OAKLAND -- Don Nelson is back in the Bay Area this week inadvance of his induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame on Sept. 7. On Tuesday,Nelson met with a group of writers over lunch, and later in the day he taped anhour-long segment for Chronicle Live, which will air next Thursday the daybefore his induction.Nelson, 72, who had two stints coaching the Warriors, is theNBAs all-time winningest coach. He said a lot of good stuff in the course ofthe day. Here are some things that caught my ear:On never winning an NBA championship as acoach:Nelson: Part of that was my own doing. I had anopportunity when I was with the Milwaukee Bucks -- after we swept the Celtics(1983). After that last game, (Boston president Red) Auerbach we were walkingin the arena together and he said: Would you ever think about coaching theCeltics? As a career move, I should have jumped all over it.I was on a handshake, a year-to-year handshake, with (Warriorsco-owner) Jim Fitzgerald. I just said I couldnt do it because Jim Fitzgeraldwas just so good to me. They won how many championships after that?But I stayed and coached. But it was void of championships.So part of it was my own doing. The other part was I enjoyed taking over badteams and making good ones out of them. I enjoyed building something thatwasnt very attractive and making it attractive . You get a lot of losses doingthat, but I enjoyed it.On where the idea of small-ball camefrom:Nelson: It all happened in the Celtic practices.What Auerbach would do when it got to midseason and practices were drudgery,was he would play big guys against the small guys and the smalls would alwayswin. You put Bill Russell on the other team and everybody else big, and put thesmalls on the other and it wasnt a close game as long as it was a full-courtgame. Now half-court you couldnt do that. But full-court, the smalls alwayswon, so Im sure that was the start of it.I could never understand why small players could neverrebound and big players couldnt dribble. They can. They just dont do it. Butin practice big guys can dribble and do a lot of things. Guys like MagicJohnson proved that 6-8 point guard that it could happen if they believethey can do it. So I always asked my small guys to be rebounders and my bigguys to handle the ball and dribble and get into the open court and feelcomfortable there.I think it all started from those practices. Of course, itdidnt hurt that we had John Havlicek on our side in small ball. But the bigguys couldnt get the ball up the court. It was always like 10-2 small guysalways won.On changing his style of coaching in the1980s:Nelson: I was verbally abusive to my players onthe floor too much. You can do that in private and at halftime. You have to dothat as a coach, the discipline and stuff like that. But I was verbally tooabrasive on the floor, I thought. And I had to change that be more like LennyWilkens, a coach I really respected. And I thought I was. I thought that was agood move.More on that style change: Nelson: I thought a positive change in mycoaching career was when I was coaching (former Warrior) Sarunas (Marciulionis)and I was so hard on him because he kept making the same mistake over and overand over.I just didnt allow my players to make the same mistakeover and over and over, and he was so used to playing a certain way, and he wasso gifted physically that he could do all these things. But he couldnt do thatin the NBA.When he kept doing it, I kept getting on him harder andharder and I kind of saw myself watching film what I was turning into. I decidedit would be a good idea to stop doing that and have a different approach. And Istarted to not be as hard on my players. Even though they were fine with it Sarunas wasnt, of course, I was too hard on him. But as long as you werewinning and everything was that good way, they accepted it whatever the coachwas.Bobby Knights players loved him. They still do. But Ithought it was good I made a change at that point.
The Draymond Green to Steph Curry to Kevin Durant lob resulted in "Assist of the Year" at the first-ever NBA Awards show on Monday night.
With 9:25 remaining in the third quarter against the Pacers on Dec. 5, Zaza Pachulia won a jump ball (against Paul George) in the backcourt.
Draymond threw a fullcourt football pass to Curry, who tracked the ball like a wide receiver on a go-route.
As he caught the ball inside the free throw line, he flipped it behind his head to a charging Durant, who guided the ball towards the rim with his left hand before flushing it with both hands.
Oracle Arena went nuts as the Warriors took an 88-56 lead.
In that same game, Klay Thompson racked up 60 points in 29 minutes.
Golden State beat Indiana 120-83 to improve to 12-2.
The Warriors recorded 45 assists, the second highest output of the season (47 against the Lakers on Nov. 23).
Nikola Jokic and Chris Paul were also nominated for the award, which was voted on by the fans.
Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller
Andre Iguodala spent much of the season doing whatever he could to fight off any momentum that might result in him being named Sixth Man of the Year in the NBA.
The Warriors forward need not have worried, as the award once again went to a scorer.
Rockets guard Eric Gordon won the balloting, beating out Houston teammate Lou Williams and Iguodala.
Iguodala averaged only 7.6 points per game, but shot a career-high 52.8 percent from the field and is widely considered the league’s No. 1 defender off the bench.