Don Nelson – Stay or Go?

The one for which many of you have been waiting! Now, I have a feeling which way the majority will lean, but maybe some Nellie fans will speak out. There are some legitimate reasons for keeping him around, as some of you have pointed out. Nonetheless, it feels like the answer to this question is among the most paramount when it comes to the future of the organization. So …

Thanks to Tony.psd for letting me take advantage of his skills. Click here to check out his latest work.

Why Don Nelson should stay:

Because he is the perfect coach for the Warriors’ preferred system. They want to be run-and-gun. They want to be exciting and high-scoring. No one coaches that style better than Don Nelson. It’s not really his fault management let his best player walk, or that Monta Ellis got injured. Plus, he’s perhaps the only coach available who can bring the best out of Stephen Jackson, who the Warriors are now committed to, and make the most out of the 58 perimeter players on the roster. Because his style of play is perhaps the only reason an outside player would want to come play for the Warriors at this point. Because, as someone already pointed out, he’s been the only coach to take the Warriors to the playoffs since who knows when. Because he’s going to be the all-time winningest coach in NBA history. He might as well do it with the Warriors. Because, who else are you going to get better? It might be too much of a risk to go with an experienced coach, and you all would go crazy if the Warriors’ replaced Nellie with a re-tread. Who is out there that could come in and do a better job? Smart teams don’t give up a good coach unless they have a better one in line. Plus, is another coaching change what the Warriors need? What screams instability more than ANOTHER REGIME coming in here?

Why Don Nelson should go:

Because, in short, he doesn’t want to be here. At least it seems that way. He’s lost the locker room (I think the only players who would cry if he left are Corey Maggette and Rob Kurz, maybe Stephen Jackson). His rotation patterns and moody tongue have singed nearly everyone in the locker room. But all those reasons can change with an acquisition or two. The biggest reason he should go: his style is too hard to win with, if not impossible. The Warriors are banking their future on young talents developing and taking over this franchise. Right now, they are learning that defense is secondary to offense and a good shot is any shot you’ve made in practice before. He doesn’t work to his players’ strengths; he coaches a system. So unless you get players to fit his system — a dominant point guard, preferably one with size, who can score, pass and be the best player on the court down the stretch; a shooting guard who can defend and spot up; a SF who can play all three perimeter positions, plus PF; a PF who can rebound, protect the basket, score down low, shoot from the outside and run the floor; and a center who can run the floor, shoot from the outside and rebound, and is OK with a minimal role on offense — it won’t work. That is so hard to do. The Warriors were close with the previous team. They were a PF away. Only problem is those power forwards are rare (KG, Chris Bosh, Shawn Marion to some extent). Having all but started over, it isn’t smart for the Warriors to limit themselves from the start.

The reality:

Nelson is due $12 million over the next two seasons once this one is done. If history is an indicator, he won’t be walking away from that money. That means the Warriors will have to fire him. From what I’ve been told, owner Chris Cohan is fed up with paying more than one coach at a time. So it would take an act of Congress (or maybe if he’s convinced he’ll lose more than $12 million if things continue the way they are). The smart money is on Nellie sticking around. But, if it were up to you, would he stay or go?

Let’s hear it!

Marcus Thompson

  • Randall

    stay…best guy available.

  • rickey m.

    stay…this team is long and very lean, quick, can’t play any other style. Don’t care if players like him or not.

  • bobby lee

    Keep Nelson. a pg away from a playoff team with him, a complete overhaul away without him.

  • Elgin Baylor

    Who’s gonna fall out of playoff contention next year to make room for Golden State?…..The Lakers? The Spurs? The Rockets? The Jazz? The Hornets? The Mavericks? The Blazers? The Nuggetts?…..that’s 8 spots right there and all of these teams have far greater players than the Warriors………

    You guys have to wake up.

    Even when we won 48 games last year, we were basically a mediocre team that couldn’t beat Denver, L.A., San Antonio to save our lives.

    We were a .500 team during the 2006-2007 “We Believe” campaign that got lucky and became a Cinderella story. We were an average team that would struggle to beat real teams like the Lakers and Spurs.

    We don’t have enough talent on this team either in 2008-2009.

    We have young talent, but we have no real talented star player and until we get that we won’t make the playoffs next year either.

    This is a bad team, a poorly managed organization and an organization that constantly goes around in circles. First, they make mistakes, then they correct them, then they make the same mistakes again……….

    Most of you fans are jerking off over the fact that we won 90 games the last 2 years and made it to the second round of the playoffs………wow, fucking big deal, the Lakers, Jazz and Spurs do that every single god damn year with no excuses and no problems.

    What has Nelson really gotten us so far? 1 playoff birth and 100 wins, so what?………..There are plenty of coaches out there who can do that.

    Guys, we weren’t that good last year, we were going to be the 8th seed if we beat Denver that last game and we would have had our hats handed to us by the Lakers in the first round.

    We were average in 2006-2007 and we were mediocre in 2007-2008. The 2008-2009 Warriors are one of the worst teams in the league.

    I’m sorry to hurt a lot of your feelings, but I’d rather strive to have a winning organization that competes for Championships and not be happy with winning 45 games and winning 1 playoff series.

    Gregg Popovich and Phil Jackson win playoff series’ in their sleep and yes they have more talented players. But that’s what it takes, you need talented players, not just a bunch of “rag tag” washed up 3rd options, CBA and D-League guys and UFAs.

  • Lamarcus

    This team is bulit to run.To thin on front line for slow down game, smallish star guard. Nelson stays and rebuilds W’s again.

  • Kyle

    The Mavericks are not good. We could easily take that playoff spot next year if we make the right couple moves.

  • Elgin Baylor

    But then you got Phoenix and other young up and coming teams like Memphis and Minnesota,…..both of these teams have better young players than us.

    M. Gasol, O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, Kevin Love and Al Jefferson would run circles around our young guys.

    Point is, if Dallas don’t make it, an improved Phoenix Suns team or an up and coming young team would slide in before the Warriors, I think.

    Even a health Clipper team with all hands on deck: Gordon, Davis, Camby, Kaman, Thornton, is better than us.

  • reality

    Nelson stays.Young team first wins at home then learns to win on the road.A few pieces out and a few pieces in and W’s will be very good.

  • Slam Dunk

    Nelson ain’t going anywhere. Dubs getting much better as season winds down. He’s doing a fine job with a mess of a roster which I expect him to start cleaning up in the off season.

  • Matt

    Nelson and Rowell need to go.

  • Elgin Baylor

    D’Antoni has proven that he is a better coach for the “run and gun” style than Nelson.

    Nelson had some great players in Dallas: Nash, Nowitzki, etc., and they played pretty well but D’Antoni did even better with Nash in Phoenix and for a more consistent and longer period of time.

    So both these coaches have had some talent for their uptempo offensive styles, but D’Antoni has proven that he can more consistently lead his team further into the playoffs with that style.

  • Steve

    Elgin Baylor, after reading what you have to say about GSW (and your evaluation of other teams and players around the league), there’s only one logical conclusion to make——-you are THE Elgin Baylor, the worst GM in the history of sports. How’s the weather in LA these days?

  • fastbreak

    nelson should stay because he brings high scoring exciting games. I dont see why this is a discussion. its not nelsons fault greedy management didnt sign baron davis and nelson didnt push ellis off that moped. You fans need to stop whining and check your estrogene levels cause your acting like little girls.

  • Steve

    For those who didn’t read Sunday’s SF Chronicle, Bruce Jenkins wrote a half-page column about the Warriors and Don Nelson (“Team Turmoil”). http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/03/22/SP4J16K7T5.DTL&feed=rss.sports

  • Elgin Baylor

    “Steve”…………definitely 1 of the worst GMs in history,…….but also 1 of the greatest players in history,……..right?

    But you already knew that……..because you know everything.

  • earl monroe

    #38 Good point.

    although for the same reasons I would let him go, there is enough promise in Biedrins and the young forwards that you could build a good conventional team. The kind that would really compete in the playoffs. That kind of team is not Nelson’s cup of tea, he cannot envision playing Wright, Randolph and Biedrins together, and that is what it may take to start building the front line, the beauty of Randolph and Wright is that they give you second shots when the team is taking those fun crazy jumpers.
    Re building should start now because with these young colts we are still a couple of years away, and that is only if they get to play consistently, because no matter what Nelson says, no player learns enough by sitting on the bench, there is no substitute for real run time.

    But Nelson is going no where unless he pisses Cohan off like he did Cuban, too much money and lack of integrity for him to quit and just
    walk away, he is here to stay.

  • 4th Quarter Scorer

    It just amazes me how some bloggers are so quick to compliment the stupidest posts…….here is “Earl Monroe” saying “Good point to # 38.”

    Good point for what “Earl?”

    # 38 said Nelson winning a Championship is not likely.

    How about Nelson winning a Championship is absolutely impossible.

    My question to you, “Earl,” is, what did # 38 say that was such a great point?

    I mean I am looking at other more substantive posts with good suggestions and sound reasoning and you pick the most retarded and generic post to agree with.

    Hard to take you seriously “Earl.”

  • Mr B

    Keep Nelson. First, we let go of a good PG, now we want to let go of a good coach. This is what we’ve been saying all along is that we cannot be in rebuilding mode.

    Maintain the current core of players, keep the current coach and add to the core. You add a Boozer and an Andre Miller type player into the this team, then you have a playoff team – possibly a deep playoff team at that.

    The grass seem to always be greener on the other side. At least we know Coach Nelon’s quirks and can work with it. If you take on a Jeff Van Gundy or a Rick carlisle type coach, shoot who knows what crap you will get into.

    I agree with what Le is saying by the way.

  • Daniel

    Keep Nelson for sure.He has proven he can build successful teams over and over again. After a few times, it’s not just luck or coincidence anymore.

  • slap shot

    Come on, this team of tweeners and skinny bigs can win only with a running system.They can’t play power ball, or a half court slow down game.Nelson stays cuz running game is his specialty and he’s one of the few guys who might be able to make something out of this team despite its “unusual”makeup.

  • RJ

    Nelson ain’t going anywhere and he shouldn’t be.It took him two years to rebuild Mavs, they had the patience, do Dubs fans?

  • jeremy

    Nelson stays. 2 good seasons and all of the sudden he can’t coach? I don’t think so.Find a pg and a brawny backup PF with Turiaf skillset and should be good team.

  • Aaron M.

    Even a very good coach like Nelson needs the correct players to run his system effectively.Give him the off season to dump Jamal and trade some other dead weight out of the way, and I’m sure he’ll find those players as he’s done for the last 30 years.

    Nelson stays.

  • 4th Quarter Scorer

    Wow…..with all the Nelson support you would think we were talking about Phil Jackson or Pat Riley………you guys would probably fall all over yourselves for those guys.

    Look, Nelson knows how to win in the regular season. He is a match-up coach as well as an “X”s and “O”s coach. He plays gimmick defense by forcing other teams to either adjust to his rotations or stay status quo.

    This game works with some coaches but not with Championship coaches like Popovich and Jackson. These guys would eat Don Nelson alive.

    Avery Johnson was a perfect example of a coach who fell for the gimmick lineups in the 2006-2007 playoff series against Dallas.

    But the main point is that 45 wins a season doesn’t really get my dick hard, guys.

    I mean, I want a deep playoff team with Championship aspirations, no matter who the coach is.

  • notanelsonfan

    Nellie will end up staying.

    If Nellie could:
    1. Consistently play a bigger lineup to get more rebounds both on offense and defense on a regular basis. (I’m not saying to just stop small ball, because it does work fine at times).

    2. Get Jax to stop shooting so damn much and distribute the ball, especially when he’s cold.

    3. Get rid of that damn Magette!!!!!

    4. Preach more defense to his team.

    5. Finally if he can just concentrate on coaching, and just THAT. Get it thru his skull that whom ever Mullin drafts or signs in the off season work with that person with no complaints!

    Most will say all the above is just wishful thinking, but what the heck!

  • Trae H.

    Team’s improving overall. Nelson’s doing his job.AR’s getting better, AM looks like he’s coming along,BW looks good at times. Game to game in the NBA is not necessarily an accurate road map of the overall improvement of a team.Need to add a few players.

    Nellie stays IMHO.

  • Todd

    Nelson is fine and should stay.Could use a little less drama next year though. From Nelson and the media.

  • stephen

    Wow, with all the Nelson bashing you would think he was PJ Carlisemo or something.

    Nelson stays.

  • I got skillz

    Nelson stays.Team looks much better than earlier in the season. Add a few pieces and subtract a few and improvement should continue next year.

  • KT

    On a team born to run, Nellie is the right coach. He stays.

  • jsl

    On a team born to run, Nelson just slows things down. Watch Jack in Q4 sometime. Or Maggette. It’s stultifying.

  • the Seer


  • the Seer



  • Steve

    Oh, great Seer, your presence is humbling. However, may I give you the name of a coach who emphasizes defense and tough physical play, who’s so good his team qualified for the playoffs 16 years in a row, and who’s also had great players to coach, yet, he’s never won an NBA championship……….Jerry Sloan. Jerry Sloan and Don Nelson have won a combined zero titles as coaches, yet only a dimwitted fool would see the glass as half-empty when analyzing their respective coaching careers. All these brainiacs that post here and shout to the moon that Nelson isn’t any good because he doesn’t coach defense and he’s never won a championship as a coach. Well, Jerry Sloan coaches defense, his teams have made the playoffs something like 17 times in 20 years, and he’s had great players like Karl Malone and John Stockton to coach, yet no championships. Why? I guess, just like Nelson, it’s because he’s not a good enough coach. LOL The Warriors have a very good coach ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Nelson ). The only question that matters going forward concerns the players. Are these guys good enough to make GSW perennial playoff contenders? Or better? The Warriors have a lot of good young talent, but I think they’re probably one star player short of maybe being a really good team. Look what adding Pao Gasol did for the Lakers. How about Chris Bosh in a GSW jersey? Hey, just some wishful thinking.

  • the Seer

    By the way, this Elgin Baylor makes tons more sense then the real one…The Warriors are a losing organization striving for mediocrity..Can’t we strive for more here?? No one talks about championships in the bay area and that is precisely why we don’t ever win them..Only the Sharks have any clue, thank god for Doug Wilson..Congrats to Mully for getting out of this dysfunctional mess and landing on your feet..NY will treat you so much better..You’ll have fun with all that cap room in 2010, while GS is stuck with the same ole, same ole, fighting for mediocrity, because that is what the Dubs do..

  • the Seer

    thats the issue, the Dubs never make that one move to get that star player…I never said the Jerry Sloan was a great coach..I said that Don Nelson isn’t the coach for an up and coming young team that needs continuity and someone to teach them the fundamentals of playing championship basketball in the NBA..I don’t see Don Nelson doing that, period..How many coaches have told players during the season to opt out ,that we won’t sign you next year?? How many coaches have told players your getting days off, so we can play other players?? Not Phil Jackson or Red Auerbach, or Greg Popovich, or Pat Riley, unless they were resting them for the last game of the season before the playoffs or something like that..

  • the Seer

    Steve I am so with you on the wishful thinking for Bosh or Gasol, but we are capped out for a few years, right?? Even if Crawford leaves, we don’t have any money in the next three years to sign a FA that can make that impact to change the course of the franchise..I don’t think you blame Nelson for that, but its a little frustrating to realize how little space we have to make changes to get us to a level where we are a playoff team consistently..

  • earl monroe

    #67 Good point

  • Steve Nash, eh?

    I am late to this, having just discovered Marcus’ excellent blog, a nice antidote to the all too many dysfunctional warriors sites out there. Marcus, you seem like neither a hater nor a cheerleader, but simply a good journalist. As to Nelson, he may be the 2nd winningest coach in history, but he is also the third or fourth losignest (a word?). Cohan needs to weigh whether it is worth the 6 million a year to keep someone around who will destroy any chance the promising youngsters have of becoming a contending team. If that is the case, he will lose a lot more in season ticket and merchandise sales than he gets by moving to a great available coach like Avery Johnson. Amazing that the two-time coach of the year is available, while aging white retreads who never had his success get signed again and again. What is up with that?

    If they keep Nelson and don’t do something dramatic (and an o.k. 7th-8th pick SF is not dramatic), they will fall off 3 or 4000 tix sales/game next year, which is 12 million dollars plus say another 3 million in merchandise/food/parking, so the cost of keeping the Nelson status quo is about 9 million a year. Maybe those are numbers Cohan and Co will understand. Pay Nellie and hire a coach for 2-3 mill/year and you are still 6 million ahead, OR bump him upstairs to VP and use his still agile analysis when it suits you.