Don Nelson Channels His Inner Belichick
But that's not the way it looks. Nelson has grown increasingly short with the media in the past year or so and his pregame press conferences are littered with one-word answers and uncomfortable silences.
One day after the Warriors lost to the Rockets 108-107, a radio host on the team's flagship station opened his program by saying it sure seemed like Nelson's heart wasn't in it anymore.
The long and short of it was that coaching just wasn't doing it for Nellie, now 69 years old.
"You know, we have some issues we're dealing with, but yeah, coaching a kid like (Stephen) Curry is a lot of fun for me," Nelson countered. "And to watch him develop and get better and better. (Anthony) Randolph, the same thing. ... Yeah, I'm very excited about our young guys. I'm having fun. Yes, I'm having fun.
"I've never looked like I'm enjoying myself during a game, if that's what you mean?"
Actually, it isn't. What we're really talking about here is the parts about being an NBA coach that don't necessarily involve coaching – the travel, the grind, the dealing with the media, etc.
"No, I don't care much for this anymore," Nelson said, referring to dealing with the media. "I've been beat up so bad by being honest with the press, I'm going to be the (Patriots coach Bill) Belichick of the NBA. I'd rather talk on the radio where people can actually hear my words than get it misconstrued somehow. It looks different in print sometimes when you say something. The way you say it sometimes you can't identify it in print. I'm more careful. Yes, I'm more careful."
Once upon a time, and even at the beginning of his second stint with the Warriors a few years back, one of Nelson's strengths was dealing with writers, etc. He would engage in banter, share a personal anecdote or two and even go off the record to better explain some of the things he was doing.
Those days seem gone.
"It's really sad," said Nelson. "I don't like doing it but I've been forced to do it, so what can I tell you?"
How about: Why? What happened? What changed? Are people writing untruths or have there been inaccuracies when it comes to Nelson and the Warriors?
"Slanted ... slanted," Nelson said. "It's not that it's not true or inaccurate, it's slanted or taken out of context sometimes, so it looks worse in print or different in print than it was actually meant to be."
So all you can do is believe Nelson when he says he's having fun. Even though it looks like he isn't.
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