Tag: Naismith Hall of Fame

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves

Don Nelson says he got small ball idea from Red Auerbach


Don Nelson will enter the Basketball Hall of Fame as the coach who has won more games than anyone else in NBA history. He will go in as an innovator, a team builder, a guy who colored outside the lines and that worked for him.

One of the things Nelson liked to do was play small and fast — small ball. Run the other guys out of the gym with your athletes and tempo.

Look around the NBA right now and you see the Heat winning a title once they went small with Chris Bosh at center. You see Boston trying to challenge them by going small with Kevin Garnett at center. You see big men who are a little smaller and a lot more mobile being the guys teams covet.

Don Nelson was at the start of that. But he told CSNBayArea.com he got it from legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach when Nelson was a Celtics player (via TrueHoop).

”It all happened in the Celtic practices. What Auerbach would do when it got to midseason and practices were drudgery, was he would play big guys against the small guys and the smalls would always win. You put Bill Russell on the other team and everybody else big, and put the smalls on the other and it wasn’t a close game as long as it was a full-court game. Now half-court you couldn’t do that. But full-court, the smalls always won, so I’m sure that was the start of it.

“I could never understand why small players could never rebound and big players couldn’t dribble. They can. They just don’t do it. But in practice big guys can dribble and do a lot of things. Guys like Magic Johnson proved that – 6-8 point guard – that it could happen if they believe they can do it. So I always asked my small guys to be rebounders and my big guys to handle the ball and dribble and get into the open court and feel comfortable there.

“I think it all started from those practices. Of course, it didn’t hurt that we had John Havlicek on our side in small ball. But the big guys couldn’t get the ball up the court. It was always like 10-2 – small guys always won.”

The old basketball adage that “tall and good beats small and good” is being challenged. Which is good for us as fans — up tempo, slashing teams are a lot more fun to watch than plodding defensive ones.

And we have Nelson to thank for that. And Auerbach.

Jordan, Magic to be presenters at Hall of Fame ceremony

Utah Jazz v Chicago Bulls

Presenters are a ceremonial part of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame induction. They don’t actually do anything, but the ceremony calls for an already enshrined Hall of Famer to stand behind the inductee as he or she speaks about being inducted.

When Phil Knight — the founder of Nike — is enshrined next Friday night Michael Jordan will stand behind him.

When Reggie Miller and Jamaal Wilkes get their turn, Magic Johnson will be behind them.

The official list of presenters is out and you will see Celtics legend Bog Cousy (behind the person accepting for the late Don Barksdale), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (behind Ralph Sampson and Wilkes) and Charles Barkley (behind Miller and Sampson).

I’d say it’s another reason to watch the induction ceremony, except they don’t speak or have any real role. But they will be there. And you can see them.

Reggie Miller, Don Nelson lead Basketball Hall of Fame class

Reggie Miller

I’m going to try — to really, really try — not to turn this into a “we need a separate NBA Hall of Fame” rant. Even though we do.

I don’t want to go there because there are some deserving people getting into the Hall of Fame as part of this year’s class. Reggie Miller, for one. Don Nelson is another (but we knew he was in).

So I’m not going to dwell on the fact that Ralph Sampson is going into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame before Bernard King. I’m not. I’m not going to try and dissect the Hall’s voting logic because every year I can’t find it. No. I ‘m just going to try and let it go.

The Hall of Fame announced its class Monday, and there are a couple no brainers at the top of the list.

Reggie Miller deserves it as one of the best pure shooters the game has ever seen. (Even if he might be the second best player in his family.) Miller led the NBA in three point field goals made in a career, was a five-time All-Star and is maybe the most iconic Pacer of All time. Not to pick on the Hall too much, but how is it he wasn’t even a finalist last year and this year he is in? I miss the logic so often with the Hall decisions.

Is it too much to ask to have Spike Lee do Miller’s Hall of Fame introduction? That would win me back over to the Hall’s side fast.

Don Nelson also deserved to be in as the winnestest coach in NBA history and a great innovator of the game. That was a given.

But now we get into why I think there should be an NBA hall — Ralph Sampson is a member of this year’s class. Sampson was one of the most dominant college players of all time (three time Naismith Award winner) and he was a three time NBA All-Star. But his hall status is based on those college years.

Jamaal Wilkes is another guy who gets in for a college and NBA career combined — he was a force for John Wooden at UCLA and then went on to win four NBA titles and made three NBA All-Star games as a member of the Showtime Lakers. His NBA credentials for the Hall are borderline — and this coming from a big fan of his — but once you add in college he gets the nod.

Still the sweetest corner jumper ever, even if you would never let your kid shoot with that form.

Here are the other inductees:

• Chet Walker, the seven-time All-Star swingman of the Sixers (where he won a ring) and Bulls. This is a good call, look at his similarity numbers and you get Kevin McHale then Rick Barry. Good company.

• Mel Daniels, the two-time MVP of the ABA who was a seven-time All-Star and won three rings in that league. All of those chips came with the Pacers — him and Reggie Miller in the same class make this an Indiana event.

• Phil Knight, the founder of Nike.

• Don Barksdale, one of the African-American pioneers in the sport who won a gold medal in 1948 and spent four years in the NBA (two with Boston).

• Hank Nichols, the coordinator of officials for the NCAA for more than 20 years.

• Katrina McClain, the two-time USA Basketball Female Athlete of the year.

• The All American Redheads, the first professional women’s basketball team.

• Lidia Alexeeva, long time coach of the Soviet Union’s women’s teams.

Don Nelson finally elected to the Hall of Fame

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves

He’s deserved this for a while and it’s finally going to happen.

Don Nelson is going to go into the Hall of Fame, reports CSNBayArea.com.

The announcement will be made official Monday, but Nelson confirmed he got the call Wednesday morning to ESPN.

“It’s a great honor to cap my career,” Nelson said. “I’ve had a great time and a great life coaching basketball. I don’t actually need to be rewarded for anything, but I am very proud and my family is very proud of this award.”

Anyone who tries to equate Nelson with only his final few years in Golden State does not know the history of the man.

A man who happens to be the winningest coach in NBA history — 1,335 wins and a .557 winning percentage. That doesn’t happen by accident.

He was an offensive innovator who shunned conventional wisdom to come up with things like small ball and developing running offenses. He was a master of creating mismatches and exploiting them. While basketball can get to bogged down in coaches focusing on schemes to ugly up the games to get wins, he focused on opening it up and it led to entertaining basketball. He was a three time coach of the year in the NBA, and don’t forget he is also a legendary Celtics player who has his No. 19 hanging in the rafters at the Garden.

Oh, and he invented hack-a-Shaq. We’ll forgive him for that one.

This is a well-deserved honor. Enshrinement for Nelson and the other people elected in this class will be in September.

Hall of Fame nominees announced. Yes, we see you Reggie.


It’s just the first step — and getting past the first step can lead to controversy.

The list of nominees for the 2012 class of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame have been announced. It’s an impressive group of people from all across the hoops spectrum (remember, the Hall of Fame is the entire sport, not just the NBA).

Reggie Miller is back and on the list. One of the greatest sharpshooters the game has ever seen and until Ray Allen passed him last season the NBA’s all-time leader in three pointers made is back. He was on this first list last season but didn’t make it to the list of finalists — which was a mistake. Go ahead and argue that Miller is not a first ballot guy or maybe that he is on the HOF bubble and just misses the cut if you want (I disagree, but there’s an argument there). However, there is no argument that he belongs in the final group, a cut he didn’t make last year.

Also on the first cut this year, is Bulls executive Jerry Kraus, who would have Phil Jackson’s vote to get in even if the two barely speak. Don Nelson, the NBA’s all-time winningest coach is on the list, as is Vlade Divac, the Yugoslavian center who was one of the first big European imports to the NBA.

The rest of the list from North American list are:

Al Attles, John Bach, Dick Bavetta, Maurice Cheeks, Lefty Driesell, Bill Fitch, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Curt Gowdy (broadcaster), Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, former Tom Jernstedt (contributor), Mark Jackson, Bernard King, Dick Motta, Billy Packer (contributor), Rick Pitino, Paul Silas, George Raveling, Mitch Richmond, Ralph Sampson, Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Gene Shue, Jim Valvano, Donnie Walsh (most recently the Knicks GM), Gary Williams, Paul Westphal (as a player), Jamaal Wilkes.

Plenty of worthy people on that list, which will be trimmed down to a list of finalists, then from that list the class will be chosen.

But if I were picking three it would be Miller (and I want Spike Lee to introduce him), Krause and Nelson. Not that I get to pick. In fact, this is the Hall of Fame, so don’t bet on logic.