Former Golden State Warriors’ head coach—and future Hall of Famer—Don Nelson has been in the media more in the past week than he has in the year-plus since he left the Warriors. CSN Bay Area’s Matt Steinmetz recapped some of the interesting tidbits from Nellie’s long question-and-answer session with the media this week.
While nobody asked him why he habitually alienated immature big men—I guess Andris Biedrins, Anthony Randolph and Chris Webber weren’t holding tape recorders—Nellie did get a chance to admit some of his minor mistakes.
He lamented calling the Mitch Richmond-for-Billy Owens trade “the worst trade I ever made,” but not because it was so bad. He was regretful because the comments apparently hurt Owens’ feelings. That’s not the Nellie Warrior fans remember. This is a new (ironically, older) Nellie. He’s gone a little softer than he used to be.
Still, all that thoughtful introspection aside, I’m a little disappointed nobody asked him any tough questions. With his new perspective, we might have gotten some honest answers to the following:
- How come your answer to everything was to play small, even when it was clear that nobody ever wins championships by doing that?
- Why couldn’t you get along with Chris Webber? Nobody else seemed to have a problem.
- How does it feel to have destroyed the confidence and career of Andris Biedrins by constantly belittling him to the media?
- Any chance you’ll admit you took games off all the time toward the end, mentally checking out and still cashing your paychecks?
You get the idea. Nellie brought a lot of fun things to the Warriors during his two tenures as coach, but he really screwed some other things up. And he usually bolted town (or was asked not to return) shortly after he finished messing with players’ heads and toying with ridiculous lineups.
Nellie’s getting into the Hall of Fame, but I think somebody ought to hit him with the questions we really want answers to before that happens. I think we need to get some things straight before he disappears to Hawaii for another couple of years.