Hearing the news that the Houston Rockets were about to name Rick Adelman as their head coach made me shake my head in amazement last night. I've always been a big admirer of Adelman and his coaching abilities. At one point, in the early nineties, I was pretty sure that Adelman was the best coach in the NBA.
Afterall, he always coached on teams with talent. But he never had teams in Portland that had superior talent. As a Utah Jazz fan, I was amazed with how Adelman always seemed to work the Portland offense to get the right matchup versus the Jazz. I really thought that Adelman was the difference when the Blazers beat the Jazz in the 92 Western finals to advance to play Chicago in the NBA Finals. But Portland sort of went downhill from there and he wore out his welcome in the Northwest.
He moved onto Golden State and never got it going with the Warriors and after two seasons headed for Sacramento. He never won a championship with the Kings and again couldn't get over the hump in the tough Western Conference. Again, he had good talent with Sacramento, but not premier talent. After so many playoff disappointments, he again was replaced.
Now he heads to Houston where maybe just maybe he has some premier talent. Tracy McGrady is certainly premier. Yao Ming is pretty darn close to premier. The Rockets still need to fill in some holes, but I think the hiring of Adelman is one of them. I think he has the chance to make this team better. Ultimately, I think in the long run this is the type of move that could be a real good one.
Adelman isn't likely to get too many more chances in the NBA. He's going to turn 61 next month. This maybe the final stop on the coaching carousel for Adelman. I think it's likely to be the stop that finally earns him an NBA championship.