Reusse: It's on Adelman to help Johnson, Williams become factors

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 18, 2012 - 9:51 PM

The Wolves coach needs to find a way to make two high draft choices more productive.

hide

Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman

Photo: Genevieve Ross, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The complaints are endless from the sporting public and the media.

We get on Rick Anderson when a Twins pitcher doesn't show improvement and Joe Vavra when a Twins hitter remains stuck in a slump.

We get on Tubby Smith when Ralph Sampson III is less of a player as a senior than as a freshman. We get on Don Lucia when Blake Wheeler doesn't come close to expectations with the Gophers, then goes on to have a decent NHL career.

If you want to criticize a manager or coach, an assistant or a coordinator, the quick shot is to ask, "Who has he made better?''

It was such a shock when Rick Adelman, an NBA coach with an outstanding résumé, took the Timberwolves job last summer that there was no need to ask the question, since there was never a whisper of criticism.

Instantly, Adelman gave credibility to what had become a slapstick operation. And you could see the sideline acumen. When Adelman drew up a last-second play, it was one that would produce an excellent chance at the needed basket.

The Wolves were 21-19 entering a Target Center game with the Los Angeles Lakers on March 9. They lost Ricky Rubio late in the game because of a season-ending knee injury, lost that night, and went a hapless 5-20 the rest of the way.

The season reviews talked of the dreadful second season of Wes Johnson, the No. 4 overall selection in 2010, and the disappointing rookie year from Derrick Williams, No. 2 overall in 2011.

Neither the media nor the public asked: Why was Johnson so much worse than in 2010-11? And, why was Williams as erratic and confused on the court in Game 66 as he was at season's start?

When Johnson took a jumper as a rookie, the fans in Target Center felt there was a reasonable chance it would fall. When he did so last season, the fans were groaning as soon as the ball left his right hand.

There's a good chance that Johnson never will be a 28-minute guy on a successful team. He probably will spend a few years at the bottom of NBA boxscores, then wind up his career playing in Turkey or the Philippines.

For sure, something like that will be his fate, if Adelman and his coaches are not able to bring back some of the confidence that Johnson showed on offense as a rookie. OK, his confidence was hit-and-miss in 2010-11, but it was always miss last season.

How does an outside shooter function so much more poorly with the creative Rubio as his point guard than he did a year earlier with a harried Luke Ridnour bouncing the ball off his knee?

Johnson is 6-7 and he's an athlete. He's not a ballhandler, but when he stays smooth, he can make shots. I don't see how a player with his physical abilities can remain the liability he was in Adelman's first season.

The Williams case is more mysterious. There were times when he was treated more like a second-rounder than the No. 2 overall selection. Adelman waved off with disdain the idea that the thick, 6-8 Williams could play small forward and join Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic on the front court.

You couldn't really argue when watching Williams look slow and lost while trying to defend the position. Derrick was told at season's end to go home and lose some weight.

He doesn't exactly have the look of a prison camp survivor, as did Love a year ago, but you can notice the missing 15 to 20 pounds watching Williams in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Plus, he had septum surgery, which means he's going to enter his second NBA season carrying less bulk and breathing easier. He should be applauded for that, yet it sounds as if Adelman continues to disdain the idea of Williams as the forward opposite Love.

The gentlemen telecasting Tuesday night's summer game said they had asked Adelman if Williams could play the "3,'' and the coach harrumphed: "He never has before.''

Right now, it would be rash to make the following claim about Wes Johnson, but I do know this: A coaching legend should be embarrassed if he can't fit Derrick Williams into his team and turn the 21-year-old into a productive NBA player.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500-AM. preusse@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
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: Which local team are you currently most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close