On the same day that ESPN aired video of Rutgers men’s coach Mike Rice shoving his players and throwing basketballs at them during practice, Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman held a wide-ranging conversation Tuesday about his career and methods with reporters now that he is only two victories away from 1,000 NBA victories.
Part of the conversation included why he is a coach of relatively few words and how few of those few words have ever been screamed in anger.
“I had a temper, too, but I didn’t like to be coached like that,” said Adelman, who played college ball at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and in the NBA from 1968-75. “I didn’t like the intimidation factor that coaches had. You can teach and you correct and you can find a way to get through to a guy without having to do that. Everybody has their own way.
“I didn’t like it, and I wasn’t going to do that. And if I did raise my voice or get upset, they remembered it a lot more than if you did it all the time. That’s one thing I did learn. That’s why I give my assistants a lot of leeway because I want them [players] to hear different voices.”
Adelman said he always has considered basketball “a game of mistakes” and the team or player who makes the fewest wins.
“If I made a mistake, did you really have to tell me?” Adelman asked. “If I did something wrong on the court, I pretty much knew it right off the bat and I knew I was going to be talked to by the coach, but I didn’t like the intimidation factor. … I just didn’t care for it. I didn’t think it was necessary.”
All things in their time
Adelman said again Tuesday he will consider his future and whether he will coach next season when this season ends. His wife Mary Kay’s struggles with seizures — he missed 11 games and more than three weeks in January to be by her side —could convince him to retire.
“Right now is not the time to talk about that,” he said. “Let’s get through this [season] and we can deal with things after that.”
Waiting for Love
The clock’s ticking — nine games left and counting — on the season and Adelman and the Wolves wait this week for word whether star forward Kevin Love’s broken shooting hand has healed enough for him to play again.
And if it has, is it worthwhile to bring him back for the season’s final two weeks?
“Whenever it’s decided if he can or can’t play, then we’ll have that conversation,” Adelman said. “Until you find that out, the point is not worth talking about. Not until they actually say he can play, and we haven’t gotten to that point. I’ve got to the point where if he plays, it’d be great. If he doesn’t, I just deal with the guys I’ve got here.”
Two to go …
The Wolves got Adelman one game closer to becoming only the eighth coach in NBA history to get 1,000 victories by beating Boston on Monday at Target Center.
Afterward, center Nikola Pekovic reiterated the same promise after victory No. 998 as he did when his team beat Oklahoma City on Friday for Adelman’s 997th victory: His team will get Adelman two more victories in a season that has nine games left.
“Yeah, what, two more?” he asked. “We’ll do it. I think we’ll do it. We’ve got to do it, right?”