Warriors

Ever wonder how Don Nelson came up with 'Nellie Ball' with Warriors?

Ever wonder how Don Nelson came up with 'Nellie Ball' with Warriors?

Editor's note: Twice a week during this sports hiatus, we'll answer questions that Bay Area sports fans long have debated in "Ever Wonder?"  This installment: Where did Don Nelson's 'Nellie Ball' offensive strategy come from?

Some of the most successful teams in Warriors history had one big thing in common: “Nellie Ball.”

The offensive fast-paced run-and-gun offense was developed by legendary head coach Don Nelson. He wanted to implement this way of play to speed up the pace of the game, after spending hours wanting to learn anything and everything about the game of basketball.

“It was amazing to listen to him talk basketball,” NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors analyst Garry St. Jean said.

Nelson learned from the best in Red Auerbach, who coached Nelson as a player and who loved this brand of basketball. He would be pestered by Nelson in the forms of questions and quandaries in what would ultimately turn into a “dictionary” of basketball, as Nelson explained in a 2016 article on The Players' Tribune.

When it was Nellie’s time to coach, he noticed he had a lot of smaller, great pieces to work with. That meant he was able to have his best players on the court all at the same time -- all while the squad was in the best shape across the league. 

And nobody could figure it out.

But that’s why he ultimately became the NBA’s all-time winningest coach, with 1,335 wins over 31 seasons.

Check out the entire story in the video atop this page.

More from "Ever Wonder"

Eight things Warriors must do to return to NBA championship contention

Eight things Warriors must do to return to NBA championship contention

Until the current NBA season is completed -- if it ever is -- the Warriors will remain the reigning Western Conference champions. Yes, the 15-50 Golden State Warriors.

Obviously, they didn't come anywhere near their recent level of success this season, ending their season with the worst record in the league after making five straight NBA Finals. That said, the Warriors' roster isn't anywhere near the worst in the NBA. Not even close.

Though it would seem like quite a bounce-back, a Golden State resurgence next season isn't out of the question. In fact, for many reasons, you can bank on it. But resurgence isn't what the Warriors are aiming for. They don't simply want to climb out of the cellar.

They want to win championships.

Though they have many of the key ingredients already in place, some vital developments will have to occur in order for the Warriors to get back to title contention. Some will be more easily accomplished than others, and not all of them are in Golden State's control. But if the Warriors do these eight things, they'll give themselves a chance to lift the Larry O'Brien Trophy once again.

CLICK HERE FOR EIGHT THINGS WARRIORS MUST DO TO GET BACK TO TITLE CONTENTION

Warriors bizarrely only NBA team with no pending 2020 free agents

Warriors bizarrely only NBA team with no pending 2020 free agents

To say the Warriors had a rough season in 2019-20 is an understatement. The team ended the season with a 15-50 record, and stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson missed almost the entire season with injuries.

They do, however, find themselves alone in one very unique category when it comes to the current roster.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Thirteen players under contract, all of them extending into next season. But the Warriors didn't begin the season that way. This was the Golden State roster when training camp opened in September of 2019.

From the current roster, Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney all entered the 2019-20 season with multiple years remaining on their contracts.

Jordan Poole, Alen Smailagic and Eric Paschall were 2019 NBA Draft picks and received standard rookie contracts with multiple seasons of team control.

Andrew Wiggins had three years and almost $100 million remaining on his contract when the Warriors acquired him at the NBA trade deadline.

[RELATED: Ranking Warriors' five best free-agent signings since 2000]

Ky Bowman signed a multi-year extension with Golden State in February, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole. Bowman originally started as a two-way player for the Warriors and spent time with the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League as well.

On the same day Bowman's contract was converted to a standard NBA deal, big man Marquese Chriss also signed a reported multiyear extension with the Warriors. Chriss had been a two-player for a few weeks after being released to make way for Damion Lee, who himself was converted from a two-way player to a full-time member of Golden State's roster.

Local product Juan Toscano-Anderson began the season in Santa Cruz with the Warriors' G League team, playing 31 games there this season before being signed to the Warriors' roster in February on a multi-year deal.

Finally, Mychal Mulder impressed Golden State's front office enough during his 10-day contract that the Warriors inked him to a multi-year deal in an announcement on March 10, just a few days before the league's coronavirus suspension.

Trades could open up roster spots for Myers and the organization, but free agency won’t be much of an issue this offseason, as all 13 of the players on the active roster are locked up for next season.