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NBA Analysis: Would Rick Adelman be a Good Fit for Miami Heat?

After 4 seasons as head coach, Rick Adelman and the Houston Rockets have reached a mutual agreement to part ways. He was lured to the Rockets to coach a presumed contender with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, but interest had waned as the team was clearly trying to re-invent itself.  He had a 193-135 record, the best winning percentage (.588) in franchise history and moved to the 8th spot in NBA history in career coaching wins with 945.

Adelman, 64, would like to continue his coaching career if he is to land on a contending team.  His departure has incited speculation of a possible landing in Los Angeles, taking on the reigns and succeeding the soon-to-be-retired Phil Jackson.  Doc Rivers has been vocal about taking time off to see his son play basketball, leaving a void in Boston.  Stan Van Gundy’s contract was extended until the 2012-13 season, but an early playoff exit could affect his job security in Orlando.

Unfortunately for Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, an early playoff exit could mean a personal exit as well.

Philadelphia has proven to be a gritty underdog, but not nearly at the level of talent to become a factor in testing the Heat’s mettle.  The second round will likely bring the veteran Celtics and Doc River’s crafty playbook, possibly followed by an equally defensive anchor in Thibodeau’s Bulls. If the Heat overcomes both, the bloody survivor of the Western Conference will be surely prepared for the worst/best.  It’s not an easy path to the trophy, and any hiccup might decide Spoelstra’s fate as head coach of this team.

As for Adelman’s resume:

  • Selected in the 1968 NBA Draft by the San Diego Rockets (now the Houston Rockets), played professionally until 1975.
  • Coached at a community college in Oregon from 1977-1983, after which he was hired as an assistant for the Portland Trail Blazers.
  • He was given the coaching position of the Blazers in 1989, led the team to the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992, and the Western Conference Finals in 1991.
  • In 1995, he became coach of the Golden State Warriors, then in 1998, became coach of the Sacramento Kings until 2006, leading them into the playoffs every year.
  • He became coach of the Rockets in 2007, guiding them to a 22-game winning streak, the second longest in NBA history.
  • Never won coach of the year, but finished second in1991, 2001, 2002 and 2009.

Would Adelman be a good fit for the Miami Heat?  He’s well-tenured, has all the credentials of a winner but has never won a championship and is at an advanced age not complementary to the Big Three’s time in Miami.

Kyle Lowry on his departure (ESPN): "He's one of the best coaches I've ever had personally and I'm sure my teammates feel the same way. He's a great motivator, a great players' coach. He understood the game and players and how to get through to us."

Such pondering questions have now inspired research and insight on the history of championship coaches, their age and experience.  Too long for a single post.  Coming up next…

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