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Some perspectives on Adelman

November 24th, 2007
by John

Raymond has translated an article that Titan Sports’ Wang Meng wrote after interviewing Yao Ming about how the coaching change has dramatically changed how things get done at Toyota Center before games. One word of caution: this writer sometimes has quoted Yao for saying some almost unbelievable things, but this story sounds very believable to me.

It’s clear that Rick Adelman is an “old school” players’ coach whose pre-game preparation doesn’t stand up to Jeff Van Gundy‘s. There probably aren’t very many coaches who could match JVG’s control freak-ism. So I don’t have too much of a problem with coaches who don’t spend as much time obsessing as JVG did. I think too much obsessing can make a team tight. But it’s obvious this season, by looking at the product on the court, there is very little dedication to defense, and that the pendulum may have swung too far the other way. Adelman is clearly letting the players do what they want more than JVG would have ever dreamed.

The part that gets me is how Adelman assigns much of the pre-game communication with his players to his assistant coaches. After having JVG as their coach the past four years, I can see the players not respecting Adelman for this laissez-faire approach to the game. And you see hardly any communication from Adelman to his players on the bench. It kind of reminds me of how Phil Jackson works when he’s on the bench, but I never thought Jackson was that great of a coach. Guys like Jordan, Pippen, Kobe and Shaq can really hide alot of inadequacies.

During training camp in Austin, you heard all kinds of great things from players like Tracy McGrady about how they loved this new offense, that it was how basketball should be played, that it would make it easier for him to score, etc. Now, you don’t hear any of the players talking about Adelman’s offense or philsophy. Sure, they talk about how they aren’t hitting their perimeter shots, but no one is sticking up for Adelman in general. That’s a bad sign. Even during the JVG era, you always heard how the players respected him.

I’ve got to be thinking that Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey and owner Leslie Alexander are slapping themselves silly. No one could have predicted what is happening right now with this team. Did they ever check with Sacramento’s Maloof brothers to understand why things went so wrong with the Kings when Adelman was at the helm?

Morey & Alexander have been mysteriously quiet with the media over the past few days, and I’ve got to think they aren’t going to expect a veteran coach to cave-in to demands that he play certain players (Francis, Brooks, etc.). I bet they are already thinking of a backup plan. It’s not unheard of for a team to “cut bait” very quickly after hiring a coach. I know it has happened in the past. I can’t think of one right now, but anyone remember any examples of teams that removed a coach less than halfway through that coach’s first season?