As Webber grew acclimated to his new teammates last week, Nelson said he planned to split Webber's time between power forward and center, which would allow him to use either forwards Matt Barnes or Al Harrington or center Andris Biedrins as his other big man, depending on the matchups.
But after watching Webber provide four points and one rebound in 13 somewhat shaky minutes in his debut Thursday, Nelson announced Saturday that Webber should be thought of as a center only for the foreseeable future, meaning that he'll split 48 minutes a night with Biedrins. Harrington and Barnes will similarly divide the power forward position.
"Everything works better for me, at least in my mind, if I kind of make (Webber) a (center) as opposed to a (power forward)," Nelson said. "That's an idea. I'm going to look at that, and hope that's what's going to work best for us."
Despite Nelson's proclamation, Harrington expects his coach to continue tweaking his lineup. However, if Nelson does manage to hold off making changes, Harrington welcomes the idea of finding set roles.
"At some point, we have to start locking down our rotation and knowing who's going to play and when they're going to play," Harrington said. "I think that's what helped
Nelson also said that he expects to start squeezing out his rookies and second-year players more and more as the season enters its final stage. That's one reason why fifth-year forward Mickael Pietrus has been more of a factor lately and second-year swingman Kelenna Azubuike received six minutes or less in three of the Warriors' four most recent games prior to Saturday.
"If I'm going to be a playoff team, my veterans are going to have to do it. If they don't do it, we ain't going to make it," Nelson said. "I don't have any rookies or second-year guys down there that are all of a sudden going to make me a playoff team. Azubuike has played wonderfully well this year, but yet, I think that Pietrus is more of a veteran and been around and deserves a chance to help us in the next 33 games."
Though Nelson denied it, a cynical observer might ascribe Pietrus' resurgence to the fact that the Warriors have until Feb. 21 if they wish to trade the fifth-year forward before he becomes an unrestricted free agent at season's end.
"I'll see what's going to happen," Pietrus said. "If I'm gone, I'll wish the Warriors the best, and if I'm here, we're going to be the best."