Don Nelson has a unique perspective on the Warriors' recent run.
The Basketball Hall of Famer was the sixth man for the 1965-66 Boston Celtics, whose appearance in the NBA Finals that season was their 10th in a row. The Celtics were the last team to make (at least) five consecutive finals, until the Warriors joined them on completing a Western Conference finals on the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night. Nelson, of course, also coached the Warriors for two stints, successfully pushing the team to draft eventual two-time MVP Stephen Curry towards the end of his second go-round in 2009.
So, how does he think these Warriors compare to those Celtics? He told the Bay Area News Group's Mark Medina in an interview that he saw a couple of key differences.
For one, even though Curry is considered by many to be the straw that stirs the Warriors 'drink, Nelson doesn't think the Warriors' leadership comes from just one person. The Celtics dynasty centered around Bill Russell's legendary center, whose leadership exploits rival his on-court dominance. Instead, Nelson sees "strength in numbers" as more than just a marketing catchphrase.
"But all of the core guys are big leaders in their own way," Nelson told Medina. "They're all leaders, and nobody is the boss. That's really the way they do it. If you have more than one guy as your leader and be as unselfish as those guys, it makes it really easy." [1
By contrast, nine of the 17 players to suit up for the Warriors this season signed as free agents.
"You've got to remember one thing," Nelson told Medina. "We didn't have free agency when Boston had their run. But these guys have done it with free agency there. In Boston, you couldn't leave. You had to stay with the team forever. So it's incredible. It's a great story. I haven't heard a story like that in forever. ”
[RELATED: Why Raptors are better Finals matchup for Dubs than Bucks ]
Nelson won a title with that aforementioned Celtics team, and if the Warriors are going to follow in their footsteps, he thinks the biggest key is getting Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins healthy.
"It's not going to be easy to buy a team in the East," Nelson told Medina. Let's hope they'll be back. They'll need all the weapons they got. ”