March 19, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors former coach Don Nelson waves to fans during the half time ceremony to retire the

Don Nelson Sounds Off on Monta Ellis, Other Warriors

Don Nelson is living the good life.

The winningest head coach in NBA history (1,335-1,063 record in 31 years of coaching) is three years removed since he last coached in the league with the Warriors, and is currently relaxing in Hawaii.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Ballard recently caught up with Nelson for an interview, where the former Warriors head coach seemed very open discussing his former players as he watched a game between the Warriors and Grizzlies.

By far his most interesting quote was on Monta Ellis, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Warriors and was a fan-favorite at Oracle Arena.

“When I had him, all he wanted to do, little selfish bastard, was to shoot every time. And never pass,” Nelson said. Like most people would characterize Ellis, Nelson said he was “an incredible, gifted athlete” but “a pain in the ass when I had him.”

Nelson described an instance in practice when he asked Ellis to play like a point guard and try to create shots for his teammates, but Ellis “wouldn’t even consider it.”

This was part of the reason why the Warriors traded Ellis away two seasons ago.


Nelson also joked about David Lee: “You better go to him [on offense], because he can’t guard anybody.”

And used some vulgar language to compliment current Warriors head coach Mark Jackson:

A good guy. I thought it would hurt him when he lost his assistant [Mike Malone, now the Kings’ coach], but he’s doing fine. He’s got enough bulls— that works as a coach. You got to be a bit of a bulls—ter.

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