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The Search for Super Coach Begins

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Of course I'll weigh in on the Rockets' coaching situation.

So now we know Rick Adelman won't be back. Unlike some, I've got mixed feelings about this. I don't think coaches with Adelman's ability are easy to find. Adelman can make a top offense out of almost any collection of smart, reasonably talented players. Some coaches can't make a good offense with 3 superstars (Miami). And while Tom Thibodeau has got Chicago playing fantastic D, it's offense apparently boils down to

"Give Rose the ball. Let him do something awesome. Repeat." So far, that's worked. Chicago is one sprained D Rose ankle from disappearing. There is no plan B.

For all the Bulls wonderfulness and vaunted D, it's taken D Rose Miracles to get them wins against Indiana. Indiana, a team the Rockets effortlessly crushed. A team with a losing record and no really scary threats anywhere on the court.

What's the point of that? This: even a great new coach might not have everything you want. Chicago's offense is slightly higher functioning than Jeff Van Gundy's, but not much, and with much more talent than JVG had. And this is with the best new coaching prospect in a very long time, one who achieved an amazing feat with the Bulls.

Coaches who can do it all are rare. You want a leader of men, a defensive guru, and offensive genius, a teacher, a wily media manipulator, a guy who maximizes every asset and minimizes every flaw, a cold-blooded tactician, a free-thinker who nonetheless respects management, an easy-going guy who can get millionaires to play like their lives depend on it, a man the everyone respects, but who doesn't take himself too seriously, someone with boundless energy who never is ground down by the long NBA season and time away from his family, young enough to relate to the kids and old enough to have seen it all.

So by all means, let's go get that guy.

All this to say, I'm not entirely sure something better than Adelman is out there. Adelman didn't tick every box on my list, but he ticked a lot. How many will "super assistant" or "player turned coach" tick?

So we need a coach that will work well with young developing players? Well, that's supposedly Westphal in Sacramento. That team keeps adding talent, and keeps losing. Are the players in Sacramento developing? It's hard to say. Or how about LAC? Most ignorant NBA fans would probably tell you the Clippers had a better record than the Rockets, because Griffin is so so talented. Does Vinny Del Negro strike anyone as the guy who beats the steam drill of the Lakers down in LA?

So maybe we get a coach that will play TWill, but can he reach TWill? A coach who can play Thabeet, but can he teach Thabeet? Its not enough to throw the guys into the game, they have to know what they're doing.

I've watched a lot of players improve in many, many, ways under Adelman's watch. Lowry has blossomed into the best PG no one knows about. His second half was as good as any PGs, bar none. Carl Landry became an excellent player, and then regressed when he left, which tells you something. Scola learned to hit a shot with his left hand. Budinger went from a slick shooting, high flying rookie bench offense guy to a really solid all-around SF prospect. And so on.

For all the grumbling that Adelman hated rookies, he certainly integrated a lot of them, and got a lot out of them. Lots of young players too.

I'm not saying he was always right, and I'm not saying he did the right thing in never playing Williams and Thabeet, but I wonder who is going to be better.

Honestly, I wish there could have been a meeting of the minds with Adelman and the Rockets, but I can see both sides. No one is necessarily wrong, and no harm has been done. The contract ended, another one wasn't offered. That isn't offensive, but I think it might not work out as well as people think it will.