Skip to main content

“You're not doing a good job here. You're too negative” How Šarunas Marčiulionis changed Don Nelson

Dirk-Nowitzki-Don-Nelson-Steve-Nash

Don Nelson is still no.1 on the all-time wins list in NBA history as a coach. Nelly racked up 1335 wins as a coach with only four teams – the Bucks, Warriors, Knicks, and Mavericks. What’s even more impressive he didn’t have JordanLeBron, or Kobe in any of those teams. The best players he ever coached?

“Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash.”

Don Nelson

Interestingly enough, none of those to Hall of Famers aren’t the player Nelson said he learned most from. Out of all the players he coached, Nelson pointed out Šarūnas Marčiulionis as that player. After coaching Marčulionis in Golden State, Nelly decided to relax and change the way he approached coaching. That’s how Run TMC happened. Nelly told the team that he would call no plays as long as they shared the ball and played the right way.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

“Probably something guys wouldn’t do now. Middle of season, playing well, he [Nelson] would just walk to the chalkboard and put up 120 and circle it. ‘Let’s go 120 tonight and let’s get out of here.‘ No scouting report, no defense. That was nice, that’s a cool way to come and play the game.”

Chris Mullin, The Habershow Podcast

Nelson is also a part of the biggest ‘what if’ in NBA history, and I’m not talking about trying to trade Patrick Ewing out of NYC to try and get Shaq in the draft. (That’s why he was in New York for only one year, or as Nelson would say, “for a cup of coffee”).

After Red McCombs bought the Spurs in 1992, he fired the entire staff, including the lead assistant Gregg Popovich. Nelson hired Pop as an assistant in Golden State. In ’94, Pop returned to the Spurs as the general manager and tried to bring Nelson as the head coach with him. If the Warriors had let Nelson go, we might’ve never seen Greg Popovich as the head coach of an NBA team.

Don Nelson is a basketball romantic. The original pioneer of small ball in the NBA. When Red Auerbach called him to take over the Celtics, he refused because he had given the Bucks owner, Jim Fitzgerald, his word. But Nelly didn’t refuse a sure championship just out of principle. By his own admission, Nelson liked coaching teams at the bottom, rebuilding the organization, and playing an attractive style the fans loved.

He did that for 31 years, winning 1335 games and the hearts and minds of players and fans all around the NBA.

JJ Redick explains why Eric Gordon could've helped Phoenix Suns in the playoffs

JJ Redick explains why Eric Gordon could've helped Phoenix Suns in the playoffs

The Phoenix Suns fans wanted Eric Gordon but the front office panned their wishes.

LeBron James names three players he'd team up with in a 2v2 vs Jordan and Pippen

LeBron James names three players he'd team in a 2v2 vs Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen

History showcases LeBron knows how to adjust his role to accommodate his teammates.

Damian Lillard defends Chris Paul from Pat Beverley’s attacks

Damian Lillard defends Chris Paul from Pat Beverley’s attacks: What CP do to you?

Since the Suns went down in Game 7, Patrick Beverley has attacked Chris Paul for his poor performance. Damian Lillard chimed in and defended CP3.

Doncic dominated the Suns in a way no player ever has in the postseason

Luka Doncic dominated the Phoenix Suns in a way no player ever has in the NBA postseason

Doncic beat the Suns top players in their best skill, showcasing how talented he is despite being just 23 years old.

How Ime Udoka’s confidence in the Boston Celtics role players helped them beat the Milwaukee Bucks

"I told him let it fly” - How Ime Udoka’s confidence in the Boston Celtics role players helped them beat the Milwaukee Bucks

Udoka never lost faith in any of his players, and his encouragement to Grant Williams ended up being the difference in the series between the Celtics and Bucks

Kevin Love and Dwayne Wade confirm that LeBron James is the cheapest guy in the NBA

Kevin Love and Dwyane Wade confirmed that LeBron James is the cheapest guy in the NBA

Kevin Love and Dwyane Wade are a puzzled at how cheap LeBron James is.

We're entering the Luka Doncic-Jayson Tatum era, and Jimmy Butler and Steph Curry hope to postpone the invetable

We are entering the Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum era, and Steph Curry and Jimmy Butler hope to postpone the inevitable

The performances of Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum tell us they are going to be good for a very long time. Meanwhile, Steph Curry and Jimmy Butler are going to do everything to postpone the young stars' ascension to superstardom

anthony-edwards-chris-paul-min

Anthony Edwards bashes the Suns after Game 7: "They were talking so much sh*t. This is a disgrace!"

LeBron also warned the Suns to pipe down last year: "Stay humble.. You was at home a year and a half ago. Now you wanna pop off."