Sunday, June 22, 2008

2007-2008 Irish Warriors report card: Don Nelson

Nelson. A 1,000+ winning coach who has the magic of turning around less then fortunate Franchises see the Dallas Mavericks or last season where I thought he has a more valid case of being coach of the year then Sam Mitchell. Yet despite a much better year adding 6 wins I don’t think he did as good a job. That said, he did a solid job. I don’t know how many coaches could squeeze 48 wins out of this roster. I thought they’d get 42 or 43 wins and miss the playoffs. I wasn’t sold on the hype, so Nellie gets credit for making the Warriors practically a 15-win team. In many cases the assistant coaches like Keith Smart or Larry Riley seemed to be the case for the Locker room not falling apart

• 48-34 record
• Nurtured Ellis into a productive force despite his obvious flaws. Though Nellie believes Monta’s brightest future is at PG, he didn’t stubbornly stick to that and went with a small backcourt. Turning Monta loose was at SG was key to the team’s success
• Same thing applies for Biedrins. Nellie would much rather a center who can shoot from outside. But he, instead, milked Biedrins for what he could bring. He probably shouldn’t get kudos for that, as that is what coaches do. But with Nellie’s judgemental coaching style, its worth mentioning
• Gave responsibility to Keith Smart, presumably the next head coach. Smart ran practices, led the huddle during timeouts, addressed the team in the locker room after games, etc. It is important that the players see Smart as head coach when he does take over, and Nellie helped make sure that happened by letting Smart spend some time in the big chair.

Posing for the swimsuit issue gets you nowhere!

• Ran Baron and Jackson into the ground (and tried to run Monta in the ground) because of his lack of faith in reserves. Justified or not, you can’t play 82 games with seven players.
•He ruined a lot of players confidence, which is counterproductive to the task at hand. His irregular rotation and sharpe tongue didn’t bring out the most in everyone - namely Harrington, Barnes, Pietrus and Azubuike.
•Failed to get rookies of the future much-needed playing time, which means they’ll still be green next year (not so much B-Wright), just like Kelenna and Patrick were still raw this year. It’s hard to believe Belinelli and Watson couldn’t give anything if given some decent playing time.

One argument is that the Warriors won 48 games and that is a major plus. But another argument is that they misses the playoffs by a game because they couldn’t beat a suspect Denver team at home. Nellie is a major reason for both.

Overall Grade: B+

Irish Warriors Grade Archive

Chris Mullin C+

Kelenna Azubuike C-

Matt Barnes D-

Marco Bellinelli D+

Andris Biedrins A-

Austin Croshere

Baron Davis B-

Monta Ellis A+

Al Harrington C-

Stephen Jackson B+

Patrick O Bryant F

Kosta Perovic Incomplete

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