Year Team W L Playoffs
1988-89 Portland 14 21 Lost in 1st round
1989-90 Portland 59 23 Lost to Detroit in NBA Finals
1990-91 Portland 63 19 Lost in Western Conference finals
1991-92 Portland 57 25 Lost to Chicago in NBA Finals
1992-93 Portland 51 31 Lost in 1st round
1993-94 Portland 47 35 Lost in 1st round
1995-96 Golden State 36 46 Did not make
1996-97 Golden State 30 52 Did not make
1998-99 Sacramento 27 23 Lost in 1st round
1999-00 Sacramento 44 38 Lost in 1st round
2000-01 Sacramento 55 27 Lost in 2nd round
2001-02 Sacramento 61 21 Lost in Western Conference finals
2002-03 Sacramento 59 23 Lost in 2nd round
2003-04 Sacramento 55 27 Lost in 2nd round
2004-05 Sacramento 50 32 Lost in 1st round
2005-06 Sacramento 44 38 Lost in 1st round
2007-08 Houston 55 27 Lost in 1st round
2008-09 Houston 53 29 Lost in 2nd round
2009-10 Houston 42 40 Did not make
2010-11 Houston 43 39 Did not make
2011-12 Minnesota 26 40 Did not make
2012-13 Minnesota 28 46 Did not make
Rick Adelman’s Victories, By The Numbers
No. 1 Portland@ Miami, 124-102
Feb. 26, 1989
• Lost first four games after replacing fired Mike Schuler, but Portland ended four-game Eastern trip by thumping first-year expansion team Heat.
No. 100 Portland@ Cleveland, 120-114
Dec. 29, 1990
Last night of a five-game winning streak in a 62-win season that was sandwiched between NBA Finals appearances the season before and season after.
No. 500 Orlando@ Sacramento, 112-100
Dec. 11, 2001
•Coached Chris Webber, Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic to a 17-5 start in a 61-win season that ended with an unforgettable seven-game loss to the L.A. Lakers in the Western semifinals.
No. 750 Sacramento@ Denver April 15, 2006
Finished his eight seasons in Sacramento with a three-game winning streak that started with this late-season win over the Nuggets.
No. 1000 ????
Feb. 19, 1989: Promoted at age 42 from Portland assistant coach to first NBA head coaching job, replacing fired Mike Schuler and his 25-22 record.
1989-90: Led Trail Blazers to 59 victories and the NBA Finals in his first full season as a NBA head coach
1991-92: Reached NBA Finals for second time in three years after a 57-win regular season
May 20, 1994: Fired after five seasons as head coach when the Blazers lost in the first round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season
May 19, 1995: Hired by Golden State after a season away from the game to replace Don Nelson
April 29, 1997: Fired by the Warriors after going 66-98 in two seasons that ended without making the playoffs either time.
Sept. 17, 1998: Hired by Sacramento GM Geoff Petrie — his Portland boss and former NBA teammate — to replace the fired Eddie Jordan.
2001-02: Won 61 regular-season games and his Kings lose a classic Western Conference final seven-game series in overtime. Convicted NBA ref Tim Donaghy later claimed Game 6 was fixed by the referees so the Lakers would win.
May 9, 2006: Kings’ contract was not renewed after his teams made the playoffs for eight consecutive years but never got further than the Western Conference finals.
May 21, 2007: Hired by Houston to replaced the fired Jeff Van Gundy and coached the Rockets his first season to a 22-game winning streak, now the third longest in NBA history.
April 19, 2011: Rockets’ contract not renewed after four seasons there.
Sept. 13, 2011: Hired by Timberwolves to replace fired Kurt Rambis
Quotes about Adelman
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich: “I think he’s the most underrated coach in the league. Offensively, he’s one of the most creative guys. Even guys he has coached in the past, you see them now and they still do things he taught them offensively. He’s one of those guys, he doesn’t try to get the camera. He couldn’t care less. He wants to do his job and go home, and he does it well.”
Oklahoma City guard Kevin Martin, who played for Adelman in Sacramento and Houston: “He’s one of the most positive influences I’ve had in my life. I appreciate everything he has done for me in my career. He’s a different guy in his own way. Everybody calls him a player’s coach. He lets you play to your strengths. If you can’t thrive in his system, you can’t thrive in any system.”
Former Sacramento GM and coach Jerry Reynolds, a Kings broadcaster who witnessed the entire Adelman era there: “Whatever level of player he has, he adjusts. When he has had really good players, he wins and he wins a lot. There are only two things a coach can do: Motivate them best you can and use them correctly, and he’s as good as there has ever been at that, in my opinion.”
Indiana coach Frank Vogel: “Everyone talks about the Phil Jacksons, Popoviches or Pat Rileys, but he’s right up there. You can’t say he’s not as good as those guys. He has done it for many, many years. I have great respect for him.”
Houston guard Aaron Brooks, who played his first four NBA seasons for Adelman: “There are only 82 in a season. He’s one of the best ever in this league, definitely the best coach I’ve had. That he’s done it with all different pieces, all different teams is amazing. I’m honored to have him as my first coach. He brings you in for your specific skills and tells you, `Don’t try to be anybody else.’ He just puts you in the right place to do good things.”
Cleveland coach Byron Scott, an Adelman assistant for two seasons in Sacramento: “Players loved playing for him because he allows you to just play basketball. If you found one player who didn’t like playing for Rick, it’s the player, it’s not the coach.”
Houston coach Kevin McHale when asked if he hopes to coach long enough to win 1,000 games: “I’d have to be 120.”
Detroit coach Lawrence Frank: “You can make an argument that he might be the most underrated coach in the history of the NBA. I love watching his teams play. I think he’s a Hall of Fame coach.”
The Road Taken
His seven-year NBA playing career ended at the Kansas City Kings’ 1975 training camp, when coach Phil Johnson’s final cut came down to two guards. Adelman was one. The other was a third-year shooting guard from West Virginia named Mike D’Antoni, who now coaches the Los Angeles Lakers.
Johnson waived Adelman, sending him home to Los Angeles contemplating a new life using his master’s degree to teach and coach high school. Instead, a contact told him about an open job at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Ore., not far from where he played professionally in Portland.
“I didn’t have the experience that other guys who were already teaching and coaching had, I just had played professional basketball,” he said. “I was seven years behind. I just got really lucky when I found the job in Oregon.”
His Big Break
Six years later, Trail Blazers coach Jack Ramsay searched for an assistant coach and settled on two finalists: The coach who had done so much with relatively little at Chemeketa C.C. just down the road or a two-time CBA Coach of the Year named George Karl.
Adelman got the job and 30 years later, both men are — or soon will be — members of such an exclusive club. Karl won his 1000 game in December 2010, with Denver.
“It never entered my mind,” Ramsay said when asked about such vision he had to pick two finalists bound for 1000 NBA victories, “or I think theirs.”