Well, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that Rick Adelman’s coaching future was up in the air. Adelman, 68, returned this season after his wife’s health improved, but there’s no telling how long he’ll stick around. His decision, from the sound of things, may hinge largely on how the Minnesota Timberwolves fare in the NBA Draft. Per the Portland Tribune:
“We’ve lost so many close games,” Adelman says. “We’re still within striking distance, but winning has to be a consistent theme. We’re getting better, but we haven’t gotten there yet.”
Defense is the biggest problem. Minnesota is second in the NBA in scoring average (106.9) but last in the NBA in opponents’ field-goal percentage (.473).
“We’re just not that good defensively,” Adelman says. “We’re more of an offensive team. We get to close games, and we’ve broken down at the end, not getting stops at the right time.
“The other part of it, we’ve been up and down with our play with certain people. Kevin Love has been very consistent, and (Nikola) Pekovic has gotten better and better. But we need our perimeter people to be consistent offensively, and we just haven’t done it in close games. We’ve turned it over, we haven’t made shots when we needed to.
“Kevin can get his shot, but it’s easier to take big guys out of the game. When you have a perimeter person who can break people down and help his teammates, that’s a different story. We don’t have anybody doing that on a consistent basis.”
Adelman’s contract has a two-way option after this season, meaning he can opt to leave, or the Timberwolves can choose to terminate his deal. He says he likes owner Glen Taylor and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders, brought in last May to replace Portland native David Kahn.
“We’ll take a hard look at it after the season,” he says. “As you get older, you get tired of the travel. We gutted the whole thing when I arrived (in Minneapolis), and we have a good nucleus, with some good young players we can build around. We need to do some things in the draft. The Blazers got (Damian) Lillard, and he ended up being a real find. We did that in Portland (in the late ’80s) with Terry Porter and Jerome Kersey and got something going. That’s what we have to do (at Minnesota). It’s a matter of getting some breaks, getting a couple of players who can make a difference.”