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 …
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.
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!