Latest News, NBA / Aug 2, 2010 / 5:00 pm

Time To End The Don Nelson Era In Golden State

With Chris Cohan officially out as owner of the Warriors, Bay Area fans are elated he’s finally gone. Since they are so happy about the end of his unsuccessful tenure, the fans will have a bit of a honeymoon period with new owner Joe Lacob. While fans will give Lacob a year or two to turn things around, he and his ownership team have important decisions to make right now. The most pressing of those decisions is whether or not to retain Don Nelson for the final year of his contract, something the Warriors should not do.

Nelson is a legend in Golden State, and has done great things for that franchise in both of his tenures as head coach. He is one of the most brilliant offensive minds to ever grace the game of basketball, and the winningest coach in NBA history. While his resume is unparalleled in basketball, it is time for him and the Warriors to part ways.

The Warriors are a young team, and in the ultra-deep Western Conference, are not likely bound for the playoffs this year. For all that Nellie has done in Oakland, two things he hasn’t done particularly well are keep his players happy and develop young talent. Stephen Jackson, Mickael Pietrus and Al Harrington all left the Warriors on bad terms after becoming disgruntled with the way Nelson handled them. Monta Ellis has grumbled about the organization on more than one occasion, and Baron Davis also left on bad terms. For a team looking to enter a new era behind Ellis, Stephen Curry and David Lee, ownership can’t afford to have them sour on the team’s direction like so many previous stars have.

Also, with such a young team, Nelson’s track record developing young players is not great. Sure, Curry and Ellis are homegrown talents that have prospered under Nellie, but a lot of draft picks under him have not panned out. Anthony Randolph (now with the Knicks) and Brandan Wright have both been injured frequently and in Nellie’s doghouse when healthy. Neither has come close to realizing their potential, and with another similar player like Ekpe Udoh on board this year, having his growth stunted is not something new ownership wants.

Another reason the Warriors should part ways with their iconic head coach is because his future is certain. Nelson has said he will retire when his contract expires so next year the Warriors will need to find a coach anyway, why not just do it this year? The new ownership really likes assistant Keith Smart and he appears the heir apparent so the Warriors should just go ahead and make him head coach this year. It would allow him a chance to implement his agenda and his philosophy while also providing the team with a new voice that they seem to need. For the Warriors to truly begin a new era they need to replace the biggest remaining symbol of the old one, and let Don Nelson go.

What do you think?

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  • Swiss Chocolate

    Can’t develop young talent? Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, Latrell Sprewell, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, and Curry all got their shine on under Nellie. You can’t blame injuries on the coach. That’s just bad luck.

    I do hate when plays small forwards at the 4 though!

    Let him earn his 6 million coaching instead of paying him to drink mai tais on the beaches of Maui.

  • Stunnaboy09

    I hate how Nelsen will go downa s the winniest coach of all time, he’s averages around 42 wins but for an obscene amount of time. More a longativity thing like Mark Jackson being 3 on the assits list. Besdies his body is breaking down and he might suffer serious health problems is he continues.

    And he didn’t develop Curry for shit, Curry was tailor made for this system and basically ran the team on the court of Nellie.

    Come to think of it they should let him stay for his farewell tour. Least let the man retire the right way.

  • Daniel Marks

    Recently though many draft picks haven’t panned out and they are all guys Nellie wanted (Wright, Randolph are the 2 most notable). They also gave up a 1st rounder for Marcus Williams and he never got a shot with Nellie

  • John. C

    I agree with everything you said Stunnaboy09 except for the fact that you want him to retire “the right way.” That just means 1 more year of mediocrity for the Warriors and that’s not fair to the loyal fans who have stuck through this shitty team for the past decade. Don Nelson, although may not be the complete reason for the Warriors underachieving, he is the representative of it. Sure, he deserves some kind of dignified farewell, but not at the expense of the Warriors finances or the frustrated fans.

    I’m not a Warriors fans at all, but I can’t stand teams with a loser mentality or atmosphere. We all can’t be winners all the time, but that organization needs to play to win, not to put up gaudy numbers or showoff an unconventional coaching strategy through stupid mismatches.

  • Gunner J

    This article is about 3 years too late

  • Bub

    ^ real talk. I live in the bay and have have seen this franchise reach the playoffs just once in the past decade or so. Sure he has coached webber, spreewell, mullin, hardaway, nash, nowitzki, but werent those players who were going to pan out neways? I dont even wanna get started on nellie tutoring curry, curry already has a high basketball IQ and high skill set that will make him a dangerours player, with or without Don. Yeah they upset dallas few years ago, but im gonna credit that to BD, captain jack, pietrius, montae, and the Oracle fans, not the coaching. i dont remember nellie making a super crucial coaching move to help elevate his teams… Thas just my two cents tho.

  • the cynic

    i can’t believe these retards didn’t take Greg Monroe, i mean he would have been a perfect fit much like Stephen Curry was/is

  • slickvick

    Nellie’s coaching legacy will undoubtedly be remembered for a long time but his ego and b’ball coaching style are no longer suitable for the Warriors … and the fact that he has never won a ring as a coach is evidence of this.

    Anybody envisioned Hakeem (The Dream) giving Steph-Cur low post moves as his Coach??? I know I do!

  • Atom

    Dont let the door hit you on the ass on the way out Nellie

  • peter

    People love to hate Don Nelson, but when you calm down and look at the facts he is one of the game’s great developers of young talent. Unless my Warriors can find exactly the guy who they want as head coach for the long run their best move is to keep Nellie for this season. Let’s look at facts. Young talent picked and developed by Don Nelson:
    – Sidney Moncreif
    – Marques Johnson
    – Mitch Richmond
    – Tim Hardaway
    – Latrell Sprewell
    – Dirk Nowitzki (Nellie pushed for the trade to get him)
    – Steve Nash (Same, Nellie pushed to get him from Phoenix)
    – Josh Howard
    – Steph Curry

    And don’t forget that Monta Ellis has blossomed into a should-be all-star under Nellie. Or that Nellie desperately wanted to keep Chris Webber, or that C-Webb’s issue with the Warriors was really money and that Cohan refused to pay him (or that Webber was an arrogant me-first injury prone pot-head for the first five years of his career: he would have had an even greater career had he stuck with Don Nelson).

    – There is not one single player who Nelson has willingly traded away or passed up who has done anything of note after leaving Nellie’s team. None, zero, zip.

    Those are the facts whether you like Nelson or not. The facts say that the Warriors should keep Nellie, even make a big deal out of the last year of a HOF career, unless exactly the right guy for the long term is available (we don’t need another PJ Carlesimo fiasco…)

  • 92021SpurMD

    Swiss, notice how all those guys you named were guards (yes, basically Dirk too) who flourish in wide open styles. Also notice how you can’t name a big man who did well, extensively, under his tenure… C-Webb fled for the bullets, Biendrins being the only big should be their best rebounder, and Shawn Bradley who?

  • 92021SpurMD

    Peter, same to you, all guards, who flourish in the system. Last I checked, bigs are needed for Championships too!

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    Don Nelson and Lenny Wilkens… the greatest in coaching mediocrity.

  • Robmo35

    The real question is would the Warriors be that much better if Nelson left now versus if he retires at the end of the upcoming season. The answer is not much if at all. This team is not built to compete in the West, and I don’t think that firing Nellie is suddenly going to change the composition of this team. A much better pr move is to let Nellie stay until his contract expires. A new owner doesn’t want to axe a beloved coach out of the gate. Ask Jerry Jones about the beating he took firing Tom Landry

  • Heckler

    @ stunnaboy–

    your CRAZY if you think Mark Jackson #3 on the alltime assist list is bullshit.
    you need to re-watch some of his old tapes. that dude was an assassin as a passer. precise and pinpoint. even had some fancy flair to his passing game. and unlike stockton, he didnt play with a lowpost 25pt a night presence (except for maybe ewing–and that was only for his first 5 seasons).

    Mark Jackson had less athleticism than a newborn baby. and the leaping ability of a rock. and still, dude got results.

    correct yourself fool.

  • jryu

    @ heckler.

    that was one of the best rebuttals i’ve read on this site. HAHAHA NICE!

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    heckler is right about Mark Jackson. He got the job done with less athleticism than a chameleon. He wasn’t a flashy passer but he made the right pass all the time. That’s why he’s #3.

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    It is too bad that you are right. They need a different coach in the Bay. I sure would like to see Nellie throw out some crazy lineup for small ball with this roster though. Ellis, Curry, Lin/Pargo, Udoh, Lee all on the court at once. That would be madness and it would be pure Nellie. I guess I can get my fix of that lineup when Elite and 2k11 drop.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    i know that i’m a little late to this party, but…stephen jackson and al harrington aren’t exactly missed when they leave a team. it’s not because of the coach…

    and why should they let anyone coach the team that isn’t the best they can afford? nellie is a better coach than smart, so why would they fire him?

  • isaynaynay


    Nellie isn’t that beloved. He’s certainly no Tom Landry. In fact, a large number of Warrior fans are tired of his act and will rejoice once he’s gone.

  • Ant

    Trade Don Nelson for two draft picks like they do in the NFL