First off, I gotta give props to the Warriors management for not making this a ticket sign-up event. They weren't in your face with ticket sales, they didn't push anyone into buying season tickets. They had a couple booths off to the side for ticket signups but by no means were they in your face with sign ups. I never got a chance to write "Sell the Warriors". It was not at all what I expected, so I have to give them props for making sure this was all about Nelson.
Second, the Warriors have a new slogan this year. One. One goal, focus, direction, team. Interesting slogan, let's hope it rings true.
Third, I gotta give props to Dunleavy and JRich for being the only two players to show up. It's good to see them support the coach and welcome in the new beginning.
So, here's a recap of our night at the Warriors open press conference.
Atma, YaoButta and I got there early around 6:30 and waited around outside for until they let us in. As we pulled up, a couple Warrior girls dressed in their outfits pulled up and so we were expecting this big song and dance for the press conference. Nothing of the sort happened. No cheerleaders, no player speeches, just a normal press conference. It was a little disappointing but nonetheless, I was entertained. Media crews were out in full force, cameramen, sports anchors, just interviewing random people and taking pictures of people for the Warriors website. Sadly, they neglected to interview or take a picture of us three. Oh well, their loss. =)
We finally got in around 6:50, sat down in the first row at halfcourt and tried to name as many media members as we could. Janny Hu was there, Marcus Thompson, Tim Kawakami, Fitz, Ray Ratto, Rick Kwon, Vernon Glenn, the NBC11 sports anchor guy (don't know his name), and more. Basically it was all the people you would expect. We even got to talk with Mark Ibanez for a little bit and give him our business card. He was a really cool guy. He joked around with us and was genuinely interested in knowing a little more about the site.
Trying to get a good shot between two camera guys legs.
So then the real fun started. At about 7:15, Nelson and Mullin came walking in from the tunnel to a standing ovation. I've never been to a press conference before and it was fun to see one go down for my favorite hoops team. Basically, Mullin and Nelson were sitting at halfcourt facing the sideline. On the court in front of them were the media, Jason Richardson, and Mike Dunleavy, while in the stands sat the fans. I'd have to say there were about 300-400 fans all comfortably sitting in a couple sections at halfcourt. And so the press conference began.
A better view of the duo, this time on the jumbotron.
Nelson was pretty funny during the press conference and his stories were the highlight of the show. He stressed that defense is the key to his teams and that's what he's going to concentrate on first, offense will be second. It drew a laughter from Atma and I, considering that his teams have never been known for any defense. It's a score first, score second type of offense. Defense doesn't seem to be the focal point. So, to help prove his point, he said to look up the opponent's FG%, not the points scored, to get an indication of the successes of his defenses. In fact I plan to do that because I'm curious where his teams ranked. It will be great to have this team stress defense to go along with the high octane offense we expect to see.
He told some joke about Tom Tolbert being pulled over by a cop. I'm not sure what it had to do with the press conference but it drew lots of laughter from the crowd.
He even kindly volunteered to tell everyone how he had a bunch of players who weren't perfect. Mullin wasn't fast and couldn't jump, Timmy couldn't shoot, and Higgins wasn't any of those things either. But they fit his system or he found a way to use their strengths. This is the key right here. If he can play to the strengths of each of the players and put them in situations where they can succeed, he will be light years ahead of Monty.
Nellie signing autographs.
After the individual statements from Mullin and Nelson were over, the media actually asked some questions that I wanted to ask Mullin and Nelson.
Nellie was asked if there was any rift between him and Cohan after Cohan sued him. He answered it with a "I had his money and he wanted it back" and continued with "we went and had a beer after it was all over." The crowd exploded with laughter. It was these one liner's that kept us all entertained.
When Mullin was asked why he got rid of Monty after publicly saying he was going to keep him, Mullin avoided the question saying that he said that in April/May, but when the season ended he wanted to reevaluate the roster. It was a half-ass answer to a difficult question.
Another question that came up was if Nelson would have any say into the personnel decisions. Nelson quickly said no. He's only there to coach and not be the GM as well because that would be too much for him to handle. He continued and said that he trusts Mullin to do the job.
That was the bulk of the press conference. Atma and I snuck in a few pictures of Dunleavy and JRich along with up close shots of Nelson and Mullin who signed autographs. Check out the exclusive photos...
Your John Hancock please.
Chris showing love to us fans.
JR but it's a little blurry. No crutches though.
Dun, but forgot to turn the flash on! Argh.
Overall we had a fun time and there's a reason for optimism back in the Bay. Nelson was a lot more lively than I thought he'd be and it was great seeing the media ask some difficult questions.
Did anyone else attend the press conference? What were your impressions?
By the way, Janny Hu's on the ball, she wrote up her piece about the press conference, Looking like the same old Nellie.
Marcus Thompson is on his game too, check out his piece after the press conference as well, Nelson sees the potential.