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The Dirty Dozen - Part 1 of 3

A dozen years. 12 long excruciating years since the Golden State Warriors made the playoffs. The hiring of Don Nelson is perhaps the best move the Warriors could have made this offseason to end that streak. Nellie was the coach the last time the Golden State Warriors made the playoffs, and hopefully that comes full circle and he is the coach again when the Warriors make the playoffs. But in between the time that Nellie stepped down in the '94-'95 season until last year's heartbreaking '05-'06 disaster, there were many, many, many coaches that have come and gone. What's a common characteristic of losing franchises? The hiring and firing of many coaches. Without further ado, let's take a trip down memory lane and revisit the years between the Nelson sandwich.

Here's the first 4 years in our 3 part series. Enjoy?


1994-1995 (Record: 26-56)
Coach: Nellie to Bob Lanier

I love this game! (Photo:

This was the year that started the infamous streak. First, Chris Cohan takes a 75% share of the team, giving him full control over the basketball operations. Next, they trade away Chris Webber, a bonafide star in the making, for Tom Gugliotta who then gets traded for Donyell Marshall. The first coach in the post-Nellie era was Bob Lanier. As the interim coach, the big, tall intimidating center could never get the Warriors to gel and wound up a casualty.

Even after the whole Don Nelson - Chris Webber fiasco, the season had its bright spots. Spree repped the Warriors in the All Start Game, Tim Bug averaged 20 points and 9 assists, and Gatty led the league in FG% at .633. Then to top it all off, we won the draft lottery! The #1 pick! Joe Smith or Jerry Stackhouse. Jerry Stackhouse or Joe Smith. (By the way, KG went #5 to the TWolves) We all know how the Joe Smith era turned out, but it was still an exciting time to be a Warrior fan.

1995-1996 (Record: 36-46)
Coach: Rick Adelman

Someone put up the wrong banner behind him! (Photo:

This was a good hire by the Warriors and their new general manager, Dave Twardzik. Adelman had proven he could coach. He guided the Blazers to 2 NBA Finals and a Western Conference Final. He made the playoffs every year he was there. At the time it felt like the Warriors just needed that extra push to get them back to the playoffs and hiring a good coach would make the difference (that sounds eerily familiar). But Adelman and the Warriors flopped.

What made it even worse was the trade of Tim Hardaway (my favorite player) and Chris Gatling to Miami for Kevin Willis and Bimbo Coles. Let's analyze this carefully. Chris Webber, Tim Hardaway and Chris Gatling turned into Donyell Marshall, Kevin Willis, and Bimbo Coles. Now I was only a sophomore in high school, and unfortunately the Warriors couldn't hire me, but even I would have made better moves back then.

The bright spot? Joe Smith. He won Rookie of the Month awards in December and February and even made the All-Rookie First team.

Wait, it gets even better. Todd Fuller was selected with the 11th pick in the draft. On to the next year...

1996-1997 (Record: 30-52)
Coach: Rick Adelman

Why did I take this job? (Photo:

Adelman was again back as coach looking to regain the magic of 3 years ago when the Warriors and Suns battled it out in the playoffs. They resigned Spree to a 4 year deal, Joe Smith was going to blossom into a star, and and and... and the Warriors were again back in the lottery only to select the currently longest tenured Warrior, Mr. Adonal Foyle out of the college basketball powerhouse, Colgate University.

Adelman was fired during the offseason, but here's an interesting tidbit. Take a wild guess at the only 2 years one of Coach Adelman's teams did not make the playoffs? Here's another fun fact. Guess who succeeded Adelman in Portland? PJ Carlesimo. Guess who succeeded Adelman in Golden State?

1997-1998 (Record: 19-63)
Coach: PJ Carlesimo

Put a little mustard on that pass! (Photo:

If you guessed PJ Carlesimo to the above question, you win a trip to the playoffs. The catch is that in order to claim your prize, you have to root for any other team in the NBA. Pick one, any one and you will most likely make the playoffs within the next few (not 12) years.

This year, the Warriors opened their newly renovated arena and take it from me, this year was not how you welcome in a renovated stadium. If there was a bottom point in this dirty dozen, it's this year. Combine the 19 wins, the trading of longtime Warrior Chris Mullin for the lazy Dampier, the trading of Joe Smith, and the infamous choke, what do you get? Possibly the worst year in franchise history.

The bright spots? You would have had to wait out the entire year and playoffs for what has become the highlight of the Warriors season, the NBA draft. This time the Warriors got Antawn Jamison in a trade for Vince Carter. Ooops.


Check out Part 2 & Part 3

Who was the Warriors best player during these first 4 years?

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