It baffled a lot of folks when Rick Adleman, generally considered one of the better coaches in NBA history, took a head coaching job with the Timberwolves, who have been a fixer-upper franchise since Kevin Garnett’s prime.
Sports Illustrated Sam Amick, who covered Adelman’s team when Adleman coached the Sacramento Kings, recently had an interview with the coach, which is extremely thorough and enlightening even though Adelman isn’t allowed to talk about any of the Timberwolves’ current players. (Lockout!)
Adelman explained why he decided to take over the team with the league’s worst record last year at this point in his coaching career:
SI.com: So a player swore to me there was no way you’d take this job. Why was he wrong?
I just looked at their roster, and I know they’ve lost a lot of games, but they’ve got a very young team that has some talent and I just felt like maybe this is a situation where you add a couple pieces or whatever and you can turn it around in the other direction pretty quickly.
I also thought about the fact that you take some jobs that you think are very good and you end up — because of the expectations and things — that they aren’t what you thought, they just blow up in your face, too. They can be just as tough of a job. That happened to me in Houston, where we lost the two guys, Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, and the whole situation changed. I just looked at it and thought, “Maybe it’s a chance for me to take on a challenge like this, and where I am in my career and everything and see if I can’t turn it around.”
Adelman also denied that he has ever had a bad relationship with current Minnesota GM David Kahn, who has been widely maligned for his personnel moves and drafting with the Timberwolves. However, Adelman did say that he will have input in future personnel moves, and admitted that that was an “important” point in negotiations for him. For the rest of the interview, which talks about Adelman’s departure from Houston, his rough years in Golden State, and his former and future assistant coaches, click through and read the full interview.