After a 115-99 loss to the Hawks Friday night, Warriors coach Don Nelson volunteered an obscure piece of information that has far more significance than most people realize. Acknowledging that coaching defense and being tough on players are weaknesses of his, Nelson announced that assistant coach Keith Smart was being elevated to a defensive coordinator role, and that Sidney Moncrief would be Smart's top assistant.
We've mentioned previously here that Nelson, 68, got a two-year extension in October but might not finish the contract on the bench. A person familiar with the Warriors' plans -- and those are few and far between, as it appears the Warriors have no plan -- told me that one option under consideration is Nelson moving upstairs to a full-time GM role at some point. Smart and Moncrief would be the favorites to succeed him on the bench.
Where does that leave Chris Mullin, you ask? Exactly where he is at the moment: With a contract that expires June 30 and little reason to expect he'll get a new one.
Nellie's announcement Friday night in Atlanta, thus, makes perfect sense. It's another step in the direction of Nellie handing the coaching reins to Smart or Moncrief. My prediction: When Nellie goes upstairs, Smart will be the head coach and Moncrief his lead assistant.