Don Nelson Rumors
The NBA’s all-time winningest coach sounded relaxed from his Maui residence. Don Nelson also sounded eager for San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to eclipse his league record among head coaches for most all-time wins. “I can’t wait until he gets that,” Nelson told USA TODAY Sports. “That will be a great day for me.”
Popovich also appears within striking distance of breaking Nelson’s record. While Nelson (1,335) and Lenny Wilkens (1,332) stand in first and second place among NBA coaches for most all-time wins, Popovich needs 48 more wins to top Nelson. With the Spurs (11-10) in 10th place in the Western Conference, how their mix of veterans and young players perform will determine both San Antonio’s playoff chances and if Popovich can further cement himself in the NBA record books. It also depends on how much longer Popovich wants to coach beyond this season after turning 72 last week. “He’ll get that after this year and one more probably,” Nelson said. “I hope he sticks around to get that record. I want him to have it.”
Already from the very first game, you had a chance to play for coach Don Nelson. How big influence did he have on your style of play? Marquis Daniels: Coach Nelson showed me that he believed in me and gave me a chance to show I belonged in the NBA. He allowed me to play numerous positions as well as showed me how to be effective on both ends of the court.
The winningest coach in NBA history was thrilled to hear the news that Steve Nash had been hired as coach of the Brooklyn Nets. And while predicting greatness is a dangerous thing, Don Nelson said that the former Mavericks’ point guard has a great advantage working in his favor. “He’s got a good team,” Nelson said Friday from his home in Hawaii. “And that usually makes you a good coach.”
“I’m not surprised,” Nelson said of Nash starting a career in coaching. “He’s always had the brain of a coach. The head coach was always full of confidence whenever he was on the floor running the team.”
“I haven’t paid that close attention to their (the Nets’) situation, but I know they have Durant,” Nelson said. “And anytime you hire a guy into that situation, expectations are going to be high. When you’re coming into a rebuilding team, you just have to get better or you get fired. “In this situation, the expectations are going to be high, for sure.”
Last year’s selection for Coach of the Year, Mike Budenholzer of the Milwaukee Bucks, also was nominated again, as was Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse and Thunder coach Billy Donovan. Budenholzer would tie Pat Riley, Gregg Popovich and Don Nelson as the only coaches to have won the award three different times with another victory.