On Salon today, King Kaufman--a self-proclaimed "lapsed but still-sympathetic fan of the Golden State Warriors"--writes about former Dallas Mavericks head coach Don Nelson's more or less stunning return to his former team, which hasn't been any good since Nellie jumped ship about a decade back. Kaufman ain't too happy about Nellie's return--I think the word "NO" repeated some 50 times pretty much sums it up--because, as Mavs fans know all too well, the coach is good for two things: about 50 wins during the regular season, then a hasty adiosing from the NBA playoffs. You remember--no defense is a bad offense, or something like that. Writes the King:
"After a brief stop with the New York Knicks, Don Nelson ended up in Dallas, where after a couple of losing seasons he turned the Mavericks into a team that won 50 games and lost by the second round of the playoffs every year.
Not counting partial seasons, Nelson has coached in the NBA for 22 years. In 10 of those, his team won 50 or more games and lost in the first or second round of the playoffs. To be fair, I should note that in 1983, when his Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round, the second round was the conference finals.
I think winning 50 games and losing in the first two rounds should become known as Don Nelsoning. Last year two teams Don Nelsoned: the Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs. The Mavericks, who had Don Nelsoned three times in his six full years in Dallas, went to the NBA Finals in their first full year after Nelson stepped aside for Avery Johnson. "
Kaufman refers to the hire by former Warriors great-turned-boss Chris Mullin as "cynical." Dunno if Nellie sees it that way; he's giving up Hawaii for Oakland, after all, which is hardly a trade up. And it's better than nothing, which is what Golden State's been since Nellie left. You can listen for yourself what Nellie has to say for himself at around 9 p.m. C.S.T., when the Warriors hold a press conference to which Golden State fans are being invited in order to cheer their prodigal coach. No, that's not cynical at all. --Robert Wilonsky