Houston tabs former Kings coach Adelman to rescue Rockets

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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 4:31 am
Houston tabs former Kings coach Adelman to rescue Rockets

HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets have hired Rick Adelman to replace Jeff Van Gundy, hoping the veteran NBA coach can break the team's recent history of postseason flops.

"I always knew I was going to look for something eventually," Adelman said Tuesday night as he arrived at an airport in Houston, where he was met by team officials. "This is obviously just a great situation with the city, the organization. I'm really excited. This is a team that played so solid last year. You can build on that."

The Rockets were set to introduce Adelman at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Adelman, 60, brings an up-tempo, high-scoring system to Houston, a stark contrast to Van Gundy's more defense-minded and methodical approach. Van Gundy was fired Friday after the Rockets were bounced from the opening round of the playoffs for the third time in his four seasons.

Adelman has been out of coaching since the Sacramento Kings chose not to renew his contract after the 2005-06 season. The Kings had a winning record and made the playoffs in each of Adelman's eight seasons.

The Rockets fired Van Gundy after the Rockets finished 52-30, their best regular-season record in 10 years, then lost to Utah in the first round. Houston went 182-146 under Van Gundy, but went 7-12 in three postseason appearances.

Adelman previously coached Golden State and Portland. The Trail Blazers made two NBA Finals appearances under Adelman in 1990 and '92, losing both times. With the Kings, his teams were among the best and highest-scoring in the NBA, but they couldn't get past the Lakers of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.

Adelman has a 752-481 record in 16 seasons and his teams have made the playoffs 14 times. His teams made it out of the first round seven of those 14 times, and he is 70-68 in the playoffs. He reportedly met with Rockets owner Les Alexander and general manager Daryl Morey on May 11, when Van Gundy was still deciding whether he wanted to come back to coach the team.

Alexander has been unavailable for comment since Van Gundy was dismissed. Van Gundy said Alexander had issues with the team's slow style and wanted the Rockets to play more like the fast-breaking Phoenix Suns.

The Rockets only interviewed Adelman to replace Van Gundy and become the 11th coach in Rockets history.

"I've had a pretty good track record over the years," he said. "Obviously, they thought I could do something good here."

Van Gundy succeeded Rudy Tomjanovich, who led the team to its only two championships, in 1994 and '95. The Rockets haven't won a playoff series since 1997.

Adelman became Portland's head coach in 1989 and Portland reached the Finals the following year, losing to Detroit. The Blazers, led by Clyde Drexler, were back in the Finals two years later and lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six games.

Portland fired Adelman after the 1993-94 season. After two unsuccessful seasons with Golden State, Adelman moved to Sacramento and the Kings reached the playoffs in all eight seasons he was there.

He was dismissed after the Kings lost in the first round in 2006 to San Antonio. The Kings were eliminated in the first round four times during Adelman's tenure.

Adelman said the main draw of this job is the chance to coach Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming.

"In this league, I learned a long time ago, it's a lot easier to coach when you have good players," Adelman said. "This team has that. I watched them at the end of last year, when they came to Portland. I was really impressed with the way they played."

Morey said last week Adelman will have final say in choosing his own coaching staff. Tom Thibodeau, Van Gundy's top assistant, is seeking a head coaching job and has interviewed for the vacancy in Sacramento, Morey said.

Adelman said he's already thought about changes he'll make, though he wouldn't specify them upon arriving.

"Ever since we had our first interview, when I started talking to them, you look at it and say, 'Geez, what can you do with that team?'" he said. "The things we've done in the past will work for anybody. You just have to put players in good positions and they'll respond."

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Adelman is a successful coach but the Rockets don't look built to play the more running game he has established in his other teams. He will either have to become a more half court favouring coach or get the Rockets, including Yao Ming, to run and gun more. Doesn't look like the way to go. This could turn out to be a diaster!
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 4:45 am
migya wrote:Adelman is a successful coach but the Rockets don't look built to play the more running game he has established in his other teams. He will either have to become a more half court favouring coach or get the Rockets, including Yao Ming, to run and gun more. Doesn't look like the way to go. This could turn out to be a diaster!


I like the signing. I think he's a better fit than JVG for that roster. And he's been lucky, too. He always ends up in good teams and with big stars...

... except when he coached the Dubs. :banghead:
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 8:45 am
Again, Yao in a running type game does not look like it would work. Back when he coached Portland, Adelman did employ a mixed style that could function in half court so it might work
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 8:59 am
Adleman's an overrated coach... but he'll be better for the Rockets.

You couldn't tailor a system (maybe Nellie or D'Antoni's?) that would have fit Yao Ming as badly as Jeff Van Gundy's. Give Houston Rick Adleman, or Larry Brown, or any other traditional coach... and I foresee career highs for Yao. I've always felt Van Gundy's system held him back.
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 9:19 am
32 wrote:Adleman's an overrated coach... but he'll be better for the Rockets.


Yeah, Adelman is overrated, but he's not bad. Looking at who was available, is not a bad pick (maybe Larry Brown would have been better, but that's all).

I don't know about season highs for Yao, tho. I think that it's more on him than on the coach...
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 6:53 pm
Yeah, he inherits a solid team that he hopes to resurrect from the 1st round and enter the 2nd. Beats going to Charlotte.
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 6:58 pm
TMC wrote:I don't know about season highs for Yao, tho. I think that it's more on him than on the coach...

True, but a heavy part of the reason why Yao was so fatigued at the end of games was because of what Van Gundy demanded out of his centers. Yao is a star center who should have the team catered to him; not the other way around. Once Adleman takes over, I seriously doubt we'll see Yao running to set picks, shooting from 15 feet out half the time, or defending the ENTIRE paint.

Rick Adleman knows how to use a center. I don't know HOW Van Gundy managed to keep one of the league's BEST inside/outside combo's out of the 2nd round all the years. Adleman will post Yao and run McGrady open jumpers off double teams inside. He'll have them play OFF each other; not AROUND each other. Adleman can formulate a gameplan that encompasses both players. Its not brain surgery.
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 7:02 pm
Yeah, I agree. I don't think T-Mac should get a rep for not a winner (can't get past the first round). It's not deserved.
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 2:40 am
JayPat wrote:Yeah, I agree. I don't think T-Mac should get a rep for not a winner (can't get past the first round). It's not deserved.


At least this year it wasn't his fault... although that team needs a PG badly. The west is too tough to make it to the second round with Rafer Alston...
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 4:34 am
32 wrote:
TMC wrote:I don't know about season highs for Yao, tho. I think that it's more on him than on the coach...

True, but a heavy part of the reason why Yao was so fatigued at the end of games was because of what Van Gundy demanded out of his centers. Yao is a star center who should have the team catered to him; not the other way around. Once Adleman takes over, I seriously doubt we'll see Yao running to set picks, shooting from 15 feet out half the time, or defending the ENTIRE paint.

Rick Adleman knows how to use a center. I don't know HOW Van Gundy managed to keep one of the league's BEST inside/outside combo's out of the 2nd round all the years. Adleman will post Yao and run McGrady open jumpers off double teams inside. He'll have them play OFF each other; not AROUND each other. Adleman can formulate a gameplan that encompasses both players. Its not brain surgery.



Van Gundy did cater for Yao enough in the way he setup the Rocket's defense and offense. Yao got all the shots he wanted but I'm not so sure he will under Adelman. TMac and guys like Battier and Alston might flourish but the movement will be for more passing and running and that is not suited to Yao
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 8:01 am
migya wrote:
32 wrote:
TMC wrote:I don't know about season highs for Yao, tho. I think that it's more on him than on the coach...

True, but a heavy part of the reason why Yao was so fatigued at the end of games was because of what Van Gundy demanded out of his centers. Yao is a star center who should have the team catered to him; not the other way around. Once Adleman takes over, I seriously doubt we'll see Yao running to set picks, shooting from 15 feet out half the time, or defending the ENTIRE paint.

Rick Adleman knows how to use a center. I don't know HOW Van Gundy managed to keep one of the league's BEST inside/outside combo's out of the 2nd round all the years. Adleman will post Yao and run McGrady open jumpers off double teams inside. He'll have them play OFF each other; not AROUND each other. Adleman can formulate a gameplan that encompasses both players. Its not brain surgery.



Van Gundy did cater for Yao enough in the way he setup the Rocket's defense and offense. Yao got all the shots he wanted but I'm not so sure he will under Adelman. TMac and guys like Battier and Alston might flourish but the movement will be for more passing and running and that is not suited to Yao

Its not just getting shots; its what kind of shots you get.

Nobody can deny that Van Gundy's scheme was probably the worst system Yao could have played in (other than a run-and-gun). Too much work away from the ball, too many responsibilities on defense, too heavy of a rebounding load, too many shots from further out than they should have been...

If Adleman is smart, he'll cater his offense around Yao. Take a cue from the Shaq-offense, already. When you have a great center, you work the ball from the inside out. Yao Ming always seemed like an afterthought in the Houston offense. Van Gundy caters to his guards... and always has.
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 9:32 pm
Yao's game is one that goes from the midrange more than anything. He loves the jump shot and doesn't seem to like banging near the basket. I don't expect Yao to do much better than what he already has
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 2:19 am
You don't have to bang to play inside. Yao's length and standing reach give him an advantage over pretty much anyone who plays against him. Its an advantage that should be exploited. Adleman knows it, the Rockets know it, and Yao sure as hell knows it, too.

Like I said: its just a conflict of interest... because it seems like the only guy who didn't see Yao's tremendous advantages was Jeff Van Gundy... :scratch:
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 2:22 am
I've seen plenty of games of Yao and the guy likes to shoot and put a fair bit of soft shiit. He does get close to the basket enough but he just has a nice shooting touch from a few feet out to midrange. Hopefully Adelman will gear the offense through him and not think about running too much
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