Nelson Sizing Up Summer League?

March 24, 2010, 4:24 am
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Over the past two years, Warriors coach Don Nelson has done less and less coaching. So, why all of a sudden does he want to do more?

Last season, Nelson turned over the defense to assistant coach Keith Smart. Earlier this year, he acknowledged to not doing much "coaching" of the players and that instead he "coaches the coaches."

He often rolls early from home shoot-arounds and a handful of times he's relinquished his game-coaching duties to Smart, informing the team earlier in the day of his intent. He's allowed assistant coach Scott Roth to diagram last-second plays with games on the line.

Hes missed 10 games this season for health reasons.

Maybe he wants to make up for lost time. How else can you explain Nelson lobbying to coach the Warriors in the Las Vegas summer league come July?

Yeah, really.

"Oh, yeah," Nelson responded when asked about the D-League callups learning new positions. "I'm even thinking about coaching the summer league this year just so I can put them in those (point) situations -- where they're used to it going into training camp next year."

Hmmm. This is the same Nelson who has been criticized for listlessness and general malaise? The same Nelson that a good chunk of Warriors fans would like to see not come back next season, thank you?

Apparently so. But has he ever done it before?

"No," Nelson said. "I don't think I ever have coached a summer league game."

So, why now? Why now, at almost 70, does Nelson take a sudden interest in the progress of some young players he never heard of four months ago? Never mind Nelson referring to the summer league as being in "L.A."

Who knows? Maybe it has something to do with the all-time wins mark, the one that doesn't look like it's going to be reached by the end of the season. Or maybe it has something to do with owner Chris Cohan announcing his intention to sell.

Or maybe, plain and simple, in the twilight of his career, Nelsons gotten a second wind. Maybe hes rediscovered his love of the game. Maybe hes sincerely re-energized.

Like I said, who knows? Just wondering.

By the way, Nelson does know those summer league wins arent going to count toward Lenny Wilkens record, doesnt he?
-- Matt Steinmetz