Long-time NBA coach Rick Adelman signed on during the offseason to take over a Timberwolves franchise that won just 17 games in 2010-11 and hasn't had a winning season since 2004-05. Adelman is the eighth-winningest coach in NBA history, having coached the Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings and, most recently, the Houston Rockets.
In his 20 seasons as an NBA coach, Adelman has posted a 945-616 record and has had just three losing seasons. In Minnesota, he inherits young talent such as Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and rookies Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio.
Adelman addressed reporters at the team's media day and is the subject of this edition of 5 Questions.
1. How did you spend your time during the lockout?
ADELMAN: It was really difficult. I think the thing that made it so difficult is you never knew when they were going to come to an agreement. I always knew it was going to happen quickly, whenever it came together. . . I basically spent a lot of my time back in Oregon where we lived, just waiting for something to come back and forth here, just to get something set up here. It was just kind of you're always living in the unknown. I couldn't talk to the players. . . We're all going to have to figure out a way to build trust here in a short period of time. There's a lot to do in a short period of time.
2. What did you see on the roster that made you say, yeah, I want to be a part of that?
ADELMAN: I knew they had a lot of young players. When we played them last year, I was always surprised. I thought they should have won more games, which, again, you're not here, you're not coaching, you don't know why things happen. The last two years in Houston, we went from having two superstars and being one of the favorites to basically kind of a young group and have guys take on roles that they weren't brought in to do. But I found I really enjoyed the experience coaching that group because you saw the growth. You saw them grow into roles. You saw them grow into leadership roles. I had a lot of people come in and out there, and I really enjoyed that experience.
3. How much did the chance to coach Kevin Love affect your decision?
ADELMAN: He's one of their best players, so he definitely was someone that I kept telling our people in Houston, you figure out a way to get him with Yao (Ming) and we've got something. I knew what type of player he was. It gives you a starting point. . . I never thought he was going to rebound like he did last year. I knew he was going to be a good rebounder, but you never know. That just shows you what type of ability he has. His strengths are certain areas. . . We have to find a way to put him in those good areas.
4. How do you get the most out of Michael Beasley?
ADELMAN: I think it's a growth that guys go through in the league. They come in, very talented player. He's very quick against four-men, he should really be overpowering with three-men. He can play both positions. His growth is going to come, like I said about Kevin, if he starts making his teammates better. When he gets the ball, we're hoping he's going to be able to attack. If they come at him, he's got to find somebody else. He's got to be as consistent as possible, like everyone on this team, defensively. The effort's got to be there all the time.
5. How do you balance making decisions in terms of winning versus developing players?
ADELMAN: You go with the people that are helping you win. I know about development. . . Potential gets coaches fired. Now, it's even worse. I've been doing this a long time. I took this job. I'm not worried about any of that. . . I'm way past that. I'm going to try to play the people that give us the best chance to win. I may have to experiment and I may play the wrong people at the wrong time, but that's what I'm finding out.