Nelson plans to step up pace (Great Article)

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» Thu Sep 14, 2006 2:00 am
Thursday, Sep 14, 2006
Nelson plans to step up pace
By Dave Newhouse

Mirage or messiah? Don Nelson's surprise return to the Warriors evokes different reactions, but he definitely projects hope.

And with a postseason drought of 12 years, hope is all the Warriors have to cling to, although Nelson truly believes they are playoff caliber.

Well, he is the last coach to guide the Warriors into the postseason, and he left the beaches of Hawaii to see if he can do it again.

Nelson, in an interview Wednesday, dissected the Warriors and a variety of subjects in between puffs on his cigar.

You're 66, financially secure, and you could find nothing among the swaying island palms to fill the void of basketball?

Most of the people I hung out with there were working, so the void was that I didn't know what to do during working hours. But (coaching) is something I do well, and I've done it a long time. I did miss it, I have a passion for it, and -- the main thing -- I was wanted here. Badly. So I came.

You had prostate surgery five years ago. How is your general health today?

Everything is good. I'm cancer-free.

What is the best method of rebuilding a franchise?

This is the fourth time I've been asked to cure a struggling franchise, and I've done this one before. You have to evaluate the roster and see how many players are salvageable in the system you want to play. In Dallas, I got rid of the whole team. In Milwaukee, I built from the ground through draft picks, like we did here the first time.

But this particular roster I happen to like, so I'll do this one different from the others. This team is pretty well ready to roll, and if they're not, they've got to prove that to me.

What is it exactly you like about these Warriors?

I think their best team is a small team, and I'm good at coaching small teams. They have a lot of natural ability. They have strengths that other players don't have, like (Mike) Dunleavy, able to handle the ball and be a point forward. And we have a really good point guard (Baron Davis). The big men aren't star players, but they can fill in at that spot.

If we change the tempo, that should be good for everybody. And then to see if these players will do what I want them to do, and I think they will be able to.

What things are those?

There are a hundred things, but, basically, to change their style of play to a faster pace, and a higher-scoring game, if you will. And to play an unselfish game, always anchored by a good solid defense, in which not everyone can guard successfully, but you get support from other guys -- which hasn't been a particularly strong point of this team. But I think we have a chance to make the playoffs. I feel real good about that.

What improvement must you make?

Mickael Pietrus is one of my mystery guys. He will play for me if he does what I want him to do, emphasizing the defensive end and not to worry about the offensive end. He's a great athlete and he can run. And I'm looking for runners.

There are other mystery guys; I don't know if they'll be able to make the next move I want them to make. I'm going to need (Troy) Murphy to play some center for us. If he can make some adjustments, he'll have his best year. And it will allow me to play Dunleavy at the ``4,'' because he basically struggles at small forward. He can function offensively better against the ``4s'' in the league.

And (Monta) Ellis is a mystery guy. I'm not sure as a high school player (two years ago) if he's ready to play big minutes. I'd like him to, and I'm going to give him the opportunity.

In your system, do you need one team leader, or is it a composite thing, like Run TMC?

In Run TMC, (Tim) Hardaway was our leader. It's better if your point guard is the leader. (Davis) is a great player, and he's going to flourish in my system. But he's too heavy to play my style of ball. He's got to get thinner; everybody has to be thinner than they are.

How do you psychologically convince this team it can win?

My approach is that they're going to have to show me why they can't win. I don't know why this team doesn't win. They should be a better team than they are, even playing in a tough conference and division.

A familiar pattern: The Warriors unravel in the fourth quarter. How do you cure that?

There's some obvious things. They're one of the worst foul-shooting teams in the NBA; we've got to remedy that. Then there's some situations like decisions and spacing. But if you can't make your foul shots, it's going to be hard to play down the stretch for me.

Chris Webber left the Warriors, and they've yet to recover. Looking back, could you have handled that situation differently?

Not after I got him here. If I had known more about the person, I wouldn't have taken him. The guy who was going to do all the positive things turned out to be a negative situation. He was young and unwilling to do much of anything, and has had many problems since. I don't think anyone would have succeeded with Chris early in his career.
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» Thu Sep 14, 2006 2:04 am
He's saying all the right things.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait till the season starts.
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» Thu Sep 14, 2006 5:48 am
Just hope the old prik doesn't croak while coaching the team
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» Thu Sep 14, 2006 5:51 am
migya wrote:Just hope the old prik doesn't croak while coaching the team


::lol:

Now that's what I call tough love.
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» Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:32 pm
Don Nelson wrote:In Dallas, I got rid of the whole team. In Milwaukee, I built from the ground through draft picks, like we did here the first time.

But this particular roster I happen to like, so I'll do this one different from the others. This team is pretty well ready to roll, and if they're not, they've got to prove that to me.

I like this a lot. My main worry about guys like Larry Brown and Don Nelson are that they tend to trade the entire team away (as he admitted to doing in Dallas). If Nelly wants to work with out current roster, that's a total bonus.

Don Nelson wrote:Mickael Pietrus is one of my mystery guys. He will play for me if he does what I want him to do, emphasizing the defensive end and not to worry about the offensive end. He's a great athlete and he can run. And I'm looking for runners.

Mickael will get his shot... again. :roll: Let's hope he doesn't choke this time.

Don Nelson wrote:I'm going to need (Troy) Murphy to play some center for us. If he can make some adjustments, he'll have his best year. And it will allow me to play Dunleavy at the ``4,'' because he basically struggles at small forward. He can function offensively better against the ``4s'' in the league.

And (Monta) Ellis is a mystery guy. I'm not sure as a high school player (two years ago) if he's ready to play big minutes. I'd like him to, and I'm going to give him the opportunity.

I like this a lot. I'm not very high on just 'giving up' on Dunleavy and Murphy; those two have proven they can be productive players. Finding better roles for them on the team is better than just trading them away for sewer sludge. And it's good to hear Monta will get his dues. Something I'm worried about, though... I haven't seen Nelson mention Ike's name once in this article. :|

Don Nelson wrote:(Davis) is a great player, and he's going to flourish in my system. But he's too heavy to play my style of ball. He's got to get thinner; everybody has to be thinner than they are.

Excellent; that will, no doubt, improve Baron's health. The little guys who are all bulked up are the guys who tend to break.

Don Nelson wrote:There's some obvious things. They're one of the worst foul-shooting teams in the NBA; we've got to remedy that. Then there's some situations like decisions and spacing. But if you can't make your foul shots, it's going to be hard to play down the stretch for me.

:D Hail Nelson.
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» Thu Sep 14, 2006 1:07 pm
migya wrote:Just hope the old prik doesn't croak while coaching the team

:)

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» Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:13 am
TMC wrote:He's saying all the right things.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait till the season starts.


I will be getting a radio and trying to snag KNBR using different radio positions. I was getting them in the car in socal so there should be a way to arrange things hehe. This season should be interesting to watch.

Or I can spend money on NBA ticket on cable...
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» Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:52 am
He doesn't even mention Ike why?

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» Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:29 pm
Nellie probally isnt worried about Ike because it's obvious what he brings to the table :!:
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» Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:30 pm
Overall, I like what he is saying. However, I too am concerned about no mention of Ike. He is right on to have Murphy play some center, but Dunleavy at the 4!!!! The dude cannot finish inside, and who the hell is he going to guard at the 4??? He will get killed by folks like Brand... Ike will have to lose a little weight and gain a little speed to get PT with Nelson. I agree, Baron needs to lose weight, since a lot of his injury problems could be girth-related.
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» Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:35 pm
When (not if) Dunleavy fails at PF, Nelson will go to Ike.

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» Fri Sep 15, 2006 4:38 pm
Dunleavy has been effective at the 4 and creates a match up problem with his ability to take 4's off the dribble, I am sure Nellie is talking about situational match ups not Dun being a permanent fixture at the power forward spot :!: Nellie will utilize Dun's versatility but that doesn't mean Ike will suffer.

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» Fri Sep 15, 2006 4:46 pm
Hey coltraning when I saw Ike in person in Vegas I was surprised that he was alot smaller weight wise than I thought, now I don't know if this was because he had already slimmed down over the summer or he just looks bigger on TV and the cheaper seat's 20 rows back in the corners :!:
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» Fri Sep 15, 2006 6:14 pm
Right, I thought that's what he meant. Who would they start at SF if Dunleavy moved up to the 4? Pietrus??? ::lol:
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» Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:39 pm
Don Nelson wrote:In Dallas, I got rid of the whole team. In Milwaukee, I built from the ground through draft picks, like we did here the first time.

But this particular roster I happen to like, so I'll do this one different from the others. This team is pretty well ready to roll, and if they're not, they've got to prove that to me.


The players are good enough to win a heap! Just hope this old bastard is not just here for the money, which is considerable!


Don Nelson wrote:Mickael Pietrus is one of my mystery guys. He will play for me if he does what I want him to do, emphasizing the defensive end and not to worry about the offensive end. He's a great athlete and he can run. And I'm looking for runners.


He is right about Pietrus needing to focus on the defense once again but Pietrus can do some good things on offense as well. Sounds like the old prik doesn't have much in store for Pietrus so Pietrus will ikely not get much of a chance anyway!


Don Nelson wrote:I'm going to need (Troy) Murphy to play some center for us. If he can make some adjustments, he'll have his best year. And it will allow me to play Dunleavy at the ``4,'' because he basically struggles at small forward. He can function offensively better against the ``4s'' in the league.

And (Monta) Ellis is a mystery guy. I'm not sure as a high school player (two years ago) if he's ready to play big minutes. I'd like him to, and I'm going to give him the opportunity.


Just wrong having dun and Murphy play the 4 and 5 - Just too soft and not fast enough so no reason to go with this!

He gives Monta Ellis the opportunity and he will reward the old man with good results!


Don Nelson wrote:There's some obvious things. They're one of the worst foul-shooting teams in the NBA; we've got to remedy that. Then there's some situations like decisions and spacing. But if you can't make your foul shots, it's going to be hard to play down the stretch for me.


Nelson states the obvious! What's the man going to do to improve that

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