Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Basketball: Don Nelson

The San Francisco Magazine interviewed Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson (October 2008 edition). They emphasized his humble beginnings:

By 1976, when he retired as a player, Nelson had won five championship rings and paid off his house, yet he was anything but rich. In most years, he made around $30,000, and he still drove [Coach] Red Auerbach's hand-me-down Buick. His marriage was also on the rocks...His accountant said Nelson couldn't send his four kids to college. "He was always worried about money, trying to stay ahead," says Donnie [Nelson], who remembers moonlighting with his dad at YMCAs and Rotary Clubs where Nelson would give brief speeches, tossing out the same three jokes for $100 a pop. "Failure simply wasn't an option."

Sometimes, life's second acts are much more profitable. Mr. Nelson has not won an NBA championship as a coach.

On the player side, Corey Maggette is problematic for the Warriors. He plays like Kobe Bryant--if Kobe had mediocre shooting and defensive abilities. Essentially, the Warriors are left with a shooter without a conscience, but one who can't shoot consistently. Something tells me this won't end well, especially with the more experienced Stephen Jackson and Jamal Crawford needing to take at least 12 shots a game for the Warriors to be competitive. On the bright side, Al Harrington seems like he's doing better in New York.

The Baron-Davis-led Warriors were something special, and they will be missed. Right now, the Warriors need a consistent PG--like Chris Duhon, Jose Calderon, or Deron Williams--to keep their gonzo playing style from becoming self-destructive. Baron, shaky knee and all, provided stability to his team, and now, the Warriors have no one to provide steady passing and ball control. The Warriors should offer the Toronto Raptors a mutually beneficial deal: Maggette for Calderon, straight-up. Two other PGs to consider: Antonio Daniels (his quickness will fit perfectly with the Warriors) and local Stanford grad Brevin Knight. Even when Monta Ellis returns, the Warriors will need an experienced backup PG. Just my two cents.

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