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Don Nelson bonds with his young players. At the bar. Of course.

There’s a bit of a double-standard involved in this story.

You see, if Larry Brown were to get together with his young players and take them out for a beer, we’d be falling all over ourselves with how awesome it is that Brown is finally trying to bond with his younger players. If Phil Jackson were to take Shannon Brown and Ron Artest out for a brew, we’d be marveling at the Zen Master’s ability to alter his player’s thinking with his subtle cultural manipulations.

But both Larry Brown and Phil Jackson have their teams winning games and competing night in and night out. They are not embroiled in discussions about the direction of their respective franchises, and their teams play on both sides of the ball.

And so it is that we find the story, courtesy of, of Don Nelson taking Anthony Morrow, Anthony Tolliver, and Stephen Curry to a local Oakland Bar, Smitty’s, for some beers and shuffleboard. Nelson joked that he was short and cash and hustling the youngsters. The problem is that it comes off as unprofessional, when in fact, it’s not.

Nelson’s been around long enough to have had his fair share of beers with his players. But Nelson’s reputation as an uneven coach lends itself to criticism in this situation. With the Warriors trapped in the cycle of poor defense, unhappy players, and consistent questions about the way Nelson handles the rotation, this move may draw ire. But at least Nelson is trying to approach his young players in a context to understand them. For all the talk of Nelson mailing it in at this point in his career, any effort in any context is a good thing.

Does anyone else wonder if Stephen Curry ordered an appletini, easy on the tini?