12 years. Never mind being the winningest Team not to make the Playoffs last year a drought of that callibre was hard to accept for our loyal fanbase. Who's to know that with a couple of different drafting decisions the Warriors could have been back amongst the Playoff elite. Alas because of GM's like Dave Twardzik and Garry St Jean hiring these horrible 11 coaches (Rick Adelman the exception) the Dubs and their fanbase suffered a long lasting playoff drought that haunts the franchise to this day. In between the time that Nellie stepped down in the '94-'95 season until the heartbreaking '05-'06 disaster, there were many, many, many coaches that have come and gone. What's a common characteristic of losing franchises? The hiring and firing of many coaches. Without further ado, let's take a trip down memory lane and revisit the years between the Nelson sandwich.
If you haven't already, check out Part 1 and Part 2. This last Dirty Dozen article completes the trilogy of futility, years 9-12, season 2002-2003 through 2005-2006, from Muss to Monty
2002-2003 (Record: 38-44)
Coach: Eric Musselman
Musselman was the best coach during this era and thats saying a lot. Right before his famous DUI arrest during his stint in Sacramento Musselman was given his first coaching position wiith the Warriors. His job improve a 21 win team the year before and take it to the brink of the Playoffs. He did just that. Even after a 4-11 start Arenas and Richardson were wooing the fans Richardson more so with his Slam Dunk Contest victory.. Arenas also won most Improved player and the Warriors were 30-30 making a run at the Playoff berth. Yet being the Warriors they went 8-22 the rest of the way and went 38-44.
Musselman should have won Coach of the year but finished second because of his high octane offense that ranked 2nd in points scored at 102.4 per game. Unforunately it was the last we were to see of Arenas and Jamison Arenas went to Washington while Jamison was traded to Dallas. Funnily enough after he was traded Jamison never missed the Playoffs. Yet even so Things were finally looking up for this franchise. A 5 game win improvement in the next year with the maturation of our young studs was going to put us back in the promised land...
2003-2004 (Record: 37-45)
Coach: Eric Musselman
Considering the constant injuries a 14-13 start was welcomed even though eventually it fell apart. Musselman still guided this Franchise to 37 wins but because he clashed with some of the players and management, he was shown the door despite being responsible for the amazing turnaround.
There were bright spots all around though. Richardson hit 18.7 PPG and was developing into a young talent. Dampier was in a contract season and played well enough to earn a large contract in the upcoming offseason. What's was possibly most impressive is that the Golden State Warriors went 27-14 at home (nevermind the 10-31 on the road). The were protecting their home floor and the fans were loving it at the rocking Arena.
So out went Muss, and in came a new regime. One was a former player and the other, a popular and incredibly successful college coach
2004-2005 (Record: 34-48)
Coach: Mike Montgomery
Oh boy what an ugly year Chris Mullin took over as Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Golden State Warriors and Mike Montgomery was hired as coach. The team was in a horrible going 16-38 before Mullin made his best trade as General Manager of the Warriors. He traded Dale Davis and Speedy Claxton for Baron Davis. The team finished 18-10 and rolled off a 14-4 finish leading to perhaps the first real season of hope. For once the Lakers didn't have a better record then us as we went 34-48.
Baron Davis won back-to-back NBA Player of the Week awards, a feat accomplished by only 7 other players. TMurph averaged another double double, JRich led the team in scoring, and the Warriors set a franchise attendance record averaging 16,350 fans per game.
Oh great things were going to come next year. We would have an invite to that thing they call the playoffs. Our season wouldn't end after 82 games. We could take that permanent "Gone Fishing" sign down from the entrance to the Arena. It was all taking shape so perfectly...
2005-2006 (Record: 34-48)
Coach: Mike Montgomery
This was the year. The national media predicted the Warriors in the playoffs. The national media predicted the Warriors in the playoffs. The national media predicted the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs. In fact during the new year when the Warriors were 17-14 they actually looked good making their promise. Unforunately their demise happenned in the doom and gloom of January and February when Baron Davis got injured and the Warriors won just 4 times out of 13 games finishing with a identical 34-48 record. The excuses were laid out It wasn't any one player's fault, it wasn't all the coaches' fault. Things didn't click blah blah blah but eventually led to Montgomery's firing and Nellieball we now know off
Even after writing this I feel all dirty. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. I'm going to need a little Nelson to wash the taste out of my mouth.
Hope you enjoyed this "wonderful" trip down memory lane. Knowing the struggles and where we've been will only make this season more exciting and fun to be a part of.
To recap, the overall record after the last playoffs season is 332-620 (0.349 winning percentage). Here's a breakdown of the 12 years of "interim" coaches:
Bob Lanier, Rick Adelman x 2, PJ Carlesimo x 2, Garry St. Jean, Dave Cowens, Brian Winters, Eric Musselman x 2, and Mike Montgomery x 2.
In other words and counting the time he was with Golden State before and after these two seasons Nelson has won 367 games not including the Playoffs. So next time I or anyone else complain about Nelson just rememember the dirty dozen era