Rick Adelman may be the next Minnesota Timberwolves coach. We know he interviewed for the job this week and there appears to be mutual interest, but there remain questions and until we see a name on the doted line nothing is certain.
The key for any coach in the NBA now is player management. Yes, the Xs and Os matter, but what matters more is getting players to buy into the system more than the system itself. (Having personnel to fit the system matters, too, but that’s an issue for another day.) Getting the team’s stars to buy in and lead — like Garnett in Boston, Kobe in Los Angeles, Durant in Oklahoma City — is maybe the biggest job of a coach.
Adelman may have a leg up there if he does go to Minnesota — he has an established relationship with Kevin Love (who played in the Jose Cuervo Manhattan Beach Open volleyball tournament this weekend, hence that photo). This is what Love told Zach Lowe of Sports Illustrated.
“I know him very well, as far as a player-coach relationship goes. Obviously I played with his son, Pat, and got to know their entire family very well. I know Mrs. Adelman from being over at their house….
“But I’ve been over to Pat’s house in Portland. I’ve had lots of conversations with Rick. I always got to talk shop and basketball with him. Obviously, we’re not best friends or anything, but we have had many, many talks. I always spoke with him after games when we played Houston, and I’d wait outside of the tunnel to say hi to Rick and his wife. Who knows — maybe that will turn into a player-coach relationship.”
That said, while Love had input early on about potential candidates for the job, he has not been calling GM David Kahn and lobbying for any candidate.
“I haven’t talked to him at all. I have to let it be. Whatever the front office is going to do, that’s what they’re going to do. I am not partial to any candidate, but it is intriguing to me to possibly be coached by my buddy’s dad. I love his corner offense, with the high post player being a facilitator — to be able to pass from there, run pick-and-rolls and shoot from outside. It is very, very intriguing to think about. But I’m not partial to any side.”
Adelman’s corner offense uses some of the same principles of spacing used in the triangle that Kurt Rambis was trying to run in Minnesota. It’s not a matter of reinventing the wheel. Love seems to like it. Just one of the many reasons that Adelman is the best fit for the Timberwolves, if he wants the job and the two sides can agree on a price.
We may find out about that soon.