The Golden State Warriors and Head Coach Don Nelson have reached a new contractual agreement, it was announced today by Warriors’ President Robert Rowell. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.
Nelson, 67, returned to Golden State for his second stint as the team’s head coach prior to the 2006-07 season, leading the Warriors to a 42-40 record, a second place finish in the Pacific Division and their first trip to the NBA Playoffs in 13 years. Additionally, Nelson guided Golden State to a First Round triumph over the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks, marking the first time that a #8 seed had defeated a #1 seed in a seven-game series.
“We think Don is a great coach,” said Rowell. “His style has always been well accepted by players and is a natural fit for our team. I know that everyone is anxious and looking forward to the exciting, successful brand of basketball that he will once again orchestrate for our team and our fans.”
“I’m really excited about the beginning of training camp in a couple of weeks,” said Nelson. “I can’t wait to get back in the gym, back to work and watch this team continue to grow. I’m optimistic that we can capitalize on some of our momentum from last season and build on that in 2007-08.”
Last season, Golden State ranked second in the NBA in points per game (106.5 ppg) and led the NBA in fast-break points per game (19.2 ppg), while also ranking first in steals per game (9.15 spg) and points off turnovers (21.2 ppg). Following a mid-season, eight-player trade with Indiana, Nelson’s squad posted a 23-20 record that included a 16-5 mark over the final 21 games of the season – the only 21 games following the trade in which all of his rotation players were healthy. That 16-5 record, which was the best record in the NBA from March 5 through the end of the season, was highlighted by a 9-1 record over the final 10 games of the campaign. Over those final 10 games, Nelson’s “small-ball” lineup, which featured no starter over 6-9 in height, averaged 117.4 points per game.
Entering his 29th season as an NBA head coach in 2007-08, Nelson is the second-winningest coach in NBA history (1,232), trailing only Lenny Wilkens (1,332). He also ranks 20th on the all-time winning percentage list for NBA coaches (.572), having compiled an overall 1,232-920 record in 2,152 regular-season games over a span of 28 years. Only Wilkens has coached more NBA games (2,487).
Nelson, who has led his teams to 18 playoff appearances, is tied for ninth on the NBA’s all-time playoff winning list (75). He was named one of the top 10 coaches in NBA history during the league’s 50th anniversary season in 1997 (selected by a panel of former coaches, players and media).