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Don Nelson on how Curry has changed the game: ‘It’s eliminated a lot of the boring players’

© Kyle Terada | 2021 Apr 12

Don Nelson has always liked a lot about Stephen Curry.

It’s part of the reason he was on board to draft Curry with the 7th overall pick in 2009 at the outset of what would be his final season as Warriors head coach.

On the heels of breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s Warriors all-time scoring record, Nelson joined Papa & Lund from his Maui home on Tuesday and said that he knew almost immediately Curry would be a star. What Nelson didn’t know is that Curry’s style of play would completely transform the NBA into a game ruled by the 3-point shot.

Nelson says there are too many 3s nowadays for his liking, but that overall, the game now requires a level of athleticism and skill that it once didn’t, and has eliminated players that Nelson believes weren’t really all that good.

“It’s eliminated a lot of the boring kind of players that really only had one skill,” Nelson said on KNBR. “Maybe they were rebounders, they were big and that’s what they did.”

This analysis shouldn’t come as a shock to those who watched the “Nellie Ball” style that some of Nelson’s Warriors teams employed, often forgoing a center to gain an advantage in the speed and shooting department.

“What it’s done is eliminate the real big player that couldn’t play, who only had size. You know seven footers that were kind’ve backups, those guys are pretty much out of the league now. To play center you’ve got to have some athleticism. You’ve got to be able to dunk the ball around the basket, catch lobs, screen and roll and dive and that kind of stuff. So those guys are more popular now than maybe the more dominant, slow guys. The only exception to that would be Denver. They’ve got one of the greatest players (Nikola Jokic) of all time playing one of those positions that I never thought would survive, but he’s so skilled with his passing skills and ability to score inside that he’s an exception to that rule.

“It’s really changed the game for the better I think, but I think there’s a little too much 3-point shooting actually.”

Listen to the full interview below.


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