Don Nelson talks Monta Ellis, Billy Owens, etc.

August 30, 2012, 2:47 pm
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OAKLAND -- Don Nelson is back in the Bay Area this week inadvance of his induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame on Sept. 7. Earlier thisweek, Nelson met with a group of writers over lunch, and later in the day hetaped an hour-long segment for Chronicle Live, which will air next Thursday the day before his induction.Nelson, 72, who had two stints coaching the Warriors, is theNBAs all-time winningest coach. Here are some snippets of what hesaid:On the Warriors trading Monta Ellis to the Buckslast season:Nelson: I really like what theyve done. As muchas I love Monta I thought he was just because of his size and not his ability,a 6-3 two guard its very hard to win with a small two guards in our league.When I first had him, I tried to get him to think more like a point guard ifhe could ever be a point guard.He did have the ability to pass. He does have that. Hesdoing more of that now. But you know, a player has to be willing to see thatand to do those things. His approach when he was younger was a like a lot ofguys. Hes not ready to do that. So he was going to be what he was. But nowhes more of an all-around player than Ive seen out of him.He is passing more and seeing players. Hes a good teammatenow. When he was young he was just he thought he was so dominant that hecould do all these things that we witnessed that he can do. He can get you 35(points) in a game and thats what he wanted to do. Now that hes maturing,hes a better basketball player.On the Mitch Richmond-for-Billy Owens trade:Nelson: I remember when I said, which is true, itwas the worst trade I ever made -- Mitch Richmond for Billy Owens. Ive saidit more than once. I hurt Billys feelings and I didnt know it. I should haveknown it but I didnt. He finally came to me one time and we sat down andtalked about that. I probably shouldnt have said that.On being a players coach and allowing his playersmore freedom than most coaches: Nelson: Its just the importance of every game isso much greater now than when I first broke in. So much pressure to win, win,win. Coaches want more control over the game, stay in game. Once in a while itdoesnt work out, you get blown out. I always tried to train my players to dothat on the floor train them in practice so I didnt have to do that in thegames.Ive over-coached in my career as well, though, especiallywhen I didnt have a good point guard. Then you have to do more of it if youdont have the leadership on your team. My style would be more like theinternational rules where the coach doesnt have as much control. You cantcall timeout every two mistakes. Its harder to do that stuff. I think thoseare good things for the game. Itsbit different game now. There are only a couple of guys who play like Ilike to play that are left in the game.On finally making it into the Hall ofFame:Nelson: I kind of always felt I was undeservingto be there. So when I kept getting voted down three or four times I justdidnt think Id make it. And I still feel unworthy, really, so somebody votedfor me, I guess.But there are so many guys more deserving than me. AlAttles. Why isnt he in? Guys like (Bill) Fitch and (Dick) Motta why arentthey in there? So that I made it doesnt seem quite right but I guess thereare a lot of things that arent quite right.

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