Tag:Don Nelson
Posted on: November 30, 2010 2:11 pm
 

A look at the 2011 Hall of Fame candidates

Posted by Royce Young

Nominees for the 2011 Basketball Hall of Fame were released Tuesday and while the list is strong, there's just one slam dunk. And it's a guy that didn't do much of that, but instead holds the NBA record for most 3-pointers made (2560) and attempted (6486).

Reggie Miller heads the 2011 candidates with his first appearance on the ballot. Miller spent all 18 years of his NBA career with the Indiana Pacers, was selected to five All-Star teams, led the league in free throw shooting five times and was a two-time gold medalist in the 1994 World Championships and 1996 Olympics.

Nobody was more deadly from outside with even a breath of space than Miller, whose eight points in nine seconds is still one of the most incredible NBA feats of all-time.

Miller is pretty much a lock for the 2011 class, but who could join him? As Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com pointed out, with the lighter class this year, some players that have been overlooked in years past might have a better shot this time around. A few of note:

Mark Jackson:
He's third on the all-time assists list and after being left off the final ballot in his first shot at it. I think Jackson will probably end up being sort of basketball's Jim Rice. A qualified candidate that deserves to eventually be in, but someone that might have to wait a while.

Chris Mullin: Remember, the Basketball Hall of Fame isn't the NBA Hall of Fame. Not that Mullin didn't have a nice NBA career, but he's probably one of the greatest college basketball players ever. At St. John's he was a Wooden Award winner and All-American. And in the NBA, he was a five-time All-Star, was part of the 1992 Dream Team and the 1996 gold medal team, plus averaged 25 points a game for five straight years. But as mentioned by Howard-Cooper, Mullin has been a finalist the past four years and if he makes that list again this year but doesn't get in, he'll have to wait five years to be nominated again.

Don Nelson: At some point, Don Nelson is a sure-thing Hall of Famer. He's the NBA's all-time winningest coach and wouldn't you know it, just finished up his career in basketball (for now, at least). He wasn't the most beloved coach in NBA history but you can't ignore a guy that's on top of a list. Especially a list like "Most Wins Ever." That's kind of a big deal.

Bernard King: I'll be honest - I kind of assumed he already was a Hall of Famer. But because of injuries, King didn't finish with the type of gaudy career stats he otherwise would have. I think we should make a Sandy Koufax-ish exception here and put King in. He's one of the very best pure scorers the game has ever seen and when you're mentioned as one of the best at something, that's Hall of Fame material. And with the weak nominees, maybe this is his year.

Dennis Rodman: If it were all about what happened on the court, Rodman is a no-brainer. Maybe the game's most pure rebounder ever (led the league for seven straight seasons), a defensive wizard that was named to eight consecutive first or second All-Defense teams and a multiple-time champion, Rodman has a Hall of Fame resume. But of course there's the issue of his personality and who is and was off the court. When you're talking about people voting you in, that's an important aspect and something Rodman may not pass. Rodman wasn't even a finalist last season though and in this class if he doesn't make it, it might not look so hot for him in the future.

Maurice Lucas: Honestly, I'd hate for him to get in now. I just hate for great players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame after passing. It just sucks that they can't be a part of that great honor. But his family would surely treasure the honor and as a player, Lucas was as gritty and tough a guy this league's ever seen. Bill Walton called him the best player on the 1979 championship team and because of his recent passing, there might be a chance Lucas gets some sentimental votes. Not that he wouldn't deserve it otherwise though, because he really was a great player.

Other nominees include Jamaal Wilkes, Rudy Tomjanovich, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Tex Winter, Spencer Haywood, Maurice Cheeks, Ralph Sampson, Bill Fitch, referee Dick Bavetta, Rick Pitino, Joe B. Hall, Jim Valvano, George Raveling and Marty Blake, the long-time head of the NBA scouting bureau.

Chet Walker was nominated by the Veteran's committee. Arvydas Sabonis and Sarunas Marciulionis are candidates from the International committee (two very deserving nominees), while Tara VanDerveer and Teresa Edwards will be candidates from the Women's committee.

Nominees must receive approval on at least seven of nine ballots in the North American group, and five of seven in the others, to become a finalist, cuts that will be announced at All-Star weekend. Finalists will need to receive at least 18 of 24 votes from a different panel -- the names of voters are never released -- to be announced at the Final Four as an inductee.
Posted on: November 15, 2010 8:34 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2010 10:19 pm
 

New Warriors owner installs son in front office

New Warriors owner installs recent college graduate son as Director of Basketball Operations. Posted by Matt Moore

For years, the Golden State Warriors have been a relative joke due to the state of their front office. An owner who didn't seem interested in winning, who let Don Nelson have far too much run of the place, and Nelson himself randomly and obtrusively acting in pursuit of some mythical plan's completion. But with the new owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, there's been a lot of positive feelings about the future of the franchise. Before they even took over, they ousted Nellie, installed Keith Smart, and subsequently the team has looked about a billion times better on the floor.

Today at an introductory luncheon for the community and media, though, an interesting item was revealed . Lacob has installed his son, Kirk Lacob, as Director of Basketball Operations. Well, okay, that's not exactly the ideal choice for such a big position, but it happens. After all, Josh Kroenke just took over as owner of the Denver Nuggets. I'm sure Kirk has tons of experience. Let's see he graduated from Stanford in...

2010?

On the junior Lacob's LinkedIn Profile (archived image found here ), found by Warriors blog Golden State of Mind , the younger Lacob lists internships at a textbook sales company , founding the Stanford Club Basketball team , and working as an intern with the Celtics.

My first job out of college was a dry cleaner's. Geez.

It's a concerning development for someone of his age and inexperience. Then again, in the same luncheon, the Contra Costa Times reported that the new ownership group say Robert Rowell, current GM, would be sticking around , though his capacity is unclear at this moment. And with Smart on board, there's significant help in the front office. Plus, you have to consider how many former players with no front office history are installed in significant roles immediately after their playing days are over. And at the top of course is the Daddy-O, so maybe this isn't a big deal.

It just looks really, really weird.
Posted on: October 7, 2010 4:14 pm
 

It might not be over just yet for Don Nelson

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.
Posted on: September 24, 2010 9:32 am
 

Shootaround 9.24.10: The best players rated

Posted by Royce Young
  • Bill Plaschke of the LA Times on Andrew Bynum's latest injury: "The last time a Lakers big man did something so medically dumb, it was Shaquille O'Neal refusing to fix his toe until just before the 2002-03 training camp, claiming: "I got hurt on company time, so I'll heal on company time." Two underachieving seasons later, he was on Miami time, traded because owner Jerry Buss decided he wasn't worth the trouble. Interestingly, the guaranteed part of Bynum's contract expires in two seasons, at which point Buss will have to make the same sort of decision. At this rate, maybe he shouldn't even wait that long. How can Andrew Bynum be the Lakers' future if you can't count on him today?"
  • Chris Mannix of SI on the Warriors move yesterday: "It's not like Lacob had many alternatives, either. Jeff Van Gundy isn't leaving the ABC booth for the Warriors and it's a little late in the game to be dialing up Lawrence Frank and Sam Mitchell too. Plus Smart, who Lacob told Bay Area reporters will receive a multi-year contract, comes cheap. If it doesn't work out this year the team can always cut ties after the season. But with Nelson gone, the Warriors can finally look towards the future without being encompassed by the shadow of the past. A new era has begun in Golden State and let's face it, it can't be much worse than the last."
  • Tim Kawakami on the end of the Don Nelson era: "Nelson just couldn't win anymore. And it became clear that he stopped caring, too. That is how Nelson morphed himself into the Cohan Culture, with spot moments of success amid long periods of massive distress and political intrigue. I don't know how the Lacob era will turn out. Maybe well, maybe more seasons of failure. But Lacob knew that had to start by moving Don Nelson aside -- and all his eccentricities and feuds and controversies along with him. Nelson wasn't the worst thing about the Warriors. But he was, in the end, the most visible and corrosive influence on the players and fans. By cleaning him out, Lacob creates a fresher Warriors climate and a brand new era."
Posted on: September 23, 2010 8:28 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2010 8:45 pm
 

The Nellieball era is over, Don Nelson to resign

Winningest coach in NBA history to resign as head coach of the Warriors, assistant Keith Smart to take over. Posted by Matt Moore

Don Nelson has been involved in the NBA in some capacity nearly every single year since 1962. Somehow, despite eschewing every traditional basketball value (discipline, defense, poor sense of humor), he's managed to hang on year after year. But after turning 70 and with new ownership taking over in Golden State, talk had developed that his time may be done.

It would appear that talk was well founded. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has confirmed a report from Matt Stenimetz of CSN Bay Area reports that Don Nelson will announce his resignation as head coach of the Golden State Warriors on Monday. Keith Smart will take over as expected. Steinmetz also reports Calbert Cheaney will move from the front office to an assistant coaching position. 

Smart is unlikely to differentiate significantly from the system he's been under immediately, but changes may be made in the same vein as Alvin Gentry's changes to the Warriors. With a better team composed around David Lee inside, the Warriors present a young, versatile team led by Stephen Curry. Then again, Smart could completely switch it up and run what's called, what is it, what's the word? Oh, yeah, a system.

But it will still be strange to see an NBA without Nelson in it, assuming he elects not to pursue another position during the season. At 70 years old, he's hinted strongly at retiring and walking away finally, but with Nelson, you never can tell. During his time, Nelson managed to take the tile of winningest coach in NBA history with 1,333 wins in his career.

There had been thought new owner Joe Lacob might retain Nelson due to the awkward timing of the finalization of the sale, but it would appear that moves to take the franchise into the future are already being set in motion.

We'll keep you updated on how the situation in Golden State progresses.

Posted on: September 23, 2010 2:42 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2010 2:43 pm
 

Preseason Primers: Warriors

Posted by Royce Young

The Warriors will be under new leadership once the season starts, but it's going to be the same group running training camp. This is a new-look team with a number of fresh faces, but the core backcourt remains and looks to grow another year together. Can the Warriors begin a climb back to respectibility? It'll all start in training camp for them and it'll also require a number of issue to get sorted out.

Training camp site: Oakland, CA

Training camp starts: Sept. 28

Key additions: Dorell Wright (free agent), David Lee (sign and trade), Jeremy Lin (draft), Ekpe Udoh (draft), Louis Amundson (free agent), Rodney Carney (free agent)

Key subtractions: Anthony Randolph (trade), C.J. Watson (free agent), Corey Maggette (trade), Anthony Morrow (free agent)

Likely starting lineup: Stephen Curry, PG; Monta Ellis, SG; Dorell Wright, SF; David Lee, PF; Andris Biedrins, C

Player to watch: Jeremy Lin. For whatever reason, Lin has already become a cult basketball star. He's the Harvard grad who blew people away with his summer league fearlessness and ability. He got a guaranteed contract from the Warriors and is already becoming one of the faces of the team and probably the fan favorite. Everyone has him dubbed a sleeper and a ready-made scorer that's going to make an impact.

Did I mention he hasn't played a game yet? While Lin was impressive during the summer, he's still an unknown. Right now he's third on the depth chart behind Charlie Bell for backup point guard duties, so he's got to work to earn time on the floor as well.

Chemistry quiz: The Curry-Ellis experiment enters year two, with both guys desperate to have the ball in their hands. In the Don Nelson system, shots are there for pretty much anyone who's willing to take them, but a constant battle over who controls the ball is something the Warriors hope to avoid. It can upset not just on-court chemistry, but also off-court unity as well.

The real chemistry question is what's happening upstairs. Once ownership of the team is transferred, will the Warriors still be under the same direction of Nelson, or will they be scrambling to make a switch to Keith Smart (or someone else) right before the season?

Camp battles: Who's backing up David Lee at power forward? Ekpe Udoh was hurt this summer with a wrist injury, but is he ready to find rotation time in front of Brandan Wright? Wright has always seemed to find himself in Nelson's dog house, but with Udoh's setback, Wright may get his chances.

Injury issues:
David Lee hurt his hand during Team USA's training camp but is supposed to be healthy for the Warriors camp.

Biggest strength: Speed. Everyone knows the Warriors can score. Their points per game is often a bit deceiving because in terms of offensive efficiency, they're typically in the middle to lower half of the league. But this Warrior team has a bunch of skill around the ball. Curry is a gifted passer and shooter. Ellis goes end to end in a blur. David Lee runs the floor exceptionally well for a big man. And there are hyper-athletic guys waiting on the pine like Udoh, Wright and Lou Amundson.

Glaring weakness: Should I just say "defense" and leave it at that. Or do I really need to explain why the Warriors are bad defensively and therefore, that's a weakness? Let's just leave it at that.
Posted on: September 15, 2010 12:28 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2010 12:34 pm
 

Signs pointing to an early Don Nelson departure

Posted by Royce Young

Don Nelson's days are numbers in the Bay Area. But you already knew that.

Whether it's this year or the next, the NBA's all-time winningest coach won't be patroling the Golden State sideline any more. But Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says signs are pointing to a sooner than later situation:
The signals are strong: If the timing is right and the discussions progress, my belief is that Joe Lacob is planning to move on from Don Nelson and probably install Keith Smart as the Warriors’ interim coach for the coming season.
As Kawakami mentions, nothing is set in stone. For example, the new ownership group headed by Joe Lacob hasn't even officially been handed the keys to the franchise.

Also, Kawakami added that the Warriors recent moves (Lou Amundson and Rodney Carney) suggest the team might not be built to be coached by Nelson.

But time is running thin. Training camp starts in just a few weeks and past that, things start to get a bit awkward. Lacob prefers defense over offense and well, we know what Nelson likes to do. Smart would be a better fit to begin the transition the Warriors want to make. He's been in charge of the team before, the players know him and he'd fit well in moving Golden State from one system to the next.

Does it get done in two weeks? Or even a month? That comes down to the league office and how ownership gets transferred. Owners vote in October and by then, training camp will be in full swing. Plus, Nelson is owed about $6 million for his services for this season.

But this much we know: Lacob wants to move on and get his people in place. Current owner Chris Cohen is loyal to Nelson. And Lacob might be hesitant to make a mid-season move on a guy like Nelson, instead letting him ride a horse off into the sunset.

The whole situation kind of fits the Warriors well. Stuck in transition.

Posted on: August 24, 2010 1:37 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2010 9:14 am
 

NBA Pop Quiz: Is this Don Nelson's last ride?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this brain teaser...

Is this Don Nelson's last ride?


Do you realize Don Nelson's been in the league since 1962? As a coach since 1976? We're not talking, "he's been in and out of the league," either. We're talking at some point every single calendar year, Don Nelson has been on the payroll of a professional basketball team since 1962 (with less than a handful of hiatuses in between). With all the stress, intensity, drag, and confusion of the NBA, no wonder Nelson has adopted an... unorthodox strategy and attitude towards his job. In that time, he's won the most games in NBA coaching history, with teams in Milwaukee, Dallas, and Golden State.

But as the years have gone on and Nellie's teams have not only failed to achieve success, but have failed to adequately develop the athletic young talent they've drafted, the Heat has risen on the now-70-year-old coach of the Warriors. New ownership is in place, and they have brought with them talk that they may want to go in a new, younger direction. Nelson has said he'd like to finish the last year on his contract, but understands if they go in another direction. So the question may not actually be if this is Nelson's last ride, but if he'll be able to get on the horse to begin with.

As the Mercury News reports , the timing of the sale's finalization may leave no viable alternative to keeping Nelson on. However, there's ample precedent to removing the remainder to get a clean slate as soon as possible. Assistant coach Keith Smart could take over the team with the same run-and-gun system and the team can see how it goes. Then, if a change is still desired, the regime transition can be made on the schedule new ownership desires.

So what are the pros and cons of keeping Nellie for one last hurrah?

The benefits are largely built around stability, and the hope for a repeat of 2007. Nelson's success has been marginal, but when the team gets itself together, it can push the ball like no other, and that chaos gives teams fits. Keeping Nelson for his final year means that there won't be any drastic changes to what they know they can get from the players who have excelled under Nelson. A change risks those players taking a step back and struggling to adjust to whatever new wrinkles are implemented. And despite the numerous personal conflicts that have arisen with Nelson, he has become close to the players, including taking a number of them out for a beer last year. Insert joke here. But with as many young players as the Warriors have, that kind of relationship could be dangerous to disrupt, even if in general it's not ideal to begin with.

And that pulls us into the cons. You can talk about wins and losses, but for new ownership, for a team looking to change its direction, wins and losses aren't the first and foremost concern. Instead, they are likely focused on how the team develops. And that's been a dramatically lacking area for Nelson. Brandan Wright, Anthony Randolph, Monta Ellis, the list goes on in regards to players that have found themselves in Nelson's doghouse without any clear path out. While Stephen Curry excelled last season, his natural talent is going to get the bulk of that credit. (Hey, it may not be fair, but it's how it is. Ask Bulls fans who was responsible for Derrick Rose's progression, Vinny Del Negro or Derrick Rose.) Then, when we're past all that, and the win-loss record isn't good. Nelson's system is fun to watch and has its moments, but it also compromises fundamentals of winning basketball like defense. And defense. Mostly, defense.

But most importantly, Lacob and company have made it clear that they intend to turn over a new leaf with this team. That means a new direction and that means a new coach. The clock is ticking for Nelson in Golden State. He's made little to no noise about continuing his long ride after this horse is done with him. This really most likely is the end of the road for Don Nelson's historic career. We'll have to see if he's got any more tricks left in the bag on his way out.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com