a position that he has to make major decisions now, given the coaching situation, the flux in the FO. But if he is going to try to run the team in the years to come, I am worried. That’s a coach’s job.

    MWLX —
    It’s encouraging because the players who like Smart are core players. And Curry and Ellis are not slackers, but are committed to playing hard and winning, though maybe in different ways. Worst case scenario would be having a new coach who didn’t appreciate the talents of either one. As for AB and BW, they both have to feel snake bit. Maybe it will do them good to get a second chance with someone else, especially someone they feel good about. The team will need all it can get out of both next year. (I doubt that Nelson is to blame with either — injuries especially stalled both players.)

    Feltbot —

    I wonder how unpopular Nelson actually was. A handful of writers and a bloggers, but who unfortunately got heard, their rumors spread. Whenever I watched games at Oracle, I saw a packed arena of enthusiastic, screaming fans.

    Perceptions. . . .

  82. While I’m at it (and I’m just filling space until we hear from FB) —

    The comment I’ve often heard about the Nelson Warriors, especially from local and national commentators, is that they were “fun” to watch.

    Muhammad Ali was “fun” to watch.

    The Walsh 49’s were “fun” to watch.

    (Somebody keep going with this list.)

    “Fun” is not the word. “Inspiring” perhaps is better. What is “fun” is seeing a display of speed and skill and spirit and intelligence and imagination; in team sports, of a coordination of players into a single effort. These are the things that define a sport and make it worth watching, maybe give us some proof that such things are possible and might be worthwhile in our own lives.

    And these are what Nelson gave us for so many years, as best he could with what he had.

    Much thanks.

  83. Relatively respectful piece from Art Spander at RealClearSports:

  84. from Mike Fisher of
    “Uncle Nellie is done.
    I am working on some sort of tribute to his career, a fitting retrospective on a guy who has given so much entertainment to basketball fans and to Mavs fans, a guy who coached 31 seasons, who made everlasting inn0vations, who won five rings as a player, who out-thought the top-seeded Mavs in that 2007 playoff series, and who in the end is being pushed/jumping from the Warriors with an all-time NBA-wins record of 1,335-1,063.
    But this is gong to take some time because Don Nelson has meant so much to me personally. So give me some elbow room here as I sift through notes written on old bar napkins — my notes and Nellie’s notes — and I’ll come up with something.”

    Whatever mavs-related ambivalence he may have, Fisher gets it.

  85. Very nice piece from Art Spander, gm, thanks.

  86. Nelson’s Shot, Russell’s Championship Farewell; Game 7, 1969 NBA Finals:
    “The Celtics were watching a 17-point fourth-quarter lead slip away against the heavily favored Lakers at the Forum. With the lead cut to 103-102 in the final minutes, the ball was knocked away from John Havlicek, into the hands of Don Nelson at the free-throw line. Nellie put up a shot that hit the back of the rim and got the ultimate shooter’s bounce: straight down and straight through the net. From there, Boston held on to win 108-106 as Bill Russell retired with the most improbable of his 11 titles.” –

  87. Well this blog just took a nosedive into the pond of irrelevance.

  88. Feltwho: Now you may return to the Kawakami cesspool, where you can swim to your heart’s content in the quest for so-called relevance.

  89. Just read the following blogger comment on tonight’s story about the Warriors: “I just hope the dubs don’t go back to the Musselman days. The team was better defensively, but scored fewer points and in the end was not only a loser, but a boring one as well.” Enough said.

  90. MWLX,
    Agreed on your last post. However I’m feeling a bit better watching the press conf. live right now. KS seems quite confident and capable.

  91. Steinmetz today:

    Look, I like Smart as much as anyone, and he should definitely get one more shot at becoming an NBA head coach. But it shouldn’t be the Warriors, and it shouldn’t be now. He is set up to fail, plain and simple. Smart inherited an interesting team, but one that is young and flawed. He’s looking at 35 wins, maybe, give or take.

    But that’s not going to cut it, and everyone knows it.

    By that point, Smart will either be sitting with another year or two left on his deal (should he be extended, as reports have indicated) or he will have just completed his one and only season as a lame duck, and you’re in the exact same spot as you are now.

  92. Prediction:

    The theme for reporting and blogging this year will be does Smart have the cojones to be head coach, and in fact it has already started. Every loss, every debatable decision that went wrong will be taken as evidence that he does not.

    While I’m in a mood to be surprised, any coach (including Nelson) should probably expect a range of 30-40 wins. Smart will probably fall within that range, and it will be taken as proof for the need to replace him. Steinmetz is probably right — it’s a set-up.

    All the more reason to have kept Nelson until he can find the replacement he wants.

  93. rgg,

    I’m thinking an automatic 10 extra wins by virtue of a fully healthy squad. (Okay, just now remember there are some health questions lingering for EU, BW, and AB.)
    Then if KS can coach a few more wins out of the squad, then we’ll be sniffing the 8th spot.

    Don’t know if that would be proof enough of a failed season, especially since Lacob is all about the long term bigger picture.

    However, if this team gets only 30 wins (only 4 more than last season) with a healthy squad, then for sure he would need to go.

  94. Did any of our brilliant Bay Area sports journalists think to inquire about the terms of Keith Smart’s contract? Specifically: for how many years does it run?

    That’s something I need to know before I weigh in.

  95. FB — I haven’t heard, and it’s strange. I scanned the Comcast site and listened to the interviews. Riley was definitely taking charge, and was quite clear that the trade and coaching decisions were his (with consultation).

    For what it’s worth, I ran across this:

    There is a good chance Don Nelson would have been fired as coach of the Warriors even without the natural opening of an ownership change, general manager Larry Riley said Monday in officially announcing the move from Nelson to Keith Smart as the team reconvened for the start of the season.
    “Possibly so,” Riley said when asked if the same move would have been made if Chris Cohan would have still been the owner. “Quite likely.”

    Then there’s the other question: Did Nelson want to come back?
    He clearly would have when the option was walking away from the money. But Riley, a longtime close friend and former Nellie assistant before moving to the Warriors’ front office, conceded Nelson’s heart may not have been into the job.
    “I think part of him maybe did [want to come back] and I also think part of him did not,” Riley said. “I think he felt that with all the things that were happening, it was just the opportune time.”

    We know next to nothing from Nelson’s end, and not seeing him or hearing anything the last months has made all this odd . Maybe that’s the way he wanted it.

  96. Now if Nelson coached this team to 35 wins, the naysayers (led by the Steinmetz/Kawakami/Lauridsen trio) would be blaming it on a lack of defense and rebounding. Obviously, Nellie’s fault. If Smart coaches this team to 35 wins, it’s because the team is “young and flawed.” Apparently, he thinks this is new owner Joe Lacob’s fault, because who else would have the ability to set up Smart to “fail, plain and simple.”

    But the more one analyzes Steinmetz’s reasoning, the less sense it makes. Smart shouldn’t get the Warriors job? Who decides this “should.” And if some other guy got the job, wouldn’t he get the same blame for a 35-win season? And wouldn’t management be setting up that guy to fail with such a “flawed” team? And when they fire him for not producing a winner, wouldn’t we still end up in the same place we are now? What is your point, Matt?

    The only conclusion I draw is that Steinmetz and his cronies set up themselves for failure the minute they commit their specious thoughts to paper. What absolute baloney.

    Remember my caution in an earlier post that Steinmetz and his ilk would be livid with Warriors management for giving the exclusive Monta Ellis interview to Fanhouse? Well, this could be just the first payback shot at Lacob’s management. I wouldn’t put it past any of them.

  97. Steinmetz’s call for a new coach now was just dumb. My question is how many Smart wins will satisfy the new ownership, what Smart has to do to keep his job, when they will bail on him. I’m guessing — and somebody tell me better — that he’ll really have to exceed expectations to stay on. A better question Byrtex, is how many wins he’ll need — 40?

  98. Let’s clarify something: Nelson was fired. If he had truly resigned, he would not be owed the $6 million. Because he was fired, the team owes the money. However, the team did take a gentlemanly approach by announcing Nellie had “relinquished his head coaching duties” (to quote their official announcement today). Nice of them. Classy, even. But give him $6 million as part of being nice? Not happening.

    As a poker player, Nelson surely knew this. That’s probably why he had made statements that he was eager to start the new season. Larry Riley today indicated that Nelson was ambivalent. But for publication, Nelson said he was coming back, which forced management to pull the plug and pay the bill. No way Nellie was going to be outsmarted on this one.

  99. feltbot–acc. to riley, smart has more than a one year deal, but would not reveal the actual numbers in his interview today. we should not expect to hear about the details unless lacob himself comes forth or authorizes the disclosure.

    mlw–there’s no doubt that smart will be held to a different standard than nelson, and expectations are being consciously re-engineered so they’ll be able to market the team despite the pending lock out and staying in the cohan era norm of 34-38 wins. but there should also be no doubt that nelson came away from the poker table with the last pot. he received every penny of his deal without enduring more character assassination , struggling with a roster which was constructed with minimal input from him, or having ‘when will he be fired/lame duck!’ hanging over his head. whether it came from nelson’s coaxing or not, riley paid his part beautifully, so he appeared as the instigator both of the roster changes and advocate of the transition w. smart (as he claimed in today’s interview, anyway).

    we know full well that smart lacks the tactical astuteness to win games where the talent scale tips the opponent’s way, and by sticking to more conventional/predicable means he will be playing on the terms of the stronger teams. his only hope for a .500 season is to get an abundance of fortune in markedly improved play over last season from at least half of his rotation–bloody unlikely–or some transformative roster move engineered by riley/lacob.

  100. moto —

    (from above) “Possibly so,” Riley said when asked if the same move would have been made if Chris Cohan would have still been the owner. “Quite likely.”

    (from you) riley paid his part beautifully, so he appeared as the instigator both of the roster changes and advocate of the transition w. smart

    I know zip about this, or about Riley’s relationship with Nelson. But you’re saying this interview was just a show, pulling the Lacob line, put on for the “good” of the organization? And also a face saving cover for Nelson at the same time?

    Both Smart and Riley talked about more traditional basketball, rebounding, defense, etc. I’m sure Feltbot will have something to say about this. I must confess, this talk about the need for change didn’t sit well with me — it reminded me of the pablum we’ve heard from too many political elections.

    It’s not hard to see why Nelson wouldn’t be excited about such an environment, even if Lacob (and Riley?) kept their distance and paid respect. Phil Jackson may be in his last year, but he’s gunning for another title and will have full support.

    “lacks the tactical astuteness to win games where the talent scale tips the opponent’s way, and by sticking to more conventional/predicable means he will be playing on the terms of the stronger teams.”

    ooof, this sounds familiar. And if the team sticks to this plan . . . .

  101. But mwlx must be right then — Nelson’s enthusiasm about returning was a way of playing his hand when he knew he wasn’t returning, the trip a few days ago his last card — or maybe part of the deal with Lacob, a way to give Lacob the upper hand or give closure to his leaving.

  102. rgg–there’s a side to nelson that the ‘moral(izing) majority’ refuses to see, the nelson who is both cooly pragmatic and who takes care of friends and players. one of his final season’s highlights was his defiance and compliance to the rule requiring a minimum of players dressed and available, when it forced him to dress injured guys he didn’t want to risk–he implored the refs to keep a healthy, fouled-out player out on the floor and just take the technical fouls to protect the injured, but the refs refused. with his long time sidekick , he surely understood riley’s situation and probably just told him, do or say whatever you feel you must to keep your job with the new owners, it really won’t bother me–they’re paying me in full however things go down. in machiavellian (or sun tzu’s) terms, the prince encourages a vassal for whom he is unable to provide to defect, so the rival’s inclinations get uncovered and the vassal can survive.

    at the poker table w. lacob, a message was given when lacob publicly declared nelson’s contract a ‘sunk cost’ and riley, either independently or at lacob’s preference, kept him out of the loop with the roster changes and coaching hires. nelson could stand pat and proceed exactly as he would with the expectation of working another season–remaining in maui until just before the start of training camp and delegating the prep work to the remaining assistants. whether riley served as a direct pipeline to lacob’s disposition (the vassal set up to defect in order to inform to his true prince), or indirectly by his decisions, nelson knew a very soft parachute ride was coming for his finale.

  103. Anybody who quotes Sun Tzu and/or Machiavelli has to be right.

    I think what I most want out of all of this discussion is to leave with a picture of Nelson that gives him credit for intelligence, something to set against all else we’ve heard.

    I also don’t want to be sold a bill of goods. The party line is that this is a new team, and not a Nelson team. I don’t buy it. I can’t believe he couldn’t have worked with these players. I also can’t believe he wouldn’t have gotten them to play defense. Or rebound.

    Tolliver wasn’t a big deal in terms of the overall roster — maybe he was a personal pick for Nelson. He was a personal favorite in my house. As for the others, there just couldn’t have been that much difference between them and whoever else Nelson might have preferred, given the money that was left.

    Here’s my question for the future: how sharp is Lacob?

  104. Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports writes about the changing of the guard at the head coaching position with GSW. Interesting piece. As much as I was hoping for Nelson to coach this team this coming season, I just want the Warriors to be the best they can be, and if that means replacing Nelson with Smart, or whomever, so be it. If Spears’ article is accurate than I would have to say that the right move was made by Warriors’ management.;_ylt=AnZsX8bKk_n.FoiOqqUgkFs5nYcB?slug=mc-smartwarriors092710

  105. Regarding the slander that Don Nelson was uninterested in defense, note the exchange below from the transcript of yesterday’s Keith Smart interview:

    “Question: As a defensive coordinator, now obviously this team struggled defensively. What can you do differently now as a head coach that you couldn’t… do while Nellie was head coach?

    Keith Smart: Well, in that role that I was put in, we didn’t have the personnel at the time.”

    Smart openly acknowledges that the team didn’t have the talent to play strong defense, regardless of coaching (Anthony Morrow, anyone?). Which explains why Riley went looking for players who could play defense. Will that change the minds of those wedded to the twisted idea that Nelson didn’t care about defense? No, because logic won’t get in the way of those who want to slander the man.

  106. mwl–the moral(istic) majority can’t recognize that what they assumed was nelson’s inability or disinclination to coach defense in actuality was his frustration that he couldn’t dumb down his defensive system enough for the players he was stuck with–players who either left college after a year or weren’t adequately coached in college, who in many cases also thought they needed to establish themselves and get their fat post-rookie contract by gunning and scoring. nelson himself rationalized that 19 or 20 year old players not only lacked physical but mental maturity.

    nelson’s system featured multiple rotations which probably originated when the old school coaches found ways to incorporate aspects of zone d’s when it wasn’t legal. it was probably why the team frequently resorted to playing zone–it was much easier to implement. he really needed three dependable vets in his main rotation, which it did for some of the time when the regulars included davis, jackson, biedrins,with muscle and hustle on the bench with barnes, pietrus, azubuike.

  107. How many games do the Warriors win this season? Here are three guesses, including some over-the-top commentary.

  108. Warriors to win 50+ this season? Is Jeremy Britton insane? LOL Here’s what he wrote back in July.

  109. Steve!! I must assume that you linked to those stupid stories because you read them and actually thought others would benefit from seeing them. Naive person that I am, I went to your links and scanned the refuse for about 15 seconds before realizing they were a waste of time.

    I’d like to suggest a rule of thumb: Don’t link to any story that rests on the mindless assumption that one can predict the future. As punishment, you must find and read all stories that predicted the outcome of the Warriors-Mavericks playoff series in 2007. Then you must tabulate how many writers predicted the correct outcome, and how many didn’t. And you must also tabulate how many people posted opinions on one side or the other, and how much of their sound and fury and verbiage led to the correct conclusion. If that doesn’t seal my case that predicting the future is a colossal waste of time and energy, you are a lost cause, my friend.

  110. Not sure I can agree with you on this MWLX. Predicting the future in sports and the market is something of a hobby of mine, and certainly one of the enjoyable things in life…

    What hasn’t been enjoyable is writing up my reaction to Nellie’s terminus. I’ve been fighting my way through it off and on, with very little enthusiasm, but should have it up late tonite or early tomorrow. Sorry for the lethargy…

  111. Kelly Dwyer has a problem. Somebody save his prediction so we can throw it in his face later.

    I rate the Warriors high on the intangibles. They’re going to be together, spirited, and intelligent. There are a few players who will have a chance to show what they’ve got — the report from Dorell Wright so far is encouraging. I don’t see dissension or king-of-the-hill as a problem. Several players have set roles to play and look ready to play them. And at least they’ll have a few bodies with size on the bench this year. By a quick count there were a dozen games last year they lost by only 5-6 points, many more by 10 — ran out of gas, no size. My favorite games last year were the Toronto wins — against a genuine playoff team who looked lost and confused. You won’t see this from the Warriors.

    You’ve been swimming upstream for years FB, so should be tired. I’ll be happy to see whatever you’ve got.

  112. Felt, take your time on the comments. Heck, wait until next week if you need to. Better perspective that way? Looking forward to your thoughts.

    After a few days I’m kinda having a change of heart myself. Now beginning to think it was a necessary move to change coaches.

    If there was just one ounce of evidence that Nelson would butt heads with Lacob, then, yeah, this was the best time for the change. The $6 million was already spent anyway.

  113. MWLX,

    that’s just LINK-MASTER STEVE doing his thing. Go, LinkMaster, Go!

  114. Steve,

    I find a lot of links through blogs, including yours. Go, LinkMaster, Go!

  115. MWLX, sorry, but I can’t share your disdain for “predicting the future”. Outside of the sports world, predicting the future has been and will continue to be an invaluable tool for improving life and saving lives, as illustrated in this article.

    I’ve long been involved in the stock market, and my portfolio is always comprised of companies that I “predict” will do well in the future. The entire premise of the market is based on investing in the future, which obviously involves a certain amount of predictive conclusions.

    As for sports, what’s more fun than taking a stand on who’s going to win or lose? There’s a reason the sports section of your daily paper prints the betting lines for each days/weeks games…….degree of popularity. Whether it’s putting your money where your mouth is, or just picking for the fun of it, most fans enjoy the mental exercise of parlaying their knowledge of their favorite team(s) and sport(s) into a who-will-win conclusion.

    Can’t predict the future? Wrong! MWLX, I’m now predicting that in the not-so-distant future I will post a link that will not meet with your approval. Ciao

  116. LinkMaster? Well, since I’ve never been the “master” of anything I must say I kinda like the ring to that one. :)

  117. Intangibles/Toronto game. Compare the movement, the looks on the faces of the players on both teams (and thanks to orangino for doing all these highlights):

  118. According to, “It is being reported that Smart will get a three year deal so it appears that he is the coach moving forward.”

    But it’s not sourced, so I don’t know…

  119. Felt/Steve

    My apologies for not being clear about what I meant by predicting the future. I was thinking of the future in the sense of what’s well beyond the next few days or weeks. I don’t have a problem with near-term prognostications. For instance, I’ll stick my neck way the heck out there and predict the Giants will win the division title in the next few days. To me, that’s a reasonable prediction to make because the number of variables is more or less assessable. Will they win the pennant? Too far away for me to say.

    But Steve’s linked articles pretended to predict the exact outcome of an 82-game season played by 30 teams over a seven-month period with a zillion possible variables such as injury, coaching changes, etc. That to me is a futile exercise. You may enjoy discussing it. I just can’t get into it.

    But I will take a major risk and make one long-term prediction: The Warriors will win at least 30 games but no more than 60 this season. Call me crazy, but I think I’ve got it nailed.

  120. Felty, I haven’t been on here in a while. Looks like you got a good crew of readers, the comments have been very strong. Your writing is, as always, like an oasis in a cutthroat and tabloid driven media. Nellie is not a gimmick coach, he is a great coach who had the guts to take on teams with inferior talent because he believes in his ability to turn them around. When you take risks, sometimes you get dealt the bad hand of cheap Cohan ownership….sometimes twice. But no matter, he still made his magic felt.

    We Believe was a Don Nelson joint. When he finally got the pieces that fit his vision, amazing things happened. The stretch run they had to get into the playoffs was some of the best basketball I had ever seen, ever. The defense spearheaded by Baron was suffocating and it fed a break that had some of the most spectacular finishers in basketball. Their power forwards were their best three point shooters, their pg their best post player, and their rebounding margin was double digits in the negative. Still, they won at a dizzying pace. A Nelson special. Cohan killed that team and with it the good will that Warriors fans resurrected from the depths of Run TMC and in its wake we are left with limp dick journalists who cater to their bloodthirsty readership by taking down a legend on print. Not here though!

    As for Smart, I think he is smart enough to know that he should use everything he learned about offense from Nellie when he coaches so I don’t see us being dramatically different in that regard. He won’t get as creative with his gameplans and take as many risks, but I am sure he will put the ball in Curry’s hands and make sure he has many options.

    Warriors win 38 games this year, lots of close losses though, and their record at home is ten games over .500. How you like them futures?

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