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Blog Entry

It might not be over just yet for Don Nelson

Posted on: October 7, 2010 4:14 pm
 
Posted by Royce Young

Right now, Don Nelson has it good.

He's living in Hawaii basking in the glorious sun as the NBA's all-time winningest coach. He has a nice buyout from the Warriors and at 70 years old, you'd think he's walking into the perfect retirement.

The problem is with guys like him though, sometimes it's just too hard to say goodbye. Once the game is in you, it's part of you.

Nelson's son Donnie, who is the current general manager of the Dallas Mavericks (yeah, you forgot that, didn't you?) talked to Chris Tomasson of FanHouse and said that it might not all be over quite yet for his father.

"Never say never,'' Donnie told FanHouse. "I thought when he was the godfather (in Dallas after handing the coaching reins to Avery Johnson in March 2005), I thought that was the perfect existence. But he wanted to coach again. With him, you just never know.''

As everyone knows, at least five coaches will be fired this year. The NBA turns coaches over like pancakes. It's a revolving door and there's some owner or general manager that would love to extend an arm to Nelson. Total speculation here, but say the Raptors. Young team that's bound to struggle this year. Lots of athleticism. Maybe the fanbase grumbles. So Bryan Colangelo decides to bring in Nelson and his exciting offense to let DeMar DeRozan and Leandro Barbosa run wild. I'm not saying it's happening because Nelson hasn't indicated he wants to return, but it's not hard to picture.

Or what if Nelson simply returned to the bench in a mentorship role for another coach, much like he did in Dallas? As much Heat as Nelson took for the way things went in Golden State, he still is the NBA's winningest coach ever. That counts for something, I think.

But in my mind, it's over for Nelson. The Warriors kind of went to a ridiculous state of limbo under him and he basically crushed young talents like Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright with some of the head games he played with them. I really don't know why anyone would want to go the direction of Nelson, but you know someone will. That is, if he decides sipping margaritas on the beach in Hawaii isn't good enough for him.
Comments
beiniu
Since: Oct 8, 2010
Posted on: October 8, 2010 10:11 am
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Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2010 9:24 pm
 

It might not be over just yet for Don Nelson

Mr. Young writes,

Or what if Nelson simply returned to the bench in a mentorship role for another coach, much like he did in Dallas? As much  as Nelson took for the way things went in Golden State, he still is the NBA's winningest coach ever. That counts for something, I think. 

I have to take issue with this statement. Don Nelson did virtually no mentoring whatsoever in Dallas. He let the players run wild, and rode the talents of that particular group as far as those talents would take him. But he did nothing to aid the burgeoning skills of any of hi assistants - particularly Avery Johnson. That ought to have been obvious by the changes Johnson tried to put in after Nelson left. 

I have no particular axe to grind with Don Nelson, but neither do I admire his coaching methodology. He can't or won't teach defense and his teams play with a lack of discipline that ought to shame everyone associated with the organization. Only in Milwaukee did his teams play with discipline and practice defense and according to at least one analyst (Charlie Rosen), the reason was because of the presence of John Killilea on his staff. And it is well-documented that Nelson's arrogance and his refusal to play rookies had detrimental effects on the careers of Randolph and Wright. And his rotations (or lack thereof) were mind-bogglingly bad. PLayers simply didn't know what would be asked of them or when and there was no cohesion whatsoever on that bench. 

So with all these negatives, why would any team bring in Don Nelson, unless they were going solely for entertainment value? He has a bad effect on young players, his arrogance and his mind games have a detrimental effect on the veterans, his lack of interest in defense menas his temas are always forced to try to outscore the opposition and his lack of discipline means that his teams have absolutely no chance to be anything remotely resembling a contender. The 2008 Warriors were an aberration, not the norm with a Nelson-coached team. And if the Warriors had drawn a different team than the Mavericks, that team too would have been one-and-done in the Playoffs. Nelson's teams simply aren't designed for success in the second season.

I hope that this is indeed it for Don Nelson. Any team that is thinking of bringing him in would do better to hire someone like Mike D'Antoni, who at least has some discipline in his game plan, though he is no better at teaching defense than is Nelson. But leave Nellie on the beach. It is where he belongs at this stage in his career.



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