“He’s a coach I respect. A fair coach,” said new Wolves center Brad Miller (tangling with Kevin Garnett in 2004) of even newer Wolves coach Rick Adelman.

Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune file 2004

An endorsement for Adelman

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA
  • Star Tribune
  • September 14, 2011 - 6:34 AM

Timberwolves center Brad Miller has spent the summer at home on his 1,000-acre farm in northeastern Indiana waiting and hoping.

Waiting for his surgically repaired knee to heal so he can soon start jogging and jumping again.

Hoping that his brand-new team really might hire Rick Adelman as its next coach.

"That's my guy," he said.

Player and coach were united for the third time in their careers on Tuesday, when the Wolves, in a bit of serendipity, announced Adelman will replace fired Kurt Rambis.

"When they were interviewing candidates, I was hoping a lot," Miller said. "I knew if it was Rick, Minnesota would be a lot better. Instantly, things became a lot better there, especially for me. He's a coach I respect, a fair coach.

"This guy, it's true what he can do. His record speaks for itself."

Miller has played for six different teams in a 13-year NBA career that has taken him from undrafted rookie to riches and two All-Star Game appearances.

Through it all, Adelman remains his favorite pro coach because of a sensible, straightforward approach that produces success.

So much so, Miller said he signed a three-year contract with Houston specifically for the chance to play again for Adelman and a coaching staff that largely had remained intact since Miller played three seasons for Adelman in Sacramento.

He was on Kings teams that featured Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic and Mike Bibby and lost to Kevin Garnett and the Wolves in a seven-game 2004 playoff series.

And so much so, Miller hung out in the Houston locker room visiting with Adelman and his assistant coaches until he was kicked out before the game when he played for Chicago. The Wolves acquired him in a draft-night trade that sent Jonny Flynn and the No. 20 pick to the Rockets.

"He's not a man who needs to say a lot," Miller said. "That's just not his personality. In Sacramento, when we were winning all these games, he was kind of the same whether it was a good stretch or a bad one. But when he says something, you listen. You understand what he's saying.

"I know one thing: If you can't play, you're not going to play. He gets guys to build trust between the coaches and players. He expects you to do your job. He doesn't talk much, but when you get him going on the right subject, he has a nice smart-ass bite."

Miller is hopeful he soon will be cleared to resume workouts following microfracture knee surgery in May and could be cleared to return to the court in January. At 35, he is by far the oldest Timberwolves player. Miller and Luke Ridnour are the only ones older than 26.

"I've got a little bit still in the tank," said Miller, who has two seasons remaining on that three-year contract, but only $1 million is guaranteed in the final year. "I know this coach, I know this system. I can't play 40 minutes a game anymore, but in practice, I can get them better. I'll come in and chew someone's butt. We'll get them right. I started doing this 13 years ago. I'm accepting of what I've done and where I am in my career. I'll help out where I can.

"The body doesn't react at 35 the way it did at 25, but the brain is getting smarter and better. I still know a few tricks."

And he knows his new coach, whose 945 career victories are 240 more than the Wolves have won in their history.

"It might just be the challenge," Miller said when asked why Adelman would tackle such a job. "He hasn't had this challenge in a long time. You're talking about going back to his Golden State coaching days (1995-97). Sometimes it's about taking that challenge. You get older and you like that kind of challenge. If he can get Minnesota turned around, he'll prove how good a coach he really is."

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