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Coaching candidate profile: Rick Adelman

Photo: Former Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman is among the candidates for the Lakers' vacant coaching job. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images / February 1, 2011. Below is the second post in a series focusing on the Lakers' coaching candidates to replace Phil Jackson.

Candidate: Rick Adelman

Coaching background: Adelman, 64, is eighth in all-time victories with a 945-616 record in 20 NBA seasons as a coach with Portland (1988-94), Golden State (1995-97), Sacramento (1998-2006) and Houston (2007-11). Adelman guided the Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals twice, losing in 1990 to the Detroit Pistons and 1992 to Jackson's Chicago Bulls. Despite being the most successful coach with the Sacramento Kings with a 395-229 regular-season record and eight consecutive playoff appearances, Adelman was fired after the 2005-06 season. He then guided the Houston Rockets through four-injury riddled seasons with a 193-135 record and a competitive seven-game series in the 2009 semifinals against the Lakers despite Yao Ming's absence for most of the series and season-ending injuries to Tracy McGrady and Dikembe Mutombo. The Rockets fired Adelman after Houston went 43-39 this season, falling short of a playoff spot by three games despite Ming's appearing in only five contests.

Pros:'s Marc Steinreported that one reason why the Lakers are "very interested" in hiring Adelman points to his "corner" offense bearing some similarities to Jackson's triangle offense. Lakers owner Jerry Buss told Playboy Radio's Michael Eaves and Bonnie-Jill Laflin on Sirius XM Radio Tuesday that “we’re not going to continue exclusively with the triangle" before adding, "certainly, there will be facets of the triangle incorporated into any modern offense." Should the Lakers pick Adelman, the adjustment wouldn't be as severe, considering that The Times' Broderick Turner reported that the corner offense involves more "spontaneous pick-and-roll plays." Turner also notes that Adelman shows exceptional skill at working with big men, a valuable asset considering the Lakers have two 7-footers (Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol) and a versatile 6-10 swingman (Lamar Odom).

"He's a very astute guy about the game behind that kind of 'Oh, shucks' demeanor,' " Jack Ramsay, the Hall of Fame coach who hired Adelman as an assistant in Portland in 1983, told the Associated Press in 2008. "He's a bright, thoughtful guy with great experience as a player and a coach. He's always taken what he has and maximized it. That's the sign of a really good coach."

More importantly, all accounts suggest that Adelman knows how to earn respect from players. The reasons go beyond his extensive coaching experience and ability to give the Lakers competitive playoff series in the 2002 Western Conference Finals coaching the Sacramento Kings and the 2009 Western Conference semifinals coaching the Houston Rockets. It even surpasses the familiarity Adelman would have with Ron Artest, who played for him with the Kings and Rockets. The reasons also point to his people skills and willingness to adapt to circumstances, a must-have quality for a veteran-laden team that features Kobe Bryant. Having coached stars, such as former Blazers guard Clyde Drexler, former Kings forward Chris Webber, Yao and McGrady, Adelman shouldn't feel overwhelmed with dealing with the Lakers' stars.

"He's a good human being and the players sensed that immediately," Drexler told the Associated Press about Adelman in 2008. "He'll never embarrass a player, he'll never call one out to make a point. He's always respected his players and always got a lot of respect from his players because of that.

"He would be open to suggestions," Drexler continued. "We would ask to change things and he would say, 'OK. Yeah, let's try it. That will work.' It all came together through communication, and then with the hard work to get to that stage." 

This is different from Jackson's approach, whose needling came with mixed results. In the 2010-2011 season, Jackson's frequent teasing of Gasol and Artest wore on them. Although Jackson's motivational tactics had worked before, perhaps the Lakers would respond better to Adelman's more direct approach simply because it's different.

Cons: The easy criticism points to Adelman's zero championships, but that's overblown considering that  all of his teams overachieved. No, what might make Adelman a bad draw might actually point to how he'd adjust in handling all the hoopla surrounding the Lakers. Although Adelman grew up in Lynwood, went to high school at St. Pius X in Downey and was a standout at Loyola Marymount, coaching in Los Angeles would entail an adjustment period. The Sacramento Bee's Joe Davidson described Adelman as not a "big-media kind of guy," a certain job requirement in thriving with the Lakers. It's not really about media relations as it is about dealing with all the external and inevitable distractions Los Angeles offers. All coaches have to handle that to some degree, but it's easier for players to be led astray here when the branding and marketing opportunities and the glitzy night life prove too enticing. 

--Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Former Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman is among the candidates for the Lakers' vacant coaching job. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images / February 1, 2011.

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"Certainly, there will be facets of the triangle incorporated into any modern offense." Buss, Jerry LA Times Article, Mark Medina


Could he be alluding to Adelman and his "Corner Offense?"

I like Adelman about as much as Brian Shaw.

Shaw would be the unknown young coach who's most familiar with the current players and system.

Adelman is one of the coaches in the league who's come closest to winning it without quite ever making it over the top. He took Portland to the finals twice and had good teams in Sacramento and Houston who were some of the Lakers biggest opponents in the playoffs.

Adelman's teams have always been strong on defense, and that was certainly lacking most of this season for the Lakers.

Perhaps with the amount of talent the Lakers have, and with Adelman re-focusing them on defense, they'd be just what each other needs to get back to the rings.

watching the Bulls vs. Heat.

great game.

Thanks for the series (on possible successors).

Of all the known names mentioned, Adelman would be my first choice. Van Gundy too, (mis-)assuming mutual interest. Shaw would be next. Anyone-but-Dunleavy thereafter.

:( - Possibly, although Buss didn't talk about any possible candidates.

I can't believe this Miami team. I know I'm supposed to be objective, but it's not fun watching this team suddenly find its way when it mattered. This season simply doesn't make any sense - Miami suddenly maturing, Dallas no longer tanking, Oklahoma City losing composure, Lakers imploding. Wow

Sure hope they don't choose Adelman, I'm not a fan. He's a bit too much of a whiner for my taste. I hate coaches who cry to the refs all the time...just look at the photo in this post...tells you the whole story. :-)


@LRob and Amit: Sorry guys, haven't been able to post much lately. For today's musical contribution, Imma go with a legendary Jazz bassist...enjoy!


Let's go Ls...and make a comeback next season!!!!!

Can't play for OT on the road if your Chi. That can't be the play the coach diagramed - one on one rose v. james. You knew chi was toast in ot.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that three talented players can't put it together and win. Chemistry is overrated. Miami will torture Mark Cubin in 6.

Adelman is the guy. No comparison Adelman to shaw - not even in the same league.


Yahoo is reporting that Mike Brown is now the leading candidate for our coaching position. Not sure if I like it or not.


MVP Rose coughing up game 4!

People, it's not necessarily the coach, we need CP3 or DWill!! We have to move to the New NBA, which is Point Guard led!!

I like:


Bench? With this group we don't need no stinking bench!!

Anyone who didn't give Miami a shot, well I never understood that. They basically have an 09-10 Gasol with 2 Kobe Bryants. How can you lose with that combo?

Not sure about implosions. Much surer -- or at least inclined to believe 400+ games over 3 seasons finally caught up with the latest core.

That the Lakers are the only team to hit the 400-game plateau, the only team to reach 3 x Finals over 4, the only team with almost-50 postseason wins over the last 4 -- almost screams F-A-T-I-G-U-E both physical and mental compounded by a weaker bench AND the worst 3PT shooting over the last 4 x postseasons.

In fact, I'd be almost willing to say these Lakers "overachieved" this postseason as LA's core finally paid the price for sustainable success.

Agreed latopia-- team can't sustain that kind of success. But the sky is falling folks get the most coverage because they're the craziest. The lakers will need to deal with this Miami team for the next 3 years while kobe is still in his prime ring earning years (prey). And point guard is not the answer for that DJ. Lakers need another athletic shooting guard.

Longtime Laker fan here. I'll take adelman. The league is not point guard led. That's chi's problem: rose and inept big men on offense. the lakers tanked, but you have to give it to dallas; i say they'll beat miami, even though i hate cuban

For those who think a young quick PG is the answer to the Lakers problems, consider this: If the current Conference Finals trend continues, the NBA Finals might be comprised of teams whose starting PG's are 33 (Bibby) and 38 (Kidd) years old.

One thing for certain - Adelman teams play entertaining basketball, something always true of the recent Lakers. He got way beyond the expected performance from Houston, far better by the away than Van Gundy did with two healthy superstars. The Lakers do need a stinkin' bench, especially if Kobe cannot regain his game and we need a coach who can do more than hand the Mamba the ball in the 4th and watch. Adelman is my top choice among the available but I would not stop the search with the obvious.

Time for a reality check! First, you have Chicago choke and give the queen an unearned trip to the finals to face the unltimate chokers. Then web reports say that the Lakers are close to signing Mike Brown as their next coach. What a joke! Lebron is going to be queen for a day and dump his lame excoach on us. The only hold up is money. We better hope Brown is greedy. Adelman, Van Gundy, or Shaw...ANYONE but Brown! Surprised they didn't offer the job to McHale. Quick someone call Jerry West for advice, wait, sorry, forgot he works for Golden State now.

Correction: Rick Adelman was born June 16, 1946. That makes him 64 years old.

"This season simply doesn't make any sense - Miami suddenly maturing, Dallas no longer tanking, Oklahoma City losing composure, Lakers imploding. Wow"

Posted by: Mark Medina | May 24, 2011 at 08:37 PM

Definitely "Twilight Zone" material.

-I don't know about all of this PG talk. The Point Guards who are relied upon for scoring are tanking: Westbrook and Rose and the teams playing “team ball” are surely advancing. It’s a no-brainer that the Heat will meet the Mavericks in the Finals and defense is going to determine the winner.

You almost have to give the edge to Dallas because they have a legit Center and an insane Power Forward but it’s going to be difficult to contain LBJ. As much as I dislike the guy for his “race card” antic, he is undeniably the most athletic player in the game today, bar none. My gut says the Heat and my heart wants Dallas. Heat in 6! Dang…


Your argument is flawed on the Miami Heat end ... Bibby plays that position but the ball handling and playmaking is done by the princess and Wade. Bibby's job is to knock down open shots and attempt to play defense.

Btw great defensive effort from the Heat, hard as it is to admit :(

PSP Intern

What makes LBJ so "dangerous" is that he is a completely unselfish player. All of that athleticism and still, he'll take advantage of the other talent that surrounds him. Are you watching "Black Mamba?"

C'mon haters, how did you like the KING tonight? OUTSTANDING. The best closer in the game today, Kobe's not in this conversation. The Heat is James team not wade's, clutch shot after shot... the new Mr BIG SHOT. Rose looked like Kobe out there, building a BRICK house. LBJ just spanked his like BUTT in the 4th and OT, haters need to start a BANDWAGON" All on board Because to KING is Supreme" is the driver. LT riding shot gun, Snake sargeant at arms, Hobbitmage I know how much you love LBJ, I'll let you take the WHEEL.

Heat in 6 over Mav's

Yahoo! sports reported that LA is very close to deal with Mike Brown;_ylt=Ap11kdfxfEqb_O6tZN_n8Rk5nYcB?slug=aw-wojnarowski_lakers_coach_mike_brown052411

I certainly hope this isn't true.

I would prefer Shaw, Adelman, JVG in that order.

Report indicates Mike Brown to be hired as the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Posted by Matt Moore

Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area reports that the Lakers will hire Mike Brown as their new head coach following the retirement of Phil Jackson. Steinmetz reports two sources confirming a four-year, $18 million deal for Brown. Previous reports had Brown close to a deal following owner Jerry Buss telling reporters that the Lakers were "very close" to a new head coach.

Brown brings plusses and minuses, as he is a stellar defensive coach respected by veterans like those the Lakers have. Conversely, Brown is also a questionable offensive coach, relying on offensive assistants for help in that area. He is known as a key motivator, which the Lakers could clearly use after a lackadaisical season. But there are questions about his ability to wrangle stars after the way LeBron James dominated the situation in Cleveland. Now he faces an even more ego-heavy locker room.

There was talk the next Lakers coach would have to take a paycut, and should the report be accurate, this is a considerable cut from what Jackson made last season, and even moreso from the extension Jackson signed before the 2009 season.

There will be questions as to why Rick Adelman was not given the job, but Brown is a capable coach who fits in well with the veteran Lakers squad. It's a move for both stability and change, just what Buss was looking for.

- - -

I can live with it. He's from the Spurs system. He's young. He's won a COTY (OK, it was unmerited, but...). He led the Cavs to some impressive records, but didn't have a closer in LeBron. He DOES have one with Kobe though. He'd cater to Kobe's game, much like he did to LBJ's. I could see him accepting input from Kobe.

That being said, one concern is that he never really fully implemented an offense where Big Z was properly utilized with the Cavs, that might be a problem with Drew just starting to approach his prime years.

Let's see if this pans out...


@LTLF – Adelman’s teams have always been strong on defense….huh? He’s had some good defensive teams…like Portland and the first couple of years in Houston, but I wouldn’t classify him as a defensive coach. GS, Sac and Houston the last few years were all “offense first” teams.
I like him as a coach. I’m just saying he’s not a defense first coach.

@michael H – Mike Brown? Say it ain’t so. I’d much rather have BShaw.

@hobbit – Thoroughly enjoying the Heat/Bulls series also. Two very good defenses slugging it out.

@GDUB – Ray Brown is a true Jazz master and one smooth cat. Loved the education on the backend of Frankie and Johnny. Gene Harris put in work on Summertime. Nice way for me to jam while getting a little work done :-)

Reports of the lakers seriously considering brown for coach? I hope this is just more media garbage as I don't think this is the guy the lakers need to "rebuild".

Adelman, Sloan, Shaw, even jvg.

Not looking good if this is who buss and mitch are going to bring in....can't even imagine the garbage trades in store if this is the sign of things to come.

Should have brought back West!!!

@G Money - Gotta agree Lebron is the playoff MVP thus far. Dirk's been the MVP on offense...but Lebron is doing it on both ends. 5 more w's before Dallas or Miami is crowned. The Heat are definitely the favorites.

If Mike Brown is indeed hired I will say this....he coaches excellent defense...but he bring an offensive specialist with him.

I must handed to the Miami Heat .....they are a great team as much as I want them to loose. They're also one of least attractive team in the NBA. Not a very good looking team. First starting with Bosh, looks like an alien, Dewade has steriod jaws and LeBron has a steriod head. Just saying.

MM: Tom makes good points about the typepad login using google/twitter/facebook etc... being pretty painless way to go. It's a one-time registration that takes a minute, using twitter only took 15 seconds and all was good. The fact that this system eliminates to possibility of spoofs and anonymous attacks makes it preferable to the moderated system in use now - besides, I'm sure you have much better things to do with your time than playing traffic cop along with all you do.

Like Tom says, we have lemons so why not make lemonade out of it.

- - -

hobbit: I don't buy the idea about slowness of our bigs being that much of an issue, but in the overall concept of things speed is something we have been lacking for a while now, but this year it was painfully illustrated to all. However, if we were playing 3-or-4 on 5 on the defensive end, I think as much of it could be attributed to Fish than can be attributed to our bigs.

No argument from me about losing Ariza in '08 really hurt our chances. Definitely. Pierce really tore us up that series. I'm with you, we need to address our lack of scoring from the 3. I'll also say that the Ron Ron we got definitely wasn't the one we faced in that playoff series versus the Rockets. Defensively he still does fine, but his offensive game is a fraction what it used to be.

Good points about Kobe having no perimeter shooting to support his playmaking (because, like you say, he was our best playmaker). I can't remember the last knock-down shooter we've had since Byron Scott. Literally. We've had some decent shooters, but none had great years while here. All the way from George McCloud to Mitch Richmond to JR Rider to Glen Rice to Slava Medvedenko to VladRad to Sasha. A couple of good shooting draft picks that got little playing time and we never kept around - but that's about it.

I would LOVE to get a guy like Steph Curry - who could address our needs at point guard, bring speed along with being a knock-down shooter that would spread the floor. JR Smith? OJ Mayo? Don't know what they'll do, but definitely they need to put a shooter out there - that's for sure...


please let it be Brian. None of the other candidates come close to what the Lakers need. Continuity. Relationships. Respect. Motivation.

Props to you LRob. You've been singing the Heat praises even when many like myself have been knocking them all season. They have got their stuff together and are really starting to gel. LBJ as distributor makes them scary, and now this offseason they'll be able to fit in a couple of more pieces around their core.

Lakers and the rest of the NBA will have to deal with them for the foreseeable future.

Now that LeBron has the help he was looking for to shoulder the pressure he looks a lot happier and alongside Wade they make an incredible tandem. I am going to go as far as saying they might be a better SG/SF duo than even Jordan/Pippen.

I just can't see the Mavs beating this team. I guess the South Beach threesome will be racking up number-one of those 'not 5, not 6, not 7...' rings...


Bryan Scott with Princeton offense he learn from Aldeman in Sac went to NBA Finals with New Jersey Nets. This offense will make people in LA exciting to watch, everyone has a chance to touch the ball.

Mike Brown. hahahahahaha.

Dr. Buss is old not senile.

Hmmm...did the Lakers just throw Dunleavy name out there to make whoever they ultimately hire more desirable? I'm just saying...

As of right now, I just changed the settings to require users to sign in either through Typepad, Facebook or Twitter. Hopefully this helps rectify the problem.

Wow it's been a long time since I've posted here I guess considering we need to sign in now? I didn't realize it had been this long unless this is totally new?

To be honest, I am a bit disappointed with the choice of Mike Brown. He is a great defensive coach as previously stated, but what will happen to our offence? We are going to need to revamp everything if Phil is gone with the triangle and teaching an entire roster a new offense plus a huge focus on defence could be interesting. I can't wait for this season to end so that I can count down to the next one. I miss lakers games so much.

- Diandra

I also looked at the various sign in options. It actually includes more than just Typepad, Facebook and Twitter. It also includes Google, MySpace!, Yahoo, AOL/AIM, Blogger, Live Journal, and OpenID

Diandra - We just actually started this an hour ago to see if this will help rectify the problem with having insta post without having trolls and people stealing handles. We'll see

Brown is an intriguing choice with all the championship pedigree (Spurs) you'd want to succeed PJ.

Danny Ferry was a big component in Brown's success w/the Cavs so it'll also be interesting to see how well he works w/Mitch.

Otherwise, as a proven winner and an Anyone-but-Dunleavy, no complaints here.

Coach brown is a good choice and should improve the lakers defensive presence. I know everyone was impressed with the King's performance last night. 49 minutes of laying the Royal Sceptre down on Rose's head was impressive.

CornerJ here. New login sucks, but whatever it takes I guess.

First, I can't believe the Buss's choice is Mike Brown. Regardless of his credentials on defense, he had absolutely no control of either his star or his team. So his chances of controlling Kobe, Pau, Bynum, Lamar, and Ron-Ron are just a hair above zero. An unbelievably bad choice. Maybe this is the first step in "blowing this team up". If so, then I get it. Otherwise, not so much.

As for the playoffs, I LOVE the way all 4 remaining teams are playing. Great heart. Great quickness and energy. Aggressive defenses. And in the West at least, legendary shooting. Nowitzki in particular has the prettiest, most unorthodox, totally unstoppable, and deadly accurate shot EVER. That shot is just...not...human. And the Mavs whole lineup is ridiclulously good from anywhere on the court. You'll never see team perimeter shooting this good again.

So as well as the Heat are playing, and G Money, congrats so far, I'm going to pick the Mavs. I believe that Marion and Chandler will control the middle, and there's no way the Heat will be able go stop the outside shooting of the Mavs. Props also to Carlisle for the offensive adjustments he's been making in each series with his substitutions. He's really been exploiting matchups, and the team quickness in whipping the ball around to the open man is simply the best I've ever seen.

Lastly, speaking of quickness, the foot quickness of the bigs on all four teams left really exposes the fatal flaw of our bigs. I mean Noah, Ibaka, Chandler, Bosh, you name it. These guys can really move. Pau and Bynum are like tree stumps compared to these guys. Guys, our problem is much bigger than just getting a quick PG. Our bigs simply can't move, defend, rebound, attack the basket like these guys. And in the playoffs, that's the real game.


you wrote: I don't buy the idea about slowness of our bigs being that much of an issue, but in the overall concept of things speed is something we have been lacking for a while now, but this year it was painfully illustrated to all. However, if we were playing 3-or-4 on 5 on the defensive end, I think as much of it could be attributed to Fish than can be attributed to our bigs.

my response: Do you have any recorded games from this season? If you do,
go back and take a look.

The difference b/n D-Fish and our bigs is that D-Fish wasn't having any
"issues". He always tried to do the right thing. Bynum had health issues as
well and philosophical issues. i.e. I'm not getting my offensive touches, so
I'm not trying. [ note: this wasn't all the time. ] Pau just played like a chump
this year.


you wrote: Lastly, speaking of quickness, the foot quickness of the bigs on all four teams left really exposes the fatal flaw of our bigs. I mean Noah, Ibaka, Chandler, Bosh, you name it. These guys can really move. Pau and Bynum are like tree stumps compared to these guys. Guys, our problem is much bigger than just getting a quick PG. Our bigs simply can't move, defend, rebound, attack the basket like these guys.

my response:

1st. You've noticed the quickness issue. :)
2nd. Last year Pau was a good rebounder. I hope he can get that back.

btw, I'm picking the Mavs.

I know Lebron is the King but he sure did crown Rose. The Priest endorses Coach Bown as Lakers new coach. The man is a defensive genius. Remember he took a young Lebron and a cast of nobodies to the finals. Plus he had the best team record for 2 consecutive years again with LBJ and a bunch of scrubs. Plus his team the Cavs embarassed the lakers on XMAS day. He is now inheriting an all star team. Coach Brown should do wonders. Cons is that he stutters a bit and looks like Mistttttttterr Pottttttttoooo Head!

That should be Potato Head.

Let us all look and marvel at King James. Kobe can barely play 35 minutes without being exhausted. His Highness is playing 49 minutes and he is as fresh and full of energy at the 49 minute mark as the 1st. I hope yall heard Miller and Kerr say that King James is the true closer. Plus King James show that you can play unselfishly and still be a killer. Remember it was the Priest who said in the midst of the Heat's struggles in the regular season that would win the chip. Once again I was right. Unlike Hobbit I know basketball.

Heat vs Mavs in the Finals? Hmmmm. Nowitsk unstoppable. LBJ and DWade unstoppable and are both Jordan type calibre players. Bosh an all star player. But what is the most profound thing is that the Heat are playing lock down defense. It is like the 2008 Boston type defense actually. Mavs will be struggling for points. I would like carlisle to put the Kobe stopper, Kidd on LBJ . If he does King James will average 40 points. I predict the Heat in 6 games and LBJ will be named Finals MVP. Please save the Priest post for prosterity purposes.



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