The Timberwolves have officially hired Rick Adelman as their new head coach. In his 20 seasons coaching the Blazers, Kings, Warriors and Rockets, Adelman has compiled a .605 win percentage, 2 NBA Finals appearances and made it to 4 Western Conference Finals. For an organization that has only made it out of the first round of the playoffs once in its entire history, Adelman brings with him a resume that far surpasses any previous coach of the Wolves. At 65, though, can Adelman turn the worst team in the league into a contender?
There are interesting pieces in place, that’s for sure, but interesting only goes so far. It’s clear that Kevin Love is getting antsy in Minnesota. If the team doesn’t show improvement this year, we may be watching the beginning of the end of the Love Era. The additions of Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio should hopefully have immediate impact too, but Rubio is still struggling to score in his Euro league. Just a few weeks ago he put up the appalling stat line of 0 points, 0 assists, 0 rebounds and 2 steals. Those aren’t the kind of numbers that will bring a basement dweller out of the dregs. Meanwhile, Williams comes in to play a position where the Wolves already have too many bodies and they’re main swing forward, Michael Beasley, continually can’t keep his head on straight. (Adelman’s fist order of post lockout business should be to get Kahn to trade Beasley for a serviceable piece.)
This brings us to the obvious fact that the Wolves have historically been a bumbling franchise making wrong decision after wrong decision. From the Joe Smith debacle to keeping Kevin McHale too long to failing to capitalize on the Kevin Garnett years to failing to come close to maximizing KG’s exit, Adelman joins a group has IVs of Losing at its bedside. David Kahn has had a good summer capping it off with the Adelman hiring, but the question still remains, why now? The timing would lend one to believe the lockout negotiations are improving, but the players don’t seem to be budging in negotiations and the owners are making small gestures. If Adelman is the right hire, then getting him immediately and not waiting is certainly an understandable argument. But it’s the small things that bring a team from being the Wolves to the Spurs. (That and Tim Duncan.) Waiting another month to hire Adelman could have saved the organization needed cash in a floundering market.
One thing is for certain, the Lynx are the Haves and the Wolves are the Have Nots in Minnesota professional basketball. While opposing GMs are mocking David Kahn, the Lynx are a favorite to win the WNBA title. Kahn’s time is already running out with the Wolves, (amazingly), but he’s been playing his cards right in recent months. Now he needs to give Adelman the range and ability to bring a competitive team out of this bunch. We are a far cry from NBA brilliance, but consistently competitive would be a good first step in this destined to be shortened 2011 season. Adelman might just be the man for that job.