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Red's Army

Don Nelson’s worst decision ever

Chuck - Red's Army April 7, 2010 Uncategorized 5 Comments

Via ESPN:

"There were two opportunities I probably should have made happen. One
was when we beat the Celtics in the playoffs in Milwaukee [in 1983].
They were going to make a coaching change. I think Bill Fitch was their
coach at the time. After the last game, Red [Auerbach] walked by and
asked me, 'Would you ever consider coaching the Boston Celtics?'

"I
said, 'Red, it would be a dream come true. But the guy's been so good
to me here, I really couldn't leave [Bucks owner] Jim Fitzgerald.' But
looking back as a career move, that's probably something I should have
done at that point. They had a really good championship-caliber team and
that would have solved all the problems if I would have done that. K.C.
Jones got that job and did a really good job and they won a few
championships. Looking back, I was a loyal guy because Jim Fitzgerald
was so good to me, so I don't really regret not going. But as a career
move I probably should have.

I've never been a fan of Don Nelson. He's flat-out over-rated. He builds offensive-minded teams that never accomplish much in the playoffs. He's never met a player he didn't want to trade (including Patrick Ewing). And when he realizes he's destroyed the roster, he walks.

But… that's not to say he couldn't have helped the Celtics twenty-five years ago. Hell, they won with K.C. Jones, the Mike Brown of the 80s.

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  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f5d5008970c Jester00

    put this in top ten lines in Redsarmy history
    Hell, they won with K.C. Jones, the Mike Brown of the 80s.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f60396b970c ThatGuyOverTheOcean

    As bad as Nelson is, I don’t think he would have overplayed Bird, McHale, Parish, and especially DJ like Jones did.

  • Lee in Oregon

    Nellie would have found a way to screw it up. Nellie always finds a way to screw it up. How is that fat old idiot still working all these years later? He’s never won ANYTHING as a coach!

  • Pharisee

    The question is, if he does not get his record-breaking , fame-making win with his warriors, would he come back for a whole other year, and in doing so screw his team once more? Knowing him, He would. How sad.

  • Perry

    Great post.
    Let’s hope Mike Brown doesn’t reap the same success that KC had.
    I actually thought KC’s quiet demeanor was a perfect fit after Fitch. Up until Chris Ford stepped aside Red was still the dominate force of the franchise. In the 80’s Bird was the equivalent of a player coach anyway, so KC did what he was told, pushed the right buttons, and never pushed too hard.
    No surprise Tommy burned out early. He was the polar opposite. Hard nosed, in your face. or should I say ‘red faced’. I recall those hissy fits quite well.
    As for Nellie, I give him credit for longevity and his offensive x/o prowess, but his system cannot win titles.