The Timberwolves held a press conference today in which they announced Rick Adelman's retirement as an NBA head coach. At 67 years old, Adelman is the oldest coach in the NBA, and with his wife dealing with medical issues the last few years, this news is not unexpected.
Adelman is the greatest coach in Sacramento Kings history. Now that isn't exactly a hard feat to accomplish, given that no Sacramento Kings coach aside from him has had a .500 or better record (wow we've sucked a lot). But even still, the Kings were one of the best teams in the NBA under him, and just a few shots and/or a Chris Webber knee away from winning a title.
In 8 seasons under Adelman, the Kings boasted a 395-229 record (.633). In comparison, since Adelman left, the Kings have been 215-425 (.336). The Kings also made the playoffs in all 8 seasons that Adelman coached, and have only made the playoffs twice without him (in 1985-86 and 1995-96).
Unfortunately for Rick, he himself wasn't able to find any more success after leaving the Kings, the team he spent the most time with during his career. Adelman was one of the unluckiest coaches I've seen, with multiple stars of teams he led having their careers cut short. In Houston, he joined a promising Rockets team that featured Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady in their primes, but both came down with injuries that reduced them to shadows of their former selves. In Minnesota, he spent a large part of the last few years dealing with major injuries to Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.
Adelman was not just instrumental to making the Kings and teams he coached successful, but also entertaining. Adelman's pass-heavy offense made the Kings "the greatest show on court" according to SportsIllustrated. He rejuvenated the careers of guys like Chris Webber, Doug Christie, and Bobby Jackson and turned Peja Stojakovic from a draft day joke into a star.
In his 23 years as a coach, he only had a sub .500 record six times. He's one of only a few coaches to win over 1000 games, and like many of the stars he coached, he's one of the greatest to never win a ring.
Just like Vlade Divac, Chris Webber, and Mitch Richmond, Adelman should be in the Sacramento rafters for all time. He never wore a jersey per se, but he was just as instrumental (if not more so), to the Kings on-court success during the golden years of Kings basketball and he should be honored for it. This Kings team might not even be here today if the Adelman-led Kings teams didn't help grow an entire generation of new fans, fans that are forever hungry to experience the feeling of success once again.
So farewell and best of luck to Rick Adelman with his retirement. The NBA won't be the same without him.