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Hey Wiz, How About Rick Adelman?

April 20, 2011

Yes, there’s playoff basketball to be discussed.  However, I’m taking a breather to throw out some thoughts about the future of former Rockets Rick Adelman (who was a Bull for a hot second in the 1973-74 season).

Daryl, how could you do this to me? (Photo credit: Businessweek.com)

It was announced earlier this week that the Rockets decided not to give Rick Adelman a new contract.  Between this news and the likelihood of the Kings moving to Anaheim, it feels like the end of an era.  Rick Adelman, like several other future Hall-of-Famer coaches (ex. Greg Popovich, Jerry Sloan), has had the unfortunate luck of running into Phil Jackson during his forays into the playoffs, getting knocked out 4 times by Phil.  However, if you look at Adelman’s accomplishments, it’s hard to find fault with his coaching success:

  • 1988-89 through 1993-94 (6 seasons) with Trailblazers: made playoffs every year with two Finals appearance;
  • 1998-99 through 2005-06 (8 seasons) with Kings: made playoffs every year in a tough Western Conference;
  • 2007-08 through 2010-11 (4 seasons) with Rockets: 22-game winning streak in ’08 season, making playoffs for 2 of 4 seasons despite several Yao/McGrady season-ending injuries and finishing above 0.500 in every season (unlike the Eastern Conference, finishing above 0.500 does not guarantee a playoff spot in the Western Conference).

So this is all to say that I think Ted L. needs to take a closer look at bringing in Rick Adelman to coach the Wiz.  Adelman is a coach who now has 945 wins, with a 60% winning percentage, with teams that played both offense and defense.  He’s shown that he knows how to coach superstars and future hall-of-famers while mixing them with consummate professionals and role players.  He can coach big men, veterans, young guys, and pretty much every single type of player, gifted or not.  Heck, if we didn’t have Thibs, I would’ve suggested that we go after Adelman.

Flip Saunders seems like a nice guy but if I will flip my lid if I have to see yet another play where: 1) Nick Young rushes the shot (and early in the shotclock) when an extra pass would yield an easier/higher percentage shot, 2) Yi shoots another 19-foot jumper (Yi, you are not Dirk), or 3) John Wall make a phenomenol pass to a teammate who doesn’t know what to do with it.  If there’s anyone who can mentor young players like the three J’s (John Wall, Jordan Crawford, and JaVale McGee) and likewise coax some productivity out of older guys like Josh Howard and Rashard Lewis, Adelman represents one of the Wiz’s best shots.

It’s too bad that Adelman couldn’t stay longer in Houston but I’m hoping that we see some love for Adelman.  The NBA is rich with great coaches and not a lot of terrible coaches (Toronto and Detroit aside) so I’d love to see Adelman come into DC and work his magic.  Anyway, enough about next season, let’s get back to some Bulls basketball!

-Jocelyn

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