Nelson sees the potential, Baron, J Rich & Dun endorse

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:50 am
The Warriors' new coach is more than happy to return to the sidelines for Golden State exec Mullin
By Marcus Thompson II
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

OAKLAND - Loyalty. Potential. Risk.

It may sound like a poster in a military recruiting office, but these characteristics have been prominent in Chris Mullin's tenure as the Warriors executive vice president of basketball operations. At least a couple of these are imprinted in just about every decision he's made in his two-plus seasons in the front office -- from hiring his friends to sticking with his draft picks to giving away long-term deals.

So it's no surprise they were the tenets he used in the decision to hire Don Nelson, who was introduced as the Warriors' 23rd coach Wednesday before a couple hundred fans at the Arena. The hiring of Nelson epitomizes how Mullin thinks as an executive.

"There's a certain calmness that comes from (him being the coach)," said Mullin, who bought out Mike Montgomery, his first head coaching hire. "Having the same vision, seeing something develop and thinking the same thing, having a guy on the sideline who's a difference-maker. There's not a guy I'd rather have walking the sideline.

"We improved," Mullin continued. "There's no question about that and will continue to do so. With him, I know we're going to play winning basketball. That's what he does."

The loyalty is evident.

Nelson, who acknowledged he had discussed coaching again with his wife, said the only reason he came to the Warriors was because Mullin asked him. Once again, he wanted to be there for his friend.

These two have history perhaps as deep as any player and coach. It was Nelson, in December 1987, who convinced Mullin to enter a rehabilitation center to receive treatment for alcohol abuse. Mullin said the 30-day program saved his life.

It was Nelson who as Warriors coach exploited Mullin's talents, masking his suspect physical attributes. Mullin's scoring average jumped 6.2 points per game (to 26.2) when Nelson took over for the 1988-89 season, and Mullin averaged more than 25 points for five consecutive years. It was easily the best stretch of his career.

Now it's Nelson coming to rescue Mullin from failure, coming to make Mullin's collage of players work.

"The thing about him is that we've got a lot of talent and he knows how to use talent, whether it be running up and down, whether it be playing half court," small forward Mike Dunleavy said. "He can teach any style basketball. I'm sure he'll take a look at what we've got and go from there, and make it work."

The potential is obvious.

Nelson, who reportedly signed a three-year contract around $15 million, said the Warriors have the pieces to play small ball, at which he proclaimed no one is better. The Warriors roster has some of the tools Nelson traditionally uses to build his contenders. Individually, they've got the capability to be better offensively and Nelson has the pedigree to make it happen.

In his 27 years as coach, his teams have finished top 10 in the league in scoring 17 times and top five 10 times. He's had 21 teams average at least 105 points per game, and eight teams average 110 or more.

"The talent is already here to be a much better team than we are," Nelson said. "I like this team and I'm not afraid to say that I like it.

"This team is capable of winning basketball games at a higher percentage than I've seen," he added. "It's my job to get this talent harnessed in the right direction. You're going to see a different kind of basketball, a more exciting brand of basketball, and it's going to end up winning."

What's more, the locker room drama that plagued the last two seasons could be a thing of the past. Nelson has the credibility and player-relation skills that could bring chemistry and harmony to the Warriors' locker room for the first time under Mullin.

The team's core players already revere Nelson. As Dunleavy said, Nelson has the respect and ear of the team "before anybody laces up a sneaker."

"It's good to have a guy that relates to players," Jason Richardson said. "Nellie has experience. He's been in the NBA. He's coached teams to the playoffs. He's had future Hall of Famers in Chris Mullin, Dirk (Nowitkzi), (Steve) Nash."

Said Warriors guard Baron Davis in a release: "I'm looking forward to playing for a coach that is going to be in the Hall of Fame. I just want to become a better player and gain as much knowledge as I can from someone so accomplished. Coach Nelson is a pillar in the NBA and I am a huge fan of his style."

The risk is ever present.

Nostalgia only goes so far. Does Nellie still have what it takes? Does he have the pieces in place?

The Warriors were 29th in the league in field goal percentage, 26th in free throw percentage, 22nd in 3-point field goal percentage. Can he turn that into an offensive juggernaut?

The Warriors were 22nd in points per game allowed, 20th in field goal percentage defense, 24th in assists allowed per game. Can he change the trend of poor defense, or at least produce enough offense to offset it?

There are still so many questions that need to be answered.

"I remember when I was here, the walls were rocking," Nelson said. "I think we can get that back."

Notes: Richardson said he is recovering fine from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Aug. 22 but is a bit concerned because he's behind on his rigorous offseason regimen. "I feel like I'm four or five months behind," Richardson said. "But at the same time I think it's a positive because I need time off to heal my body because I never take time off."
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:30 am
Mike Dunleavy Jr wrote:"The thing about him is that we've got a lot of talent and he knows how to use talent, whether it be running up and down, whether it be playing half court. He can teach any style basketball. I'm sure he'll take a look at what we've got and go from there, and make it work."

Don Nelson wrote:"The talent is already here to be a much better team than we are. I like this team and I'm not afraid to say that I like it. This team is capable of winning basketball games at a higher percentage than I've seen. It's my job to get this talent harnessed in the right direction. You're going to see a different kind of basketball, a more exciting brand of basketball, and it's going to end up winning.

Jason Richardson wrote:It's good to have a guy that relates to players. Nellie has experience. He's been in the NBA. He's coached teams to the playoffs. He's had future Hall of Famers in Chris Mullin, Dirk (Nowitkzi), (Steve) Nash."

Baron Davis wrote:"I'm looking forward to playing for a coach that is going to be in the Hall of Fame. I just want to become a better player and gain as much knowledge as I can from someone so accomplished. Coach Nelson is a pillar in the NBA and I am a huge fan of his style."


:D :!: :cheers: \:D/ =D> :profileright:
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 12:54 pm
You forgot the best one: :happy2:
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 2:55 pm
I was being a bit racist... going with, simply, the "yellow" smileys.

Don't want to get mixed up with "green" smileys in my part of town. A Klansman lives a few doors down and they just dropped a flaming cross on a green smiley's porch.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:14 pm
Let's hope this works... :drinking:
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 5:40 pm
Baron better respect the coach and everyone around him. Playing close to a full seaso would be great as well :|
Last edited by migya on Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:23 pm
Well, from what Baron said, you don't have much to worry about.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:23 pm
Don't get your hopes up for a full season, 70 games AT MAX.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:25 pm
70 games from Baron Davis would be fantastic.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:26 pm
Yeah, it would. Unrealistic, but I'm setting it at the maximum. Prediction: between 60 and 65 games.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:34 pm
#32 wrote:Well, from what Baron said, you don't have much to worry about.



baron can talk but I want to seeit
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:35 pm
John Patrick wrote:Don't get your hopes up for a full season, 70 games AT MAX.



Again, 70 games still means he misses a month! Imagine if everyone missed a whole month! The team would not have much of a chance to succeed. Baron has to play nearly every game, to earn those big bucks
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:37 pm
I'd say Baron needs to play 65 games for the team to feel his full power. 82 games would be a dream... but like John's saying, it's way unrealistic.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:42 pm
If Baron plays a full 82 games there is no doubt that they'll be playoff team but I doubt he'll go 82. 65-70 is my prediction.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:06 am
Baron can play the full season as long as the team keeps winning on a regular basis. I'm sure most of his injuries are in his head.
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