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Let the coaching speculation begin

The Houston Rockets added an intriguing name to the wish list of every NBA team with an embattled coach when it was announced yesterday that Rick Adelman would not return.

Adelman took the Portland Trail Blazers to the Finals twice, he coached those fun Sacramento teams in the early 2000s and he did well with the Rockets despite losing star players Tracy McGrady and/or Yao Ming to injury frequently. Adelman has one of the best wining percentages in NBA history and has had at least moderate success in three of his four coaching stops (And as for that fourth one, you can’t really blame the guy for not winning in Golden State. No one wins there.).

The Pistons don’t have a coaching vacancy yet, but Sean at Life on Dumars (and a few PistonPowered commenters) already have Adelman on the wish list:

Once the fate of John Kuester is finally decided, I will take a more in-depth look at available coaching candidates, but for now I just wanted to put Adelman’s name out there. If Tom Gores wanted to bring a tried-and-true coach, and make a big splash as a new owner, Adelman would be one way to do it.

There are sure to be other coaching names who Pistons fans will tout if Kuester is fired. The always vocal, ‘hire Bill Laimbeer’ sect will ratchet up the intensity as it does every time the Pistons job is open. Those who like to think big and impractically will wonder if Joe Dumars can coax Jerry Sloan out of his semi-retirement. And the terrifying Jeff Van Gundy is still out there assaulting ear drums for ESPN.

But Adelman is a more natural choice for one reason: Greg Monroe. In Sacramento, Adelman coached arguably the two best passing big men of the last 20 years (with apologies to Arvydas Sabonis) in Chris Webber and Vlade Divac. Monroe possesses a rare ability to see the entire court from the high post and there’s little doubt he could thrive in a creative offense that takes advantage of that skill.

The Pistons reportedly have not decided Kuester’s fate yet, and who knows if Adelman even wants to coach here or anywhere next season, but there’s no doubt a coach with Adelman’s track record should be able to command more respect in the locker room than Kuester, Michael Curry or even Flip Saunders did in their years as head coach.


  • Apr 19, 20113:17 pm
    by Kris


    I would be more than happy to see him on the Pistons bench. Great respect for the guy. Obviously, he could maximize Monroe’s potential, introducing Princeton like schemes, that Greg is familiar with since Georgetown days. But other players, like Gordon, Daye, Villanueva would benefit greatly as well. I do not think Pistons could bring in many players, that would have significant impact. So hiring veteran coach, who is able to introduce new system and whose teams have always played hard seems like a perfect fit.

    • Apr 19, 20113:55 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      You’re right. I think Gordon could succeed as a Mike Bibby-like point guard in Adelman’s offense. Bibby essentially dribbled the ball up for those Kings teams, got the ball to Webber or Divac, who ran the offense, and then he and the other two shooters on the court — usually Peja and Christie — just moved and spotted up for threes.

      • Apr 19, 20114:23 pm
        by Quick Darshan


        Daye = Peja

      • Apr 19, 20114:46 pm
        by swish22


        Patrick, first of all let me thank you for all the hard work you and Dan and others put into this Pistons Powered website.
        As far as Ben Gordon running the point I just can’t in a million years see it being anything but a big mistake. Ben Gordon is a shooting guard. He doesn’t handle the rock well enough and is one of the poorer decision makers with the ball in general. He needs to be the guy running off screens and shooting the rock! He plays hard and is very respectful of those in charge which are great strengths.
        His defense is very weak compared to others in the league at the 2 spot but I at least like the fact he does try and competes hard on every possesion. That being said his weaknesses defensively are exaggerated with the lack of any serious defenders near the hole. ITs tough when you get beat and the man standing near the basket is a seriously overmatched Austin Daye manning the power forward spot or Charlie “I’ll foul them in the belly” Vllanueva, Greg Monroe is getting better but he just doesn’t strike fear in anybody driving to the hole even though he might be our most physical defender on the block!

        • Apr 19, 20118:41 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          I wasn’t suggesting him as a traditional PG. If you remember how Sacramento used Bibby, as I said, he wasn’t a distributor. He guarded the worst of the two opposing guards because Christie was their lockdown guy.

          Bibby’s responsibility was to basically get the ball up to Webber or Divac. Then, he became the exact type of move without the ball shooter you are talking about. Bibby was on the floor to make shots and move without the ball. He did those things very well. He was an average ball-handler who didn’t create much off the dribble, just like Gordon.

          I would never ever think Gordon could run a typical NBA offense, but I think he could be very successful as a point in a Bibby-like role.

  • Apr 19, 20113:20 pm
    by Quick Darshan


    Adelman would be an ideal choice.  I love watching his offenses.  I’m completely in favor of having a coach that runs a motion offense.  And his Houston teams played tough defense despite being over-matched in the paint.

  • Apr 19, 20114:35 pm
    by swish22


    Rick “NO DEFENSE” Adelman, you guys are killing me!!  This is the last guy we need here in Detroit.  This team is one of the worst defensively I’ve ever seen. I’d also rank us LAST in INTENSITY and intestinal fortitude!!!  We need to do what the Bulls did!  Replace an offensive coach for a defensive tough minded coach!!   How do you figure that this guy would address our lack of toughness and lack of defense.  By scoring 110 a night!  No thanks, No way and I will vomit Bad Boys Blood for a week straight if this guy is the new coach!!   Defense and teamwork is what we need and plane reservations for a majority of the roster!  

    • Apr 19, 20115:04 pm
      by Jeremy


      Despite his gig running the offense in Cleveland, Kuster is generally known as a defensive coach…
      Also, hasn’t Houston’s defense been pretty solid the past several years? Obviously Battier was great for them at that end.

    • Apr 19, 20116:31 pm
      by Confused


      Swish 22, We lack intestinal fortitude? Do the Pistons get indigestion or diarrhea problems frequently?
      Re: “I’d also rank us LAST in INTENSITY and intestinal fortitude!!!”

      • Apr 19, 20117:11 pm
        by Tim


        Thanks for that great comment. i was wondering the same. Maybe Swish read a blog that said the Pistons were hemorrhaging points and didn’t see the “points.”

      • Apr 19, 20117:19 pm
        by Tim


        Also, what exactly does it mean to vomit bad boys blood? Besides being damn disturbing.

    • Apr 19, 20117:16 pm
      by Tim


      A good coach (and most bad coaches, actually) will make offense and defense priorities. But let’s face it, neither one is somehow more important than the other. Right now, this team needs defensive personnel more than it needs more offensive players. But it also needs a good coach, period. Whether that coach is better at offense or defense doesn’t really matter. And for what it’s worth, Adelman is not one of the very few coaches who is way better at one end than the other (like D’Antoni or Thibs).

    • Apr 19, 20118:50 pm
      by Patrick Hayes



      Here was the defensive rating for Adelman’s teams each year in Portland:

      4th, 3rd, 6th, 4th, 12th.

      In Houston:

      2nd, 4th, 17th, 19th

      In Sacramento:

      18th, 10th, 7th, 6th, 2nd, 21st, 23rd, 12th

      There are a few down years in there, but Adelman’s teams have been far from slouches defensively. They gave up more points per game because they played at a faster pace than most teams. But they were pretty solid at the defensive end overall.

      In Sacramento he had Doug Christie, considered one of the top defenders in the league, as well as guys like Bobby Jackson, Scot Pollard and Matt Barnes, who were all scrappy on D. He also coached Artest with the Kings.

      In Houston, he coached Artest again and had guys like Shane Battier and Kyle Lowery, very good defenders at their positions.

      And if you think those Portland teams weren’t good defensively, you’re crazy. Terry Porter, Jerome Kersey and Buck Williams were fantastic defensively and Drexler was always among the league leaders in steals. Plus, he had Cliff Robinson, one of the top defenders in the league for a good 12 years or so, on his bench.

    • Apr 19, 20118:54 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Come on. Thibodeau walked into a very good job. It’s not like he just showed up and dudes decided to play defense. Noah and Deng have been two of the best defenders at their respective positions for their entire careers. Keith Bogans and Ronnie Brewer have both been almost exclusively defensive stoppers. And his superstar, Rose, never played a lick of defense before this year, but he also happens to be the rare humble superstar who bought into what his coach was preaching. Thibodeau is a good coach, but he lucked into an extremely good situation in Chicago.

      You think he’d have similar success coaxing league-leading defense out of Charlie Villanueva and Chris Wilcox?

      Kuester has preached defense from day one. I’m not defending him, he’s a lousy coach. But he also has a roster that is ill-equipped to be a hard-nosed, defense-first team.

  • Apr 19, 20115:50 pm
    by rick


    I think Monroe is the ace up Joe’s sleeve is getting Adelman to come here. All great coaches want the opportunity to coach great young players who fit their mold, and you have to think Adelman has admired Monroe from afar. And if we have no cap space, the only way for Gores to invest in his new compnay and dramatically improve it is to pour all his money into a great coach. So if Gores throws a huge contract at him and makes him one of the highest paid coaches in the league, along with Monroe, I think he would seriously consider coming here.
    I know he may want to go straight to a contender at his age where he can win now, but with a great coach, we may not be as far off as we think. Great coaches have the ability to make a terrible roster look really good. And in a year or two, our young guys will be entering their prime. Plus, players on winning teams hold the most value. So if he could get us back to being a playoff team by next year, like what Collins did in Philly, we could start trading up some of these guys for better players, and get even closer to contending.
    I think if we signed him to a 4-5 yr deal, we could legimately be contending again by the 4th or 5th year.

  • Apr 19, 20116:22 pm
    by detroitpcb


    Rick Adelman is a very good NBA coach. is he right for the Pistons? There is no doubt that he would command more locker room respect. He tends to adapt very well to his players strengths and design an offense around those strengths, which as Patrick points out could involve using Monroe at the high post (especially if Prince leaves as expected). Undoubtably he would also look to push tempo which would benefit Stuckey. And i disagree with those people who say his teams do not play defense. Both Portland and Houston were solid defenive teams during his tenure. Sac is another story but i believe that had to do with personel.

    • Apr 19, 20118:57 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Even Sacramento had a handful of very good defensive seasons under him. PPG allowed isn’t a good measure because they played at such a fast pace, but they had length that forced guys into contested shots and they had fantastic rebounders in Webber, Divac and even Pollard as a reserve. Christie was phenomenal defensively at his peak and Bobby Jackson was a great ball-hawking guard off the bench.

      They were a championship level team, and championship level teams don’t have the success they did without playing some defense.

      And you’re right, those Portland teams were phenomenal. Maybe not quite Bad Boys-level defense, but they were up there. Buck Williams/Kersey/Duckworth/Cliff Robinson was as tough a frontline as anyone’s in the league at that time.

  • Apr 19, 20119:34 pm
    by Stephen


    As a Rocket and McGrady fan,here’s a few observations about Adelman.
    When he had Yao he had a very good defense,when he didn’t have Yao he had a very poor defense.(Also contributing were Brooks’ absolutely horrid D,Martins’ ole D and a distinct lack of shot-blockers. When Battier leads your team in blocks…) Adelman’s Ds have always been team oriented,w/a shot-blocking lane-denier being key.
    His offense is exquisite. It involves plenty of player movement and often creates open looks at basket. But in crunch time when teams become more physical,his offenses often grind to a halt,requiring a genuine-and reliable-shot creator to carry the team thru. It’s kind of strange in that he wants his team to run,but if there’s nothing there,his offense is very clock-consuming as the various picks,cuts are made.
    The issue I’d see Adelman having is he doesn’t appear willing to go thru a rebuild. He wants a team that’s close to contending.

  • Apr 19, 201110:47 pm
    by 2Tough


    Mike Bibby was never a traditional point guard, but I have no idea why you’d try to paint him out to be completely inept like Ben Gordon.  Bibby has been playing the point his whole NBA career.  He had a couple seasons in Vancouver where he averaged over 8 assists per game prior to joining the Kings.  Gordon doesn’t have anywhere near the skills that Bibby had running the point.

    • Apr 20, 20111:28 am
      by gmehl1977


      The point Patrick was trying to make (which i think you missed) was that with the Princeton offense the pistons would run under Adelman all Gordon would have to do was bring the ball up the court and get it to Monroe. Gordon is more than capable of doing that. He doesn’t have the PG skills to set up an offense like traditional PGs like Nash, Paul or even Billups.

    • Apr 20, 20119:17 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      Come on now 2tough, I know you hate facts, but let’s read what I actually wrote.

      First of all, your premise that Ben Gordon is “completely inept” is wrong. Gordon has proven that in the right role, he’s one of the best shooters in the league, an explosive scorer and a guy who even had the ability to put it on the floor and finish with his patented floater. The film is out there. He did those things for five years in Chicago. Has he been successful in Detroit? Absolutely not. But syaing he’s ‘completely inept’ is completely inept analysis on your part.

      Secondly, I never said that Gordon would be a better point guard than Bibby. I said he could succeed in a role similar to the one Bibby had in Sacramento, or even in Atlanta. Yes, it’s true. Bibby came into the league as a PG. He was very good at Arizona and was OK as a traditional point on some horrible Vancouver teams. But to say that he did anything in Sacramento or Atlanta that was “traditional” at the position is a stretch. The Kings ran their offense through their bigs. Bibby was a shooter (and a very good one), who didn’t handle the ball much once he advanced it past halfcourt. In Atlanta, his primary responsibility was to dribble the ball up and get it to Joe Johnson, then spot up for jumpers.

      The whole point of this is to say that Adelman is a creative coach who has used players in ways more traditional coaches may not have used them. That’s exactly what the Pistons need since they have a roster full of guys who don’t necessarily fit a single position perfectly.

  • Apr 19, 201111:01 pm
    by vic


    I think Adelman would be successful here, but i think from looking at his coaching history that you brought up (Christie, Yao, Battier, Artest) – he would need to have couple of good defenders on the team in order to succeed. He seems to be a shade bit on the offensive side.

    So having Biyombo, Jerebko, Stuckey, and Monroe would be a necessity to make Adelman successful here.  Especially Biyombo, because we don’t have any shot blocking presence with Ben Wallace up in age.
    Biyombo, Jerebko= defensive improvement in paint and on wings
    Adelman = offensive improvement from a proven coach
    10 – 20 additional wins next season for the Pistons.

    I’d also be happy with Laimbeer, because he would take all of our bigs to another level. Defense in the paint was our biggest weakness this season, we already have plenty of scorers.
    I’m not sure about his offensive prowess, but it can’t be that bad, he won a ‘ship with the WNBA, and he had to coach point guards.

    • Apr 20, 20111:21 am
      by gmehl1977


      What bigs Vic? I am guessing you mean big as in Monroe.

    • Apr 20, 20119:21 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      Vic, how can you be sure Laimbeer would take our bigs to another level, particularly on defense? I mean, Laimbeer supporters point to Kevin Love and credit his development to Laimbeer. That’s fine I guess, but it overlooks the fact that Love is a pretty bad defensive player.

      Laimbeer could very well be a decent NBA head coach, but he’s been on a staff of a miserable team for two seasons. I just don’t see how you can evaluate his ability to develop players based on that.

  • Apr 20, 201112:49 am
    by detroitpcb


    i would like to note that supposedly ALL of Houstons players expressed their desire to see Adelman return during their post season exit interviews.

  • Apr 20, 20112:19 am
    by Cliff


    Okay srsly had it with all those ppl who think Thibodeau is a miracle worker. True, he’s a good coach, but so far that’s all we can say about him. GOOD coach. He walked into a job that contained a fantastic roster with players who can play good defense and good offense. If the Bulls hired Q this yr I’m fully convinced that they still would’ve won at least 50 games. I mean, look at their team!
    In terms of Adelman, would LOVE to have the guy. All the good stuff have been said… but I think the issue is whether he would actually come to a team that is under reconstruction. Otherwise, I don’t see a problem with Bill Laimbeer, that guy is a local hero and his aggressive coaching style will instantly demand respect. Nevertheless, the best coaching staff: (head) Adelman, (assistants) Laimbeer + Brian Hill + whoever

  • Apr 20, 20112:20 pm
    by Oz


    Pistons’ problem isn’t with only Kuester. I believe his assistants are poor. Ok, Kuester knows a lot of offensive theory, but Pistons need DEFENSE! If Dumars gets Adelman, also he must take a defensive-mind assistant; like Mike Malone (NOH).
    We have young guys. Player development coach is very important for me. Especially for Monroe. Pat Ewing is coaching Howard. Rick Mahorn can do this job.
    Al last, Laimbeer. All supporters want him! May be, early for head coach, but he must be at Palace for Bad Boys spirit!
    (Sorry, i don’t know English very well.)

  • Apr 20, 20119:05 pm
    by 2Tough


    I didn’t say Gordon was completely inept as a basketball player, though he’s been pretty close to that as a Piston.  I meant he is completely inept as a point guard.  And that’s 100% factual. There’s a reason NONE of his coaches have ever run him for long stretches at the point…  because he is simply incapable of playing it, in any system.
    This offense will never flourish with Gordon at the point, and I don’t care how much you minimize the importance of the position.

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