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Smart officially introduced as Warriors coach
“It’s no secret that Don Nelson wanted me to be a defensive coordinator,” Smart said. “I still want to run and play fast, but we’ve added another element that allows us to play bigger and more physical from a defensive standpoint.”
“Obviously it would have been better to do this earlier in the summer,” Riley said. “We’ve discussed it for a long time now about making a change. I’ve talked with Nellie in that regard and we came to some agreement to where we want to go.”
Christopher J. Cohan, who assumed ownership from Franklin Mueli in 1995, agreed to sell the team to a group led by Peter Guber and Joseph Lacob for $450 million in July. The transfer is expected to be completed soon.
“I identified in February that a change needed to be made,” Riley said. “The changes were in place before things started rolling with the ownership change. The action we took was to move away from Don Nelson and hire a new coach with a fresh outlook and all sorts of enthusiasm.”
“I did not make any personnel decisions,” Smart said. “My focus was preparing myself for training camp and figuring out how the pieces will fit with the team.”
Golden State brought in eight new players for the start of training camp, which opens Tuesday.
“This is a great opportunity for coach Smart,” Warriors‘ point guard Stephen Curry said. “It’s a great opportunity for him with all the new players and a different attitude. I’m looking forward to it. He’s a solid guy and shoots it to you straight.”
All-Star David Lee was the Warriors‘ key offseason acquisition, coming over from the New York Knicks for three players. The 6-foot-9 power forward is expected to boost Golden State’s rebounding.
“I’m very optimistic,” Curry said. “Our team defense is probably going to be better just with a new attitude.”
The Warriors were second in the NBA with a 108.8 scoring average and allowed 112.4 points a game.
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