Why Don Nelson May Have Finally Lost It

Ryan ClarkContributor IFebruary 28, 2009

Let me start out by saying, I've constantly defended Don Nelson for a long time. I love his uncontrolled offense, basketball IQ, and openness with the fans.

However, I feel like Nellie doesn't hear his own words anymore or even see the basketball games that everyone else sees.

Recently, Don Nelson decided that even without Monta Ellis and Brandan Wright in the lineup, he would sit a veteran for a full game every once in a while so that some of the younger guys can share the minutes left over. Of course, saying something and then doing it are completely different things.

The game against the Charlotte Bobcats featured Jamal Crawford riding the pine in order to allow the younger players to play more. You may find yourself asking, "How did that work out?"

  • The Warriors lost after a Stephen Jackson turnover with 2.6 seconds left, which was preceded by Boris Diaw hitting a deep three. Losing is not the problem, as the rest of these points will make.
  • Jamal Crawford's agent is reportedly outraged that a completely healthy Crawford was held out of a game against a team that he scored 50 points against earlier in the season. This is also not a huge problem, as Crawford opting out of his contract after the season will relieve cap space and the logjam of guards the Warriors have.
  • Anthony Randolph played seven minutes total, which is less than the minutes he has played in any of his recent games (14, 17, and 28 in his three previous games).
  • CJ Watson played 44 minutes but only went 3-of-10 from the field with three assists and three turnovers. He was the only starter to be negative in the +/- category (-6).
  • Anthony Morrow was 2-of-3 from the field, but had the most negative impact on the team (-15) and had zero rebounds and zero assists in 15 minutes. By the way, that is one less minute than he played in the last game against the Clippers.
  • Stephen Jackson played 42 minutes despite claims that the veterans would get more rest in games. Jackson dominated the ball far too much all game, taking 24 shots. Only Andris Biedrins' 13 shots surpassed half of Jackson's total. He also had his typical eight assists and five turnovers.
  • Marco Belinelli played 21 minutes after starting the game, a grand total of three more minutes than his previous game. He led the Warriors in +/- (+9) and drew three offensive fouls during his time on the court. He went 3-of-7 from the floor with two assists and two turnovers.
  • Kelenna Azubuike was 6-of-9 from the field in 38 minutes. He also had three assists and three turnovers.
I had absolutely no problem with the decision to sit Crawford for a game. I was originally hoping that he would opt out of his contract, which would allow for cap space and more playing time for the others.
However, the manner in which Don Nelson used the extra minutes was absurd. The only real increases in playing time went to CJ Watson, Kelenna Azubuike and Andris Biedrins (who was quietly fantastic as always). Biedrins rightfully absorbed Randolph's playing time at center.
CJ Watson and Anthony Morrow seemed to absorb all but a few of Crawford's minutes, with the rest going to Buike.
Anthony Randolph should have received the ~8 minutes that were given to Azubuike at the power forward spot, leaving Buike with his usual ~28 minutes in the game.
Watson should also have stayed around 27 minutes, which he played against the Clippers when Crawford was in the line-up. The leftover minutes should have been given to Belinelli, which would have brought his playing time to ~30 minutes.
There was not a single person on the team that deserved to play more than 40 minutes. Stephen Jackson should hover near it, but never surpass it. The team needs to learn how to play without Jackson on the floor.
It is inconceivable that Watson played so long in the game on an off-shooting night. There is nothing to justify playing him 23 more minutes than Belinelli. If anything, Belinelli should have had more minutes than Watson.
When glaring inconsistencies come from Don Nelson, I constantly worry back to Al Harrington's comments after leaving the Warriors. Is it true that Don Nelson has a dog house? Is that why Marco can never seem to please him despite the hounding defense and ball movement?
I can't answer either of those, but I can see that the rotation of players on the team is not what it should be.