I watched the upstart Minnesota Timberwolves for the first time last night and was very impressed.
The Timberwolves went into Los Angeles and beat a Clippers team 109-97. A major reason for their victory is that Head Coach Rick Adelman seemed to focus defensively on all of the Clippers except their two star players– Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
While doing play-by-play for the University of Calgary Dinos Women’s Basketball team in 2003, I saw Dinos’ head coach Shawnee Harle execute a similar defensive strategy against the University of Winnipeg to perfection. The fundamental approach is let the entire team you are facing beat you.
Tactically, Rick Adelman is an underrated basketball genious. Even though he has never won an NBA Finals, he has gone 963-633 while coaching the Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets and now Minnesota Timberwolves. What he has been able to do in Minnesota is amazing. Last season the Timberwolves were the worst team in the NBA defensively. Now they’re in the middle of the pack, and Minnesota is fighting for a playoff spot.
All throughout the game it went through my head, is why didn’t the Raptors make more of a push for Adelman when they had the chance after being fired by the Rockets? Why did they decide to settle on Dwane Casey instead? Adelman has more experience and has never been afraid to coach in smaller, less profile basketball markets. The Raptors blew an opportunity here my not going after the best candidate on the market.