Don Nelson has the most wins in NBA coaching history with 1,335, yet has zero NBA Finals wins.Thus, we can say with confidence that Nelsons induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame is a tribute to his body of work, even though he becomes the first coach never to have either won a championship or taken his team to a title gamegames.This is in and of itself a remarkable achievement, then, as Nelson has always been among the most difficult of coaches to understand. He was a high priest of orthodoxy early in his coaching career in Milwaukee, but became known more as a master tinkerer later on. He won more games than anyone but was defined in large part by his inability to clear the last two hurdles. He is admired for his creativity, yet derided for his eccentricity.In short, he is going to be one of the most debated inductees in the history of the Hall. Not because he doesnt have a perfectly good case to be inducted, but because his case is so different than everyone elses.Halls of fame can often be a strange mixture of statistics and politics, and Nelson had been a finalist often in the past. But while he won often as a player with the Russell Celtics (Nelson was a bruising power forward at the back end of the Boston dynasty), he wasnt a Hall of Famer in uniform. And as a coach, his best work was probably his early work with the Milwaukee Bucks of the early 80s, a team that could never quite navigate around Boston or Philadelphia.Indeed, the fact that he had to wait as long as he has suggests that there was fevered debate inside the room over a series of years about his Hall-worthiness. Having the most wins is a nice bauble, but his credentials were made by the early 2000s.Thirty-one years of coaching has its own metric tonnage, and in three different cities over three different decades, he took 18 teams to the postseason, eventually passing Lenny Wilkens as the coach with the most regular season victories. Wilkens edges him when you throw in postseason wins, in case youre wondering.Nelsons inclusion, then, will create a good deal of debate between now and the actual date he is installed. He changes the template by which future coaches are evaluated, and while he is not unworthy, he changes the debate about the nature of Hall of Fame coaches. Indeed, the fact that this is the Basketball Hall of Fame, and not the NBA Hall of Fame, makes it even more confusing down the road.Nevertheless, his plaque will shine just like the rest, and he has made the Hall safer for innovators and outside-the-box thinkers (Tex Winter's induction in 2011 comes immediately to mind as another mold-breaker) whose resumes may not otherwise be traditionally complete. If that is his true legacy, then his admission serves a greater purpose for the game.
SAN FRANCISCO -- On a cool Tuesday by the bay, the Warriors celebrated The House Being Built On The Sweat And Adoration Of Stephen Curry. And it was quite the spectacle, from the church choir warming festivities to the heavy-equipment cranes performing a synchronized dance routine.
After nearly five years of visualizing and planning and plotting and adjusting -- and, above all, turning around a once-hapless NBA franchise -- the Warriors successfully navigated the maze of litigation, coming out reaching for hard hats and shovels.
Construction on what officially will be known as Chase Center, built at a cost upward of $1 billion, can commence because there are no further legal hurdles to clear. The Warriors moved from Philadelphia to San Francisco in 1962, and then to Oakland in 1971, and now they’re packing up and crossing the bridge back to San Francisco.
How did Warriors CEO Joe Lacob and co-owner Peter Guber, who completed the purchase of the team in November 2010, accomplish such an enormous feat?
They planned early. They hired in 2011 a polished dealmaker in president/COO Rick Welts. They were unfailingly optimistic and persistent and adaptable. They listened. They made concessions. They would not and could not, ever, give up.
It’s basically the same strategy that helped them land Kevin Durant, who was the only player at the ceremony.
But there are two more factors that absolutely were critical. One, Lacob and Guber asked for no public money. And, two, they steadily improved their product.
Which brings us back to Curry. The quest for a new building benefitted mightily from the new owners inheriting Curry, who in revolutionizing the sport also revived a dormant franchise. He is the primary reason for the newly robust state of the Warriors, who followed Curry to their first championship in 40 years.
“That gave us tremendous momentum,” Guber acknowledged after the nearly two-hour ceremony in Mission Bay. “It gave us tremendous market awareness. It gave us the strength to know we could hit our numbers. It gave us the strength to know that the San Francisco Bay Area was getting a team that wasn’t a flash in the pan, but one that was built to sustain itself.”
Suddenly, the Warriors were the hottest team in California, no matter the sport. Try walking a block in the Bay Area during working hours without seeing someone rocking Warriors gear. Popularity raises the profile and also has influence.
If the Warriors choose to retain the name “Golden State,” instead of reclaiming the designation “San Francisco” Warriors, as they were known from 1962 to 1971, that also could be traced back to rise of Curry and his ability to lift his teammates and, by extension, the entire region.
Lacob said Tuesday that there’s a good chance the Warriors retain the name “Golden State,” echoing comments made by Welts on the CSN Warriors Insider Podcast of Jan. 5. The reasoning, according to the Warriors, is that the name has become widely recognized and, now, synonymous with success -- much as the former Boston, now New England, Patriots of the NFL.
“We are the Golden State Warriors,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s not up to me, but I don’t want it to change. It’s a unique name; it’s the only one like it in the league. I would like to see that remain. I fully believe we are still the Bay Area’s team, no matter whether we’re playing in Oakland or San Jose or San Francisco.”
There was much joy in the room, particularly on stage, Tuesday afternoon. Along with Lacob, Guber, Welts, Kerr and Durant were San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Chase bank executive Thasunda Duckett. All seven had complimentary things to say, with Durant even facing an artists’ rendering of Chase Center and saying “it’ll be fun playing in there.”
Curry was not attendance Tuesday, though he has appeared a previous gatherings regarding the new building.
Chase Center, covering 11 acres, is scheduled to open in the summer of 2019, two years behind the original projections stated by Lacob and Guber back in 2012, long before they secured naming rights. From multiple lawsuits to a major site change to more lawsuits, the road to Groundbreaking Day was fraught with challenges.
The organization overcame them all, with a crucial assist from the point guard.
LOS ANGELES — Chris Paul will undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
The Clippers said Tuesday that their All-Star guard will continue to undergo treatment and evaluation by the club's medical staff.
Paul was injured on a first-half play involving Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook in Monday night's victory over the Thunder. Paul didn't return in the second half.
The Clippers are 26-9 in 36 games with Paul in the lineup this season. He is averaging 17.5 points, 9.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds, and leads the NBA with 2.25 steals per game.