Great NBA “What-If” Line Ups: A Tribute To Don Nelson

December 18th, 2010 by Jonathan Tjarks Leave a reply »
Don Nelson's basketball philosophy challenged several fundamental assumptions about the game.

He didn't just coach the team; he changed the DNA of the entire franchise.  He took his unique brand of "Nellie-ball" around the league for over 30 years, with stops in Milwaukee, Golden State (twice), New York and Dallas.

The all-time leader in wins for an NBA coach, he is not in the Basketball Hall of Fame, mainly because he never actually won a championship.  

But what he understood, and what many of the voters did not, is that he was probably never going to win a championship, no matter what he did.

His formative basketball experience came as a player on the tail-end of the Boston Celtics' dynasty.  

Nelson won five championships while learning under the feet of legendary coach Red Auerbach, and became one of the first "sixth men", a player with the talent to be a starter who was sent to the bench so that he could generate points against the opponent's reserves.

With one minute left in Game 7 of the 1969 NBA Finals, he hit a jumper from the top of the key which clinched Boston's 11th NBA title in 13 ...

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