Sept. 12, 2011
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Rick Adelman is a darn good coach, and he's never really gotten as much credit as he deserves. He may not go down as one of the elite coaches in NBA history -- although he does have a 945-616 career record. But he's solid and someone who understands it's a players' league -- and coaches accordingly.He's succeeded in every one of his professional stops, except, of course, Golden State. He got two NBA Finals with the Portland Trail Blazers, had the Sacramento Kings knocking on the door for a few years and did fine most recently with the Houston Rockets.He's not right, though, for Minnesota, which is where he's reportedly heading.Adelman has never been the center of attention on any of the teams he's coached, and he's just as much a moderator and manager as a coach. Adelman is at his best coaching a veteran team or at least a team with experienced players who are self-motivated.He's got very little ego, which older players tend to respect, and it goes a long way toward them playing hard for him.
Don't see him as a good fit in Minnesota. The Timberwolves are too young to appreciate or benefit from someone like Adelman, who is more suited for a ready-made team that understands basketball schemes and knows what it takes to win in the NBA.Adelman's not really the kind of coach who will get a young team to overachieve -- and the reason I say that is because he's not huge on motivation and he's more of a system guy than a matchup or gimmicky guy.Don Nelson would probably be a better coach right now for the Timberwolves than Adelman -- if for no other reason than he could probably milk more wins out of Minnesota than most coaches.Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't hire Adelman or Nelson if I were in David Kahn's shoes, but of the two I'd prefer Nelson for this particular task. Now, it could be front office and organizational chaos after Year 1 -- and maybe sooner -- but Nelson could do some interesting things with that team.Adelman certainly is a safer choice than Nelson, and will no doubt foster a more calm and forthright environment around the team than Nelson would. Still, the Timberwolves are a ways away, and I'd lean toward a younger coach, someone who can grow a little with the team.It's not like Adelman or Nelson makes the Timberwolves a playoff contender. And neither of them is going to be around long enough to see something through.