Don Nelson Likely Holds The Key to The Playoffs For the Golden State Warriors
I should start this article with an apology to Larry Riley. I feared that he would create a team with no depth that was neither able to compete for a title in the future or the playoffs this season. His expert signings of Dorell Wright, Rodney Carney, and Louis Amundson has alleviated at least one of those concerns. The Warriors as they are now constituted, are ready for a run at the playoffs.
I believe that we did give up a chance for future title's with Anthony Randolph's awesome potential, but potential is but birds in the bush. I still regret not being able to watch Randolph, who was traded to the Knicks, develop, but I cannot completely hate a GM for successfully putting together a possible playoff team.
We have given up the Oklahoma City path of taking prospects and high draft picks to pursue a title for a chance to compete now. We should have the coach that gives this team the best chance to make the playoffs this year. That man is Don Nelson.
The team is built to be a fast offensive force, but has serious defensive liabilities. The only coaches who have shown a strong ability to win that way are Nelson and Mike D'Antoni. D'Antoni is currently employed, and so we are left with Nelson.
The team is built for him. Offensively gifted players who require a system like his to exploit mismatches to continuously outscore teams that will face little defensive resistance. With (let's hope) a healthy Andris Biedrins and David Lee manning up underneath the basket, the Warriors defense will show a little improvement due to increased defensive rebounding reducing second-chance opportunities.
The offense will improve as defenders will not be able to key in on Biedrins as the sole, though meager, offensive presence down low. The improved rebounding will give the Warriors more second-chance opportunities.
Nelson has the presence that can ensure that Monta Ellis defers to Stephen Curry, and places more of his energy on defense. He will be able to adapt when the injury bug strikes. As it assuredly will with Dorell Wright, Brandon Wright, Biedrins, and Ellis on the roster logging major minutes.
The only reasons to oppose Nelson is that he is inconsistent at developing talent, lacks a defensive focus, and another better coach is out there.
The first is alleviated because the Warriors are not dependent on their rookies Jeremy Lin and Ekpe Udoh. Besides both should be deferential.
Secondly, this team is not built for defense. I doubt even Tom Thibodeau, Larry Brown, or Jeff Van Gundy could make the Warriors an average defensive team with David Lee anchored at the four with no outstanding defenders on the team. If this team is going to make the playoffs, we need an offensive, not a defensive genius.
Finally, many mention Keith Smart as a possible replacement. I don't get this at all. Smart has not shown anything that makes anyone think he will be a good coach, let alone a great one. He seems to show neither a great defensive or offensive intelligence.
He showed no better ability than Nelson in getting more out of Randolph or any other player. Finally, his lack of stature makes one wonder how much influence he could have if Monta Ellis hogs the ball. If we want to make the playoffs next year, why break in a coach who hasn't shown anything.
Jeff Van Gundy stands out as probably the best of the rest of the available coaches. In the long run, he would probably make a good choice. Consistently a good coach, Van Gundy has succeeded because of a defensive mindset. As stated before, if the Warriors win this year, they need offense because they don't have the tools for great D. In the short run, a change of style makes the playoffs far less likely.
So if "We Believe" is to return, we need the same coach to perform the same magic. Let Nelson go out in style. He will be coaching for his legacy. LET'S KEEP NELSON!
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