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Blog Entry

Nellie takes another step away from bench

Posted on: December 20, 2008 7:49 pm
 

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.

 

Comments

Since: Dec 21, 2006
Posted on: December 21, 2008 4:27 pm
 

Nellie takes another step away from bench

good points.  it's unquestionable that nelson is a good offensive coach, a player's guy, and that he brings a lot of ingenuity into his game planning, but it just seems that he never stays interested or engaged for an entire season, including the playoffs.  his teams always seem to play well in spurts.  maybe that's why he's always on the fence about his future coaching with a team, handing off responsibilities, or moving on from a team....i always liked chris mullin.  brandan wright was a bad pick (or trade), and the injury to ellis was devastating.



Since: Dec 21, 2008
Posted on: December 21, 2008 4:02 pm
 

Nellie takes another step away from bench

"He should by trying to fix the team's defensive problems himself right now rather than shifting those responsibilites to an assistant.  He wanted the big dollars and with them comes big responsibilities."
EXCELLENT POINT!
Has any other coach in the league tried this tactic? Besides that, most aren't making as much as him salary wise and what is the point of basically having 2 head coaches?!! This is not football where we have offensive and defensive coordinators! I love the Warriors but wtf!! He should definitely be, I don't know, maybe working on defense in PRACTICE!!



Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: December 21, 2008 3:59 pm
 

Nellie takes another step away from bench

Interesting comments although I fail to grasp your point. On one hand you are critical of Nelson and condemn him for not doing a better job, but then you also say that he's a great coach and should come back. Come back to where? He is not coming back. He is going to retire. Now unless you know something about Nelson running and coaching the OKC Thunder in hopes of trying to turn that sad team around I doubt he is coming back to coaching some more basketball.



Since: Mar 12, 2008
Posted on: December 21, 2008 2:28 pm
 

Nellie takes another step away from bench

Don Nelson appears to have become more confrontational and difficult over time -- with Baron Davis and Al Harrington being two recent cases in point.   When the team was winning this approach could perhaps be passed over but the situation is now quite different.

His actions at certain points in time also raise questions about whether he has always had the best interest of the franchise in mind --lobbying for an improved contract shortly before training camp in 2007 when he already had one in hand with two years left on it, is an example. 

He is a very creative guy on offense -- driving other coaches crazy with his counter intuitive schemes.   But without a full deck of consistent perimeter scorers (e.g. guys like Davis and Harrington), that system can't function properly. 

He should by trying to fix the team's defensive problems himself right now rather than shifting those responsibilites to an assistant.  He wanted the big dollars and with them comes big responsibilities.

The ownership situation, and Chris Mullin being strung along as a lame duck, is another unhelpful distraction.  The Monte Ellis injury was unforseenable and very unfortunate considering the mega contract he had just signed.

Don has done this kind of thing before -- passing the torch to an assistant.  But he always seems to come back.



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