Adelman answers question: Why here?

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 29, 2011 - 1:09 PM

At his first Wolves news conference, the well-respected NBA coach explained the draw of a new team and a new challenge.

Ten weeks after they fired their coach, the Timberwolves on Wednesday officially introduced a new one who believes in many of the same basic basketball philosophies as the old one did.

Whether you call it a "triangle" or "corner" offense, Rick Adelman is a proponent of the same sort of flowing motion offense that Kurt Rambis preferred.

But this time Wolves President David Kahn -- who with owner Glen Taylor interviewed seven candidates in search of a coach more committed to embracing fast-break basketball than the last one -- is getting more than a probable future Hall of Fame coach who owns a .605 winning percentage in 20 seasons as a NBA head coach.

He's also getting a 65-year-old man whose words and résumé suggest he will tailor his system to fit the Timberwolves' many highly drafted pieces -- as painfully young and possibly mismatched as they are -- and not the other way around.

"I have to adjust to this talent that fits it best," he said, "and not force a system on it."

He brings that sparkly career winning percentage and instant credibility to a franchise that hasn't made the playoffs since it beat Adelman's Sacramento team in Game 7 of the 2004 Western Conference semifinals at Target Center.

He is known largely as a coach who likes big men who can pass -- Kevin Love, anyone? -- in a position away from the basket. He is known as that largely because he possessed Vlade Divac and Chris Webber in Sacramento.

"Well, we played like that because those were two pretty good people to put the ball in their hands," he said.

At his next stop in Houston, Adelman tweaked his strategy after he lost stars Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady to injuries and compensated by starting 6-6 Chuck Hayes -- a full foot shorter than Yao -- at center.

Adelman left Houston last spring after four seasons primarily because management wanted to dictate coaching-staff changes.

He accepted the Wolves job two weeks ago primarily because he took the Rockets job in 2007 expecting to win a title with Yao and McGrady and left town feeling rewarded by adapting with a makeshift roster that he guided to winning records the past two seasons.

"That's what I've got to find out here," Adelman said. "Who's the leader? Who are the go-to guys? Who's going to accept responsibility defensively? Those are the things we figured out those last two years in Houston. That's what I found so gratifying there."

Three months ago, almost nobody in or close to the NBA believed Adelman would accept such a daunting job as rebuilding these young Wolves.

That list included Adelman himself.

Instead, the man who talked with the Lakers about their open coaching job before they chose Mike Brown in May chatted with his wife, his family, Kahn and even himself throughout an eventful summer that included two big family weddings that for a time placed his mind elsewhere.

"The more I thought about it, the more I thought it could be a good situation," said Adelman, who could not talk specifically about his players because of NBA rules pertaining to its current labor lockout. "Nothing is given in this business. You never know what's going to be out there. I always felt the next job I got after Houston was probably going to be my last one.

"The more I thought about it, the more I thought this was as good an opportunity right now as I could get. I still wanted to coach. I'd like to try to build something here. I just feel I can do this. It felt like it was a great challenge."

Kahn said Adelman never directly told him no during the two-month search process. But he said he knew there were times Adelman needed to be left alone while the coach decided whether he wanted to coach again so soon.

Kahn and the Wolves remained patient during a summer in which there's still no end in sight for the labor lockout that began July 1.

Ultimately, Adelman agreed to a four-year contract believed to be worth more than $20 million that gives each side an option for that final year.

Adelman said the lengthy process was because of his own issues and he called "completely false" a recent YahooSports column that suggested Taylor had to close the deal to sign him because Adelman has a long-standing dislike for Kahn dating to the 1980s when Kahn was a sportswriter in Portland and Adelman coached for the Trail Blazers.

Kahn called the notion laughable, and Adelman said: "Certainly, no one convinced me. I wouldn't be here if that was the case. Everybody tells me how tough a job this will be. Why would I add to it? I think we'll be able to work fine together with Glen. Why would I want to come to a place and work with somebody that I didn't like?"

Adelman said he doesn't want to have a "bunch of power or a big voice" in personnel decisions.

"I've never been like that," he said. "Some coaches spend all their time worrying about the personnel they don't have. I've always felt my job is to coach the guys I have. I just want a situation where we're all after the same thing."

Kahn said the two-month search process revealed two things: He called Adelman "clearly" the most qualified candidate on a list that also included Don Nelson, Sam Mitchell, Larry Brown and Mike Woodson. He also said Adelman was the best of the bunch at immediately making a team better.

"Rick has demonstrated through his career the ability to adapt and tweak and tinker with the team based on his personnel," Kahn said. "I think he's willing to do whatever it takes based on the roster, and that's something we need right now. We have, in some respects, an unconventional roster: young players, maybe too many players of some type, not enough players of another type.

"He's proven time and again that he can deal with pretty much anything. That track record I keep coming back to provides a lot of confidence for all of us that he can handle pretty much anything thrown at him."

  • related content

  • Souhan: Greatness and Wolves rarely in same mix

    Thursday September 29, 2011

    Among all the coaches in franchise history, Rick Adelman shoots straight to the top.

  • Rick Adelman (right), David Kahn

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Milwaukee 115 FINAL
Orlando 100
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 103
Denver 69 FINAL
Memphis 99
Chicago 118 FINAL
LA Lakers 123
Montreal 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 0
Winnipeg 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Boston 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Arizona 3 FINAL
Toronto 1
Dallas 6 FINAL
Ottawa 3
Detroit 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 5
Columbus 2 FINAL
Florida 3
Nashville 4 FINAL(SO)
St. Louis 5
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Calgary 0
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Anaheim 3 FINAL
San Jose 6
DePaul 72 FINAL
Providence 83
Michigan State 71 FINAL
Rutgers 51
Boston Univ 67 FINAL
Army 71
Fla Atlantic 61 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Youngstown St 87 FINAL
Detroit 93
East Tenn St 55 FINAL
Furman 59
Saint Louis 60 FINAL
George Mason 68
USC Upstate 78 FINAL
Jacksonville 65
High Point 72 FINAL
Liberty 53
Central Conn St 55 FINAL
Long Island 67
Western Ky 56 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 69
Dayton 64 FINAL
Massachusetts 66
Chattanooga 72 FINAL
Mercer 75
Wofford 58 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 42
Maryland 56 FINAL
Ohio State 80
FIU 56 FINAL
Old Dominion 71
Fair-Dickinson 65 FINAL
Robert Morris 87
Mount St Marys 67 FINAL
St Francis-NY 73
Bryant 68 FINAL
St Francis-PA 75
Northern Ky 75 FINAL
Stetson 85
Coll of Charleston 70 FINAL
Towson 74
Western Carolina 85 FINAL
Va Military 70
Sacred Heart 64 FINAL
Wagner 75
Lipscomb 62 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 78
Kennesaw St 67 FINAL
North Florida 86
Appalachian St 46 FINAL
Ga Southern 83
Holy Cross 54 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 64
Eastern Ill 51 FINAL
UT Martin 81
Jacksonville St 82 FINAL
Belmont 103
Connecticut 58 FINAL
Cincinnati 70
Rider 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 49
SIU Edwardsville 75 FINAL
SE Missouri St 61
Marshall 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 54
Tenn Tech 56 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Middle Tennessee 58 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
Ill-Chicago 65 FINAL
Milwaukee 71
Weber State 67 FINAL
North Dakota 60
Denver 54 FINAL
North Dakota St 61
IUPU-Ft Wayne 66 FINAL
South Dakota 55
Louisiana 85 FINAL
South Alabama 89
Ark-Little Rock 75 FINAL
Arkansas State 65
Georgia State 88 FINAL
Texas-Arlington 74
ULM 58 FINAL
Troy 55
Portland 46 FINAL
Gonzaga 64
Kentucky 69 FINAL
Missouri 53
Eastern Ky 78 FINAL
Murray State 85
UAB 69 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 71
Idaho State 76 FINAL
Northern Colorado 79
UMKC 57 FINAL
Grand Canyon 78
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Utah Valley U 78
Colorado 98 FINAL
USC 94
Cal Poly 57 FINAL
UC Irvine 67
Hawaii 84 FINAL
CS-Northridge 73
Pepperdine 50 FINAL
Pacific 43
Santa Clara 64 FINAL
San Diego 69
Utah 59 FINAL
UCLA 69
UC Santa Barbara 64 FINAL
UC Davis 70
Montana 73 FINAL
Portland State 54
Montana State 59 FINAL
Sacramento St 75
Long Beach State 91 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 85
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
St Marys-CA 68
San Francisco 74 FINAL
BYU 78
California 76 FINAL
Washington St 67
Louisiana 47 FINAL
South Alabama 57
Saint Josephs 51 FINAL
Saint Louis 52
Appalachian St 77 FINAL
Georgia Southern 74
Niagara 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 65
Old Dominion 80 FINAL
FIU 67
Southern Miss 65 FINAL
Marshall 67
Georgia State 45 FINAL
TX-Arlington 57
Ark-Little Rock 69 FINAL
Arkansas State 70
ULM 51 FINAL
Troy 90
Pittsburgh 45 FINAL
(17) Duke 62
(6) Tennessee 73 FINAL
(10) Kentucky 72
(24) Oklahoma 81 FINAL
(14) Texas 84
Nebraska Omaha 59 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 70
UC-Riverside 68 FINAL
CS-Northridge 56
Army 65 FINAL
Boston U 40
New Orleans 40 FINAL
Nicholls 56
Charlotte 68 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 71
Towson 54 FINAL
Delaware 72
Hofstra 66 FINAL
Northeastern 45
New Hampshire 56 FINAL
Maine 87
Albany 89 FINAL
Vermont 48
Hartford 60 FINAL
Stony Brook 58
UNC-Wilmington 62 FINAL
William & Mary 67
Clemson 62 FINAL
Wake Forest 64
Alabama 54 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 85
(23) Syracuse 58 FINAL
(8) Louisville 78
Missouri 68 FINAL
Florida 52
Iona 66 FINAL
Fairfield 77
Manhattan 38 FINAL
Marist 77
NC State 63 FINAL
Virginia 71
(4) Notre Dame 74 FINAL
Virginia Tech 50
(22) Rutgers 58 FINAL
Purdue 49
(5) Maryland 91 FINAL
Michigan 65
Milwaukee 58 FINAL
Cleveland State 67
Wright State 108 FINAL
Oakland 89
Jacksonville 64 FINAL
USC Upstate 66
North Florida 40 FINAL
Kennesaw St 46
Stetson 62 FINAL
Northern Ky 68
Loyola-Maryland 57 FINAL
Holy Cross 51
Lamar 87 FINAL
Sam Houston St 68
Fla Gulf Coast 71 FINAL
Lipscomb 49
Vanderbilt 44 FINAL
(18) Miss State 69
IUPUI 62 FINAL
Western Ill 73
Abilene Christian 53 FINAL
Houston Baptist 50
Incarnate Word 54 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 63
McNeese State 78 FINAL
SE Louisiana 57
Oral Roberts 46 FINAL
South Dakota St 71
Louisiana Tech 66 FINAL
Western Ky 82
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 73
Texas-El Paso 52 FINAL
UAB 67
Auburn 47 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Grand Canyon 65 FINAL
UMKC 59
Illinois 57 FINAL
(15) Nebraska 59
(20) Iowa 102 FINAL
Northwestern 99
Utah Valley U 55 FINAL
Chicago State 60
Green Bay 67 FINAL
Valparaiso 52
Ole Miss 41 FINAL
LSU 70
Portland State 31 FINAL
Montana 72
Sacramento St 64 FINAL
Montana State 91
North Dakota 55 FINAL
Weber State 48
Ohio State 85 FINAL
Wisconsin 73
Northern Colorado 61 FINAL
Idaho State 70
BYU 68 FINAL
San Francisco 63
St Marys-CA 56 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 49
Pacific 63 FINAL
Pepperdine 59
Cal-Irvine 61 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 58
San Diego 64 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
UC Davis 64 FINAL
Cal Poly 72
Long Beach St 64 FINAL
Hawaii 72
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How should Timberwolves fans greet Kevin Love on Saturday?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close