Don Nelson


Don Nelson
Don Nelson
Don Nelson in March 2009
No. 44, 20, 19
Forward
Personal information
Date of birth May 15, 1940(1940-05-15)
Place of birth Muskegon, Michigan
Nationality American
High school Rock Island
Listed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight 210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
College Iowa (1959–1962)
NBA Draft 1962 / Round: 3 / Pick: 17th overall
Selected by the Chicago Zephyrs
Pro career 1962–1976
Career history
As player:
1962–1963 Chicago Zephyrs
19631965 Los Angeles Lakers
19651976 Boston Celtics
As coach:
19761987 Milwaukee Bucks
19881995 Golden State Warriors
1995–1996 New York Knicks
19972005 Dallas Mavericks
20062010 Golden State Warriors
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points 10,898 (10.3 ppg)
Rebounds 5,192 (4.9 rpg)
Assists 1,526 (1.4 apg)
Stats at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Donald Arvid Nelson (born May 15, 1940, in Muskegon, Michigan) is a former NBA player and head coach. He coached the Milwaukee Bucks, the New York Knicks, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Golden State Warriors.

An innovator, Nelson is credited with, among other things, inventing the concept of the point forward, a tactic which is frequently employed by teams at every level today. His unique brand of basketball is often referred to as Nellie Ball. He was named one of the Top 10 coaches in NBA history. On April 7, 2010, he passed Lenny Wilkens for first place on the all-time NBA wins list with 1,333 wins.[1] His all-time record is 1,335-1,063 (.557).

Contents

Playing career

After a very successful high school career at Rock Island High School, Nelson graduated from the University of Iowa in 1962 as a two-time All-American averaging 21.1 points and 10.5 rebounds a game. He was drafted 19th overall by the Chicago Zephyrs of the NBA. He played for the Zephyrs one season, and was sold to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1963. After two years with the Lakers, he was signed by the Boston Celtics.

In his first season with Boston, Nelson averaged 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds, helping the Celtics to the 1966 NBA title as one of their role players. Four more championships with Boston followed in 1968, 1969, 1974, and 1976. In Game 7 of the 1969 NBA Finals, against his former team, the Lakers, Nelson converted one of the most famous shots in playoff history — a foul-line jumper which dropped through the basket after hitting the back rim and bouncing several feet straight up. The shot, taken with just over a minute to go in the game and the Celtics clinging to a 103-102 lead, helped secure Boston's 11th NBA title in 13 seasons.

A model of consistency, Nelson would average more than 10 points per game every season between 1968–69 and 1974-75 (before the introduction of the three-point shot). He led the NBA in field-goal percentage in 1974-75. Nelson was coined as one of the best "sixth men" ever to play in the NBA. He was also known for his distinctive one-handed style for shooting free throws. He would place the ball in his shooting hand, lean in almost off-balance and toe the free-throw line with his right foot and his left leg trailing. He would then push the ball toward the basket completely with his right hand while springing with his right knee and lifting the trailing foot in a sort of "hop." This technique helped him to a career 76.5% free-throw shooting percentage.

Nelson retired as a player following the 1975-76 season. His number 19 jersey was retired to the Boston Garden rafters in 1978.

Coaching history

Nelson took over the reins as general manager and head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1976 and began to show what would later become his signature style of wheeling and dealing players. He made his first trade of Swen Nater to the Buffalo Braves and turned the draft pick he received into Marques Johnson, who had a solid career with the Bucks. In 1980, he sent off an underachieving Kent Benson to the Detroit Pistons for Bob Lanier. Perhaps his most publicized deal came before the 1984-85 season when he dealt Johnson, Junior Bridgeman, Harvey Catchings, and cash to the San Diego Clippers for Terry Cummings, Craig Hodges, and Ricky Pierce. And, in 1986, he would deal Alton Lister to the Seattle SuperSonics for Jack Sikma. In the midst of his constant re-toolings, he earned NBA Coach of the Year honors in 1983 and 1985. His Bucks teams in the 1980s were consistently among the NBA's best, but each year they would end up being eliminated in the playoffs by either a Larry Bird-led Boston Celtics team or the Julius Erving-led Philadelphia 76ers.

It was also in Milwaukee where Nelson became known for his unorthodox, innovative basketball philosophy. He was known to have introduced the concept of the point forward - a tactic wherein small forwards are used to direct the offense. In Nelson's tenure with the Bucks, he used 6-5 small forward Paul Pressey for the role. This enabled Nelson to field shooting guards Sidney Moncrief and Craig Hodges or Ricky Pierce at the same time without worrying about who would run the offense. In his offensive half-court sets, he would also put a center who wasn't a threat on offense, like Lister or Randy Breuer, at mid-court instead of near the basket to keep a shot-blocking center like the Utah Jazz's Mark Eaton away from the basket to make him less of a threat on defense. This system created a lot of mismatches and enabled Nelson to lead the Bucks to Central Division championships and playoff berths for most of the 1980s. He would leave Milwaukee after ten seasons, seven with over 50 wins.

After a year's hiatus, Nelson then became Coach and Vice President of the Golden State Warriors, and was named NBA Coach of the Year a third time. In Golden State, he instilled a run-and-gun style of offense. Again using an unconventional lineup which featured three guards (Mitch Richmond, Tim Hardaway and Sarunas Marciulionis) and two forwards (Chris Mullin and the 6-8 Rod Higgins at center), Nelson led the Warriors to many winning seasons and playoff berths despite an under-sized lineup. He continued to retool his lineup and drafted talent such as Chris Webber and Latrell Sprewell. It was during this time that he reached the peak of his fame, due to his style of offense enabling Hardaway, Richmond, and Mullin (also known as Run TMC) to emerge as premier players. After four winning seasons, he left Golden State following a prolonged public dispute with Webber and a 14-31 start.

He was invited to coach the Dream Team II at the 1994 FIBA World Championship in Toronto. He accepted and led them to the Gold Medal.

In 1995, Nelson would begin his stint with the Knicks, which lasted from July 1995 until March 1996. Despite coaching the Knicks to a respectable 34-25 record, Nelson had many personal problems with the players: e.g., he tried to convince management to trade Patrick Ewing in order to be in a position to make an offer to rising free agent Shaquille O'Neal.[2] He also favored a more up-tempo style of offense, sharply contrasting the hard-nosed defensive style of play that the Knicks had employed under Pat Riley.[2]

Nelson was named Head Coach and General Manager of the Dallas Mavericks in 1997, and led them to four consecutive 50-win seasons. The trio of Steve Nash, Michael Finley, and Dirk Nowitzki became the foundation for their dramatic turnaround. In Dallas, Nelson created an offensive powerhouse in which every player could score at any time. However, lacking interior defense - as the front court with Raef LaFrentz, Shawn Bradley and Nowitzki was weak in the paint - they never reached the NBA Finals.

One notable result of Nelson's tenure at the helm of the Mavericks was the introduction of the "Hack-a-Shaq" defense to the NBA.

On March 19, 2005, Nelson stepped down as Dallas' Head Coach, naming Avery Johnson as his successor. Nelson retained his job as Dallas' GM until after the season, when he named his son, Assistant GM Donnie Nelson, as his replacement. The Mavericks reached the NBA Finals in 2006.

On August 29, 2006, the Warriors bought out Mike Montgomery's contract and hired Nelson to take over the team again. By this time, Mullin, a longtime favorite of Nelson's, was the team's general manager. Nelson's Warriors won their final five regular season games and qualified for the 2006-07 playoffs.

Nelson faced his old team, the Mavericks, in the first round of the playoffs. The Mavs had the NBA's best record, and were a trendy pick to win their first NBA title. However, in one of the biggest upsets in NBA playoff history, Nelson coached the 8th-seeded Warriors to victory over the top-seeded Mavericks in six games. The Warriors went on to lose to the Utah Jazz.

A season later, Nelson led the Warriors to their most wins since 1993-94. However, in a Western Conference where all eight playoff teams won 50 games, they missed the playoffs by two games. The next two seasons saw the Warriors plunge back into mediocrity.

On September 23, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, citing numerous sources close to the Warriors, reported that Nelson had decided to resign as head coach.[3] This was later confirmed by the San Francisco Chronicle, which reported that new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber wanted "a young, up-and-coming coach" to help revive the Warriors' fortunes. Longtime assistant Keith Smart succeeded Nelson as coach.[4] Nelson in February 2011 said on Bay Area radio station KNBR that he was fired. "I talked to (Lacob) on the phone before I got fired, and I was really impressed. I was a little surprised with the way things happened, but I think it is for the best for everybody."[5]

Personal

Nelson married Joy Wolfgram at the Oakland Coliseum in 1991. Nelson has five grown children, one of whom, Donnie Nelson, is the general manager of the Dallas Mavericks.

Coaching record

Legend
Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L% Win-loss %
Post season PG Games coached PW Games won PL Games lost PW–L% Win-loss %

Notes

  1. ^ "Nelson sets NBA career victories mark in Warriors' defeat of Wolves'". Associated Press. April 7, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Hindsight, The Knicks And Nelson's Foresight NYT 2 March 2007
  3. ^ Steinmetz, Matt. Don Nelson to resign as Warriors coach. Comcast SportNet Bay Area, 2010-09-23.
  4. ^ Simmons, Rusty. No more Nellieball for the Warriors. San Francisco Chronicle, 2010-09-24.
  5. ^ Simmons, Rusty (February 4, 2011). "Nelson cites Warriors' effort, calls roster flawed". San Francisco Chronicle: p. B-1. Archived from the original on February 6, 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5wI0Ajmzf. ""It was done really professionally," Nelson said. "I talked to (Lacob) on the phone before I got fired, and I was really impressed. I was a little surprised with the way things happened, but I think it is for the best for everybody."" 

Records

On December 29, 2001, Don Nelson became the third coach in NBA history to win 1,000 games, behind Lenny Wilkens and Pat Riley. Nelson won his 1,300th career game on February 21, 2009, joining Wilkens as the only coach to pass this milestone. Don Nelson defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves on April 7, 2010, achieving his 1,333rd career win. He passed Lenny Wilkens for first all-time on the list of the NBA's winningest coaches.

References

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Dušan Ivković
FIBA World Championship
Winning Coach

1994
Succeeded by
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Željko Obradović

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Don Nelson — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Don Nelson Datos personales …   Wikipedia Español

  • Don Nelson — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Nelson. Don Nelson …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Don Nelson — Spielerinformationen Voller Name Dona …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Don Nelson Laramore — (December 22, 1906 – August 9, 1989) was a United States federal judge. Born in Starke County, Indiana, Laramore studied law at the Indiana School of Law and the University of Chicago. He was an official court reporter for the Starke Circuit… …   Wikipedia

  • Don Chaney — No. 12, 42 Guard Personal information Date of birth March 22, 1946(1946 03 22) Place of birth Baton Rouge, Louisiana Nationality Ameri …   Wikipedia

  • Nelson (Familienname) — Nelson ist ein patronymisch gebildeter englischer Familienname mit der Bedeutung „Sohn des Neil“.[1] Bekannte Namensträger Inhaltsverzeichnis A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nelson Oyarzún — Arenas (n. 1943 f. 10 de septiembre de 1978), ex entrenador de fútbol de Ñublense, Universidad de Chile, O Higgins y Deportes Concepción Lota Schwager Murió en Chillán la mañana del 10 de septiembre de 1978 a causa de un cáncer, dejando a su… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Nelson's syndrome — Classification and external resources ICD 10 E24.1 DiseasesDB 8863 …   Wikipedia

  • Nelson (surname) — This article is about the surname Nelson. For other uses, see Nelson (disambiguation). Nelson is a family name. Within the United States, it is ranked as the 39th most common surname of 88799 listed.[1] It is in origin a patronymic meaning son of …   Wikipedia

  • Don Chaney — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Chaney. Donald R. Chaney (né le 22 mars 1946 à Bâton Rouge, Louisiane) est un ancien joueur américain professionnel de basket ball devenu ensuite entraîneur. Biographie Chaney joua en NCAA à l Université de… …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.