32 wrote:Okay, since no one else is going to actually look at his record, here's how I'd rank Nelson's Top 5 seasons:
1) 1980-'81 Milwaukee Bucks 60-22. Don Nelson's only reached 60 wins twice in his career. I think his first one, in '81, is the most impressive. His highest scorer (Marques Johnson) only put up 20.3 PPG (ala Baron this season), but they still managed to snag the 3rd best record in the league (behind the stacked Celtics and the stacked Sixers). Nelly had 4 different players averaging higher than 6 rebounds per game (Johnson, Bob Lanier, Mickey Johnson, and Harvey Catchings). Easily, if the Boston Celtics and Philly 76ers weren't so damn stacked (Bird, Parish, Archibald, McHale, Erving, Dawkins, Mo Cheeks), Nelson would have had the best record in the NBA. As it stands, he managed to be right on their heels (both teams won 62) with a less than memorable roster.
I would agree that this was the best coaching season for Nelson. He took this team to such heights this season when it wasn't expected at all
32 wrote:2) 2002-'03 Dallas Mavericks 60-22. Nelson's second trip to 60 wins... only this time he had Dirk Nowitski, Steve Nash, and Michael Finley pulling the load. Nelson squeezed talent out of everybody on the roster (Shawn Bradley managed over 2 blocks in barely 20 minutes, Nash had his best year as a Maverick, Van Exel became a role player after traditionally starting, Finley quietly averaged 19 points, 6 boards, and 3 assists, ect). The only difference between this year and '81 is talent: Nelly had a helluva lot more to work with. But you can't take anything away from him; it was Dallas' best year under Nelson (who turned that franchise from a door mat into one of the league's powerhouse teams for the decade).
Probably was the best season for the Mavs under Nelson but there was 3 seasons that also are up there. That team was pretty loaded and went
32 wrote:3) 1991-'92 Golden State Warriors 55-27. I think this was Nelson's best year in Golden State purely for one reason: he traded a star (Mitch Richmond) and when he realized that he got garbage back in return, he made a star out of one of his current players. Sarunas Marciulionis averaged a career-high 18.9 PPG in the wake of the Richmond trade (he averaged 10.9 the season prior). Mullin and Hardaway did their thing (as usual), but it was really remarkable for Nelly for make lemonade out of such a horrific trade and still grab 55 wins.
That season was the best the Warriors have had under Nelson but the 4 guys of Hardaway, Mullin, Sarunas and Owens were very talented and about the best foursome there was in the nba that season. Justified the trade of Richmond for Owens
32 wrote:4) 1993-'94 Golden State Warriors 50-32. This is a classic example of how the record can be misleading. One might assume that, due to the Warriors stacked roster (Webber, Spree, Mully, TimBug), 50 wins was underachievement. What many people don't remember is that the Warriors were plagued by injury this year. Hardaway didn't play a single game that year and the usually healthy Mullin (the Warriors leading scorer for the past 5 seasons) missed 20 games. Once again, Nelly gave the reigns to Sprewell (an emerging star, under Nelson) and let he and Webber run the show while his old horses were in the barn. In light of all those setbacks, its not tough to see what a great job Nelson did pulling together the team.
Sarunas was also out the whole season. If that team had not been broken up (Webber should have been the only one traded), it would have become an elite team in the second half of the 1990s
32 wrote:5) 2006-'07 Golden State Warriors (Currently) 38-40. The Warriors have missed the playoffs for 12 years running... and Nelson's got us in a position where we might actually be in the post season again. He benched Adonal Foyle (whose been starting since Dampier left in 2004) and brought in young buck, Andris Biedrins, whose exploded with a season worthy of MIP honors. Likewise, Nelly's given the ball to sophomore Monta Ellis, whose responded with an 18, 3, and 4 season. Stephen Jackson comes to the Warriors midseason and bumps up his scoring average up 3 points, his assists by 2, and his rebounding/steals by 0.5 a night (while shooting a better percentage across the board). Franchise Baron Davis has had the best season of his career, to go along with the breakout years from Mickael Pietrus and Matt Barnes (not to mention Ellis and Biedrins). Even youngsters Josh Powell and Kelenna Azuibuke look like studs when they come into the game. And Nelson's done it all with the following: Baron Davis missing 19 games, leading scorer Jason Richardson missing 31 games, Mickael Pietrus missing 10 games, Stephen Jackson missing 4 games, ect. The only man to suit up for Golden State every single night was Andris Biedrins. When your 2 best players (Richardson and Davis) combine for 50 missed games in a season and you still make the playoffs (assuming they do), you've done your job as a coach.
The injuries to key players are what makes this season so good and it is definately close to a top 5 coaching performance from Nelson, though guys like Monta and Biedrins are so young and were always going to get real good
32 wrote:Please, if anybody would rank a season in Nelson's career higher than this one... let me know which season. I'd gladly like to know why you're not giving the guy proper credit.
In 2000/01, The Mavs beat Utah in the 1st round in a bit of an upset. That season they were 53-29 and rising but they were not an elite team yet. They had a fairly talented team but not great outside of the trio of Nash, Finley and Nowitzki. That team is top 5 in Nelson's career because they gained much belief after beating the Jazz