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

  • I hate Cohan

    Cohan deserved to lose that money. Nellie has got to go. Let Keith Smart takes over.

  • kshaq


    Fundamentals are not really taught to the team’s younger players this year, which is a big concern. I think Anthony Randolph or Belinelli or even Brandan Wright would have developed way faster than have if they were not under Nelson. Like you pointed out, he plays for a system not to the strengths his players possess. He apparently one of the most egotistical coaches in the history of this game–though it doesn’t seem like it. He’s a good coach when he has the players that fit his system and are veterans! He’s good for a team that has a rookie or two on their team, not 4!

    I think part of why Monta Ellis is such a horrible defender is because of Nellie’s woooo system. Look at Jackson..a pretty good defender and he learned that from his days with Popovich in San Antonio not with Nellie, obviously.

    Also, is he coach or GM? If he’s both (which he is at the moment), then you know disaster is coming pretty soon down the line.

    Nellie, i love you, but go back to Maui.

  • Boner Stabone

    I want Nellie to stay!

  • Boner Stabone

    Unless the franchise can bring in D’Antoni, then Nellie can go.

  • Le


    Remember how horrible the W’s were under the leadership of previous coaches? Only coach that has been able to lead the W’s to good seasons 20 plus years is Nellie. So this season sucks… Nellie’s fault? Hell freakin no. Was not Nellie that sent Baron away. Was not Nellie that injured his ankle, knee, groin, shoulder, butt crack, etc. If you ask me, the W’s athletic trainer needs to go. I’m sure he’s a nice guy but how come he can’t keep the players from being healthy? I say we hire a yoga instructor.

    Only thing I will knock Nellie on is how he handles the rooks and their playing time. But that’s because he has high expectations for his players. I think he can do a better job at keeping Jax under control but I’m sure it’s not easy, he’s the best player on the team.

  • kike yanez

    if nelli leaves who will replace him?the dubs r just a healthy monta n a star player from a “we beleave” team once agine!!!!!

  • rcg

    Stay. Just get the FO to bring in players who are already above average defenders and who rebound. No more Crawfords allowed on the team no matter how much offense they bring. JC OUT and a defensive, rebounding big man IN. And no drafting tweeners.

  • Ryan

    Stay. I don’t know who else they would get, and while the ‘grass is greener’ feeling is tempting, the memory of the coaches since nellie left the first time is stronger. And if Rowell is picking…it is scary.

    Certainly, some things are annoying and frustrating with Nelson. Yet the young kids do seem to be getting better, and are learning (and playing) finally. Next year is more the test for this, as Randolph, Wright, and Morrow have shown themselves to be ready. If he fails to play them enough then, then he has to go.

  • samuraaaaiiiiiii

    Stay. One of the reasons that teams are perpetually at the bottom is because they change coaches and systems far too often. Let the young players learn in this system, then let Keith Smart take over when Nellie leaves for some continuity.

  • Mike in Atl

    go, but we’ll probably miss him rather quickly. look at Dallas… Avery Johnson, FIRED. Now Rick C., should be fired by the off season. Nellie had Dallas a top the west year in and year out.
    Only problem with Nellie is he’s unpredictable and moody. Like a good looking girlfriend, that combo wears on u, forcing u to do something you soon there after regret. let them go…

  • matt kersey

    Will Jamal Crawford play today? or does he still need time to condition after Nelson sat him for two games. Also is their any chance Anthony Randolph plays tonight?

  • Concerned

    Go! Aren’t we Warriors fans tired of Nelsons gimmickry? Who needs more trouble? Rowel should go with him.

  • http://www.ibabuzz.com/warriors/2009 tcbaytown

    Out of Here. For those of you that think Nellie should stay…..”expect more of the same” I want to think we have a shot at a championship with this talent………his system and ego don’t spell winners!!!!!

  • sad jose

    that’s good: “we beleave” we beleaving b/c this organization sucks

  • sleepless in San Fran

    don’t let the door slam him on the way out!

  • Chris Webber

    Might as well keep him, so he can keep playing AR and BW 10 mins a game next season.
    Nothing more fun than watching four guards and a power forward playing major minutes .

  • http://www.firstclassshuttle.net E

    Gooooooooooooooooooo, and fire whoever gave him the extension…


  • SW

    The Warriors brass (Rowell) are stupid for chasing Baron Davis away to Clipper purgatory and screwing up the team. Nellie is Nellie, he is a known quantity. He excels with a certain type of team. He was close to the prototypical dominant point guard that Nellie excels with.

  • Dave Biagini

    Nelson is a great coach. He is the only guy in the organization that knows basketball. We all knew this would be a lost season from the beginning. This has been a valuable year for player development. Next year will be the year to judge this team. They are one player away from being a consistantly good team against good teams. I like this teams chances of turning the corner next year.

  • http://www.arboright.com DB Starkey

    Keep Nellie ~

    Nelson finally has most of the pieces to a team that CAN actually play his style and win. Please leave these guys alone and let them become a team. One thing that almost every winning team has is some consistency and there has been none of that this year. The Warriors have excellent young talent, are going to get a lottery pick, and have talent to trade with as well.

    I am much more concerned about Rowell and his shadowy presence. I believe if management does not screw this up the Warriors are going to continue to be one of the most exciting teams in the NBA to watch and they WILL become consistent winners.

    I will be shocked if we are not talking about playoff position this time next year and what a genius Nellie is.

    To W’s players and coaches. Great effort and a lot of positive growth. Will miss Jamal if he has to go.

    DB Starkey.

  • Sleepy

    Nelson should be tossed out on his arse . Its amazing how easily mediocrity is accepted. Instead of a longterm development plan we want to settle for the one playoff berth nelson got us even though we are shaping up to be the west coast knicks .

    All this young talent we have is getting screwed over and once Nelson leaves they wont be worth anything because hes not teaching them anything about nba basketball.

    Im so tired of Nelson and the crap he pulls whereever he goes . He basically wins over the naive fans with a flashy style and good home court record but his teams are always epic fails on the road.The next guy comes in behind him and has to gut the entire team because they havent been taught anything.

    Why are we prolonging this nightmare ….

  • justafan

    Just do not go to the games and Cohan loses enough money and he sells the team to someone who has NBA experience. So I said it before and I’ll say it again and again and again:
    Boycott the Warriors until Chris Cohan sells the team!!!!

    Nellie? getting a bit old is he not?

  • the Seer

    Nellie go back to Hawaii and drool in a cup..Your too freakin old and the game passed you by ten years ago..He is just embarrassing himself and destroying any decent legacy he ever had…Now he will just be remembered as an old fuddy duddy who never won anything…Way to ruin your reputation Nellie..Bye the way, you CANNOT coach this generation of players..They laugh at you behind your back and make fun of you…

  • the Seer

    Chris Webber, you are right on..The gimmick crap you pull Nellie is just so old and stupid…

  • pixellatedspace

    Cohan sell
    Rowell fired
    Nellie Go


  • the Seer

    Marcus you can see at least 90% of this responders wants Nellie out of here…He is nothing but a senile embarrassment to an organization used to embarrassment…He is a pathetic old man who should go back to Hawaii and drool in his cup with Ms. Joy..

  • pixellatedspace

    Also, new ownership, re-sign Mullin

  • the Seer

    Warrior fans are nothing but enablers for Rowell and Cohan..Warrior fans keep filling the arena and you will be rewarded with crappy teams..Stop going to the games and let Cohan know that he should sell the team or get some coaches and players in here who can compete..Your nothing but enablers for a terrible owner who doesn’t deserve your loyalty..Wake up Warrior fans and boycott this loser..

  • the Seer

    Bay Area fans need to let these terrible owners that we will not support an owner that doesn’t deserve loyalty..I am talking about the 49ers, A’s, Giants, and Warriors..At least Al Davis tries to win, he is just too old and senile, but at least he spends money and tries..The Sharks are the only franchise in the bay area, that has any clue what the hell they are doing..STOP SUPPORTING OWNERS THAT DON’T DESERVE YOUR LOYALTY…The economy sucks, give your hard earned money to someone that deserves it..

  • the Seer

    How can anyone want Nelson around when EVERYONE WHO KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT BASKETBALL, KNOWS THAT DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS..Look at his resume, 28 years of coaching, zero rings, zero trips to the finals..You keep Nellie, you keep losing, period..

  • the Seer

    I am trying to figure out how a fan base who completely supports an organization that has ZERO chance of succeeding..It staggers me that Warrior fans keep putting their hard earned money in Cohan’s and Nelsons loser gimmick team..Nelson NEVER holds his players accountable for their lack of intent to even try to playing defense..So it might be mildly entertaining to see two teams score 250 points, but the bottom line is no defense, you NEVER even get to 41 and 41..

  • Concerned

    Have anyone notice in Don Nelsons coaching history that he has never left a team without a legal problem?

    But as always, Nelsons charisma was able to con the Warriors ownership. Again for the second time! And the fans are dreaming for that day their team will be a team to contend. RIGHT. Next year?

    Don’t you even wonder why this management is in disarray It’s because that’s where his genius works best and flourishes. Just ask Chris Mullin. But as SURE always, Nelson NEVER leaves without the big dough.

    You think Nelson will complete his contract? What, at 71 years old?

  • http://www.scottcelestre.com Squall


    Andris Biedrins.

    Monta Ellis.

    Baron Davis.

    Stephen Jackson.

    Kelenna Azubuikee.

    Anthony Randolph.

    CJ Watson.

    Matt Barnes.

    If anyone can argue that these players were better before Don Nelson got his hands on them I like to hear it. Yes his offense is meant to score more points, but it just doesn’t magically happen. Nellie has an understanding on players weaknesses and strengths. He does an EXCELLENT job of getting players to exploit their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses.


    Anthony Randolph came into the league thinking he can grab a defensive rebound dribble the length of the court while weaving through three defenders and then pull up for a 20 footer in the face of two men.

    But now he grabs that defensive rebound dribble to half court, passes to a guard, gets into the offensive set and puts back an offensive rebound.

    Monta Ellis was shackled to the bench when Mike Montgomery coached the Warriors, when he did play he would only go right at 450MPH.

    Now with Nellie, Monta can go left or right. He also has the understanding to slow down when driving to the basket. He can shift and move his body around guys rather than barreling into them and getting called for a charge. Now he is a controlled 450MPH.

    Don Nelson is a great coach and for some reason everyone remembers the 2007 “We Believe” season, but no one remembers the guy pulling the strings.

    The Warriors are a stud PG away from being where they were, and that PG is on the LA Clippers now. If Baron never left, Corey never happens. Maybe we trade away Al but not for the unnecessary Jamal, maybe just some scraps. Then we are not log jammed at positions we already had talent at.

    We have 2s (Monta, Morrow, Marco)
    We have 3s (Jackson, Azubuikee)
    We have 4s (Wright and Randolph)
    We have 5s (Biedrins and Turiaf)

    We have two players that happened because management didn’t want to do whatever the media says they didn’t want it to do. And now we’ll never know what would could’ve been, but its not completely Nelson’s fault. It’s not his fault he can’t find playing time for our younger players, he has two players (Corey and Jamal) who soak up minutes and bankroll. Whether he was behind the whole thing we may never know but I do know this, Don Nelson gave the Golden State Warriors an identity, an identity that we fans were searching for for so long. And now all we want is to have that back.

    Keep Don Nelson.

  • the Seer

    Squall what identity did Nellie give us?? A gimmicky team that has ZERO chance of winning because we don’t even attempt to play defense and NELLIE DOESN’T HOLD ANYONE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE PATHETIC DEFENSE..This franchise has zero chance of succeeding until Cohan, Rowell and Nellie go away…Back to Maui with your old drool cup..You are so way to old to coach these players..They don’t respect you, they don’t pay attention at timeouts(Monte) and they laugh at you behind your back..

  • hibcbcbc





  • Tony M

    GO…the sooner the better.

    can we please stop talking about the WE BELIEVE couple months??? That mess is 2 years old now…and we have a total different team. JUST STOP

  • Trade Jackson

    jim barnett for coach? fitzgerald for gm? what yall think?

    new warriors mascot, tim kamakazi?

  • Oregonwarriorfan

    Stay, stay, stay, stay, stay. Stay.

    Him win the NBA championship? Not likely. Make the Warriors worth following? Definitely.

  • Le

    Nelson stays! I don’t want to watch anymore “Dunelevy taking the ball up and passing to Murphy in the post”.

    Let’s blame the moped and Rowell for this season’s debacle (and the athletic trainer for all the injuries).


    Go! Please Go!

    Nelson has lost all of the key young players on the team for good reason. He is terrible at developing young talent, and doesn’t play a winning system!

    If Cohan won’t part with the $12M, then at least move Nelson to the FO and make Smart or someone else the head coach. Anything but this dead end we have now.

    There are plenty of good young coaches out there to take this coaching job–especially with the top young talent we have. Avery Johnson and Kurt Rambis, to just name two who immediately come to mind.

  • jsl

    The Fat Man is pure poison. The sooner he’s gone, the better we are. Huge addition by even huger subtraction. Now, why:

    1. Can’t coach in Q4; always going SNSB on us. Almost cost us the 76er game when he pulled BW with 7:30 left and an 18 point lead. Cost us three games by failing to guard the in-bound pass or (get this) keeping Jamal in for defense. Wears Jack out so he’s usually a Q4 liability.

    2. Doesn’t treat players fairly or equally. Acts as a petulant ass. Gives unlimited minutres to old guys; won’t play the kids — retarding all development. “Ices” players. Publicly dismissive of young talent.

    3. Lacks all flexibility. Is most predictable as game proceeds. Makes the same stupid mistakes over and over.

    4. Refuses to play fast. Keeps faster bigs — like AR and BW — shackled while over-playing slower, older guys.

    5. Runs a 6-7 man rotation on a team with real depth that could play a 9-10 man rotation and play fast all the time.

    6. Has NO concept of defense. Doesn’t teach it; doesn’t care about it. Allows old guys to play it entirely with their hands, not legs. Is perhaps worst defensive coach in NBA history.

    7. Is — on balance — a lifelong loser as a coach. has NEVBER won anything in 30 years.

    8. Doesn’t teach; doesn’t develop young talent. Any improvement by our young guys is self-taught. (Goose had to learn his craft in Latvian summers.)

    9. Is brittle beyond repair. See, lack of flexibility, above. Is way too old to coach, given his personality.

    10. Is so caught up in passing Lenny, he’ll trade our youthful core for more of the Jack-Jamal-Maggette crap. Best result: one and out in the playoffs.

    There’s a lot more, but this is more than enough. Problem is, even iof he took the money and ran, we’d still have Rowell and Cohan.

    P.S. Squall: Your REAL p;oint is that we have pretty good players. But look what Nelson’s done to them and to us this year. Frankly, your best conclusion SHOULD be the Fat Man must go!

  • Mike

    Now that he is finally playing Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph, he can stay. Plus, he’s dumping Crawford. Sounds good to me.

  • Kyle

    It’s easy to say “Nellie should go.”

    It’s really hard to find a better coach who wants to coach for the Warriors. The thing I struggle with is Nellie truly not coaching defense. This spells doom.

  • Ewok


    Nelson is no longer about coaching.

    He is about his ego.

    If he can’t communicate with Mullin, his protege, how do you expect him to communicate with the rest of the team in working for a championship.

    Nelso will soon break this team apart.

    Just wait and see.

    Replacement? We have lots of replacements.. Keith Smart, Mario Ellie, Avery Johnson, or Even Tim Hardaway..

    There’s lots of candidates.

  • fotd

    Stay. Nelson got his contract so that he could use this season to develop. Many of his moves are hard to understand but I think he has laid the groundwork to succeed next year. If I’m Cohan, he gets another year.

  • jsl

    And here’s a few more reasons — see 41 –Nelson should leave:

    11. Horrible rotations. Plays Jack — one of the league’s worst percentage shooters — 40+ minutes a game. As a result, Jack is dead in Q4, never passes in Q4, doesn’t defend in Q4, and shopots without conscience in Q4. Nelson never pulls him UNLESS Jack asks. (Cf. when BW, Marco, or almost any young guy makes a mistake.) He rarely plays two bigs, even tho the W’s almost always play better with two bigs. His young guys get no consistyent minutes. (Look at BW’s time over the past two weeks.) In short, Nelson’s long range view is about six minuites into the future.

    12. He’s a terrible away game coach. The W’s have just an execrable record on the road this year — SIX wins, I think. They might not make it to ten, which is LESS than a .250 percentage. Nelson just doesn’t get the guys up to play — largely because he’s so mercurial and inconsistent. We’ll never be a winning team this way, cuz he always screws the pooch on the road.

    13. His players — with the possible exception (tho I doubt it) of Jack, Nelson’s favored pet — hate the Fat Man. Sure, they might say nice things in public, but anyone who watches closely (e.g. look at how they avoid him in time outs; cf. with a real vcoach, like Pop) knows this guy is reviled by his players. He deserves it.

    14. He thinks Monta’s a one. But just look at the way Monta plays; he’s a two guard all the way. That means, if he plays, we need a big one to guard the oppositions best small man.

    Now, I’m not saying the Fat Man’s a perfect fool — tho he IS a perfect ass — because he CAN do some smart things. Tho irt took half a year, he finally figured out that Maggette can’t start. (I wish he’d also get it that Maggette’s a three, but that’s another story.) Although he was playing Jamal — perhaps the league’s WORST defender (as long as Watson’s in the league, he takes that title) — nearly 40 minutes, he’s finally tumbled to the obvious: while the Al trade got rid of one Nelson nemesis, it brought back a really limited guy with a longer, more expensive contract — who just doesn’t fit. So he gets the Marcus Williams treatment.

    But when you add it all up, even tho this guy was once a good coach, that was YEARS ago. Now he’s a poison to this team, and the sooner Cohan pays him off and shows him out, the better we’ll get.

    Who say you? Well, TK has offered a number of pro choices. I suggest the W’s look to the East for a good, tough college coach who knows and requires defense. (I’m not talking about a pensive guy like Montgomery, but a young firebrand who can teach the young guys how to get better much quicker.) We’ve a lot of options. The rub, tho, is that Rowell — a bigger idiot than Nelson — will be making the choice. Now, if we just had a guy like Mullin in the front office. . . .

  • Steve

    One of the reasons I’ve always liked Nelson is he’s never been afraid to be different. His style is fast and high scoring, and that coaching philosophy came within a Robert Horry cheap shot foul on Steve Nash of likely producing an NBA champion a few years ago. The rules in sports are more slanted towards the offensive side of the game than ever before. The New England Patriots were a minute or two away from a 19-0 season that many would have labeled the best ever, and their defense would have taken a distant backseat to their offense. Last year neither Pittsburgh nor Arizona could stop anyone when it really counted in the 4th quarter. The Super Bowl was won on offense. There are ZERO teams in the NBA that play great defense. When the Lakers and Celtics played last, they combined to score 219 points (110-109). The point is, the Warriors and Nelson’s style of play can win, and win big, if the talent is there. GSW just needs to grow up and mature as a team. As for their defensive numbers, they’ll improve drastically as soon as their rebounding improves. And their rebounding will improve drastically as Wright and Randolph play more minutes and mature physically. Look at Biedrins body now compared to 3 years ago. By the time BW and AR are in their mid-20′s their physical appearance will be night-and-day from today. In case in you haven’t already guessed, a vote for Nelson to stay.

  • Le

    You guys are right, Nellie is a horrible coach, especially being 3 time coach of the year and 2 most wins in NBA history.

    #44 – Tim Hardaway & Mario Ellie? Are you just throwing out random ex-Warriors? Hardaway is banned from the NBA – not a chance! Here are some more names since we are just we are just naming random coaches:
    Victor Alexander
    Chris Gatling
    Todd Fuller
    Jud Buschler

  • Steve
  • Lufty455

    Time to go old man and hand the team over to your assistant coaches or someone new. We tire over your inefficient command and structure. You were a good coach back in the 80′s and 90′s but could not get any of your team over that hump and title. You need to stop treating the young bucks like they were some sort of plague and respect them. This is one of the many reason he lost the team (RESPECT). We need that change NOW before the team starts playing like the Clippers.