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A puff piece on Rick Adelman

Richard Justice wrote yet another article on the Rockets.  Even though he's probably counting the days until he can write about the Astros again.  This time he wrote about Rick Adelman... in a positive light.

Color him unflappable. In a season of injury and tension and disappointment, there aren’t many nicer things you can say about Rockets coach Rick Adelman.

That's because Coach Sleepy has been a disappointment this year and no one has anything nice to say about him to begin with.  JVG would never allow a team this talented to sleepwalk through the Toronto game or be 24-16 at this point.  The team is becoming a reflection of their coach.  This is not a compliment.

“He’s just a really calm guy, and that’s something you come to love,” Rafer Alston said. “He was rock-solid through the 22-game winning streak, and he has been the same way through the ups and downs of a season like this.”

To Rafer... everyone seems calm by comparison.

This season was supposed to be different for the Rockets. Surely, they wouldn’t be decimated by injuries again. Surely, they would get past the first round of the playoffs this time.

Of course it's supposed to be different.  It's a different year, with different players and we even added Ron Artest and another Barry family member.  ... anyone who expected Tracy McGrady to average 30 a game and play 80+ games is a moron though.  Richard Justice qualifies.  (And how is it that Dickie is already writing off the Rockets' chances to advance this year?)

Through it all, Adelman has remained pretty much the same, never losing sight of the bigger picture or publicly expressing the frustration he surely feels.

It's because he's asleep.  Blissfully ignorant of what's going on.

“Players appreciate how Rick deals with them,” Turner said. “I can’t tell you how many guys that have played for him would like the chance to play for him again. He’ll blow up in meetings. He’s human. Certain things get to him. But he doesn’t let the players see that side of him.”

Uhhhh... players like playing for all sorts of coaches that don't threaten their livelihoods.  That isn't a good thing.  Who wouldn't want to play for a coach that doesn't seem to be bothered if you screw up repeatedly? 

When I see quotes about how much players like a certain coach -- that sends up red flags to me.  The best coaches are typically despised on at least some level by their players.  Once the players feel complacent and comfortable with the coach, they lose the "edge" that is needed to compete at the highest levels every night.  I'm not saying I want players to lack respect for their coach.  But I do think it's healthy for players to fear their coach, too.

Adelman seems to have a bit of Joe Torre in him. Fans see Torre sit there night after night, same body language, same facial expression.

Except that Torre has four rings and the credibility that comes with being a champion.

Adelman’s players say he has some of that communication gift in him.


“You know when he’s mad,” Luther Head said. “He doesn’t have to say anything. We know what we’re supposed to do, and we know when we don’t do it. Sometimes you’d rather he said something. Sometimes it’s worse because he doesn’t say anything.”


Adelman doesn’t use the media as a sounding board or a way to talk to his players. If he has something to say, he says it directly.

Luther Head being the obvious expert on this... though I'm not sure Luther actually knows what he's supposed to do.

So how has he dealt with this season of challenges?


“I’ve always felt there were certain things you can’t control,” Adelman said. “Injuries are one of those things. You have to focus on the things you can: giving a good effort, doing the right things.


“The thing about this team is that we have a lot of character guys. Players can tune you in or out. My message has always been that it’s not my team. It’s our team. I respect their opinion. It’s my job to listen to them.”

No, it's their job to listen to you!  At least now I know why Adelman's offense is ignored by the starters.  Adelman, meanwhile, has apparently accepted that his in-game narcolepsy is beyond his control.

“We’ve had some tough losses,” Battier said. “Another coach might have become so frustrated that it could have lost his team. All coach Adelman asks is that we work hard and stick together. We’re lucky to have him.”

As Chris Rock once said... if you want something, you have to come correct.  There is no asking nicely.  People will walk all over you if you only ask nicely.  Adelman needs to DEMAND that the Rockets play hard.  And he needs the team to know that HE is the boss.  Not the other way around.

Can you picture JVG nicely asking T-Mac to play hard and actually try on defense?  Yeah, me neither.

Wake up, Ricky!