Houston Rockets hire Rick Adelman as new head coach
Houston Rockets Owner Leslie Alexander today named Rick Adelman as the 11th head coach in team history. Adelman, who returns to the bench after a season's absence in 2006-07, has recorded the sixth most wins among active NBA coaches behind Don Nelson (Golden State), Pat Riley (Miami), Jerry Sloan (Utah), Phil Jackson (L.A. Lakers) and George Karl (Denver). He also stands as one of only five head coaches in league history to win 60 or more games with two different teams.
"This is an exciting day for the entire Rockets organization," said Alexander. "Rick Adelman has been to the Finals twice and has led his team to the playoffs 14 times in 16 seasons-that record speaks for itself. Every player I've spoken to has nothing but wonderful things to say about him as a coach."
Adelman owns a career record of 752-481 (.610) in 16 NBA seasons as a head coach with the Portland Trail Blazers (1988-1994), Golden State Warriors (1995-1997) and Sacramento Kings (1998-2006). He also holds a career 70-68 (.507) mark in the postseason, as his teams have reached the playoffs 14 times in 16 seasons. Adelman's trademark offenses have finished among the top five in the NBA in scoring on 12 occasions over his head coaching career. He has had three additional teams rank in the top 10 in points per game. When matched with pace of play, Adelman has had five squads finish in the top five in scoring defense.
"My family and I are thrilled with this new opportunity," said Adelman. "From my perspective, this team is ready to win now. They had a great run last season that unfortunately fell short, but the pieces are in place for sustained success. Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming are two of the league's brightest young stars and the team has done a very good job of surrounding those players with solid role players. I have been very impressed with the team as an observer the past few years and now I am excited at the possibilities of coaching this group."
Known around the league as a basketball teacher with an ability to mold a team's style of play around the strengths of his players, Adelman's coaching highlights include a pair of NBA Finals appearances (1990 and 1992 with Portland), four trips to the Western Conference Finals (1990-92 with Portland and 2002 with Sacramento) and four division titles (1990-91 and 1991-92 with Portland; 2001-02 and 2002-03 with Sacramento). Adelman has been runner-up for NBA Coach of the Year honors three times (1990-91 with Portland; 2000-01 and 2001-02 with Sacramento). He has also coached the West Team in the NBA All-Star Game on three separate occasions (1991 with Portland; 2001 and 2003 with Sacramento). Adelman has been named NBA Coach of the Month five times over his career.
Prior to joining the Rockets, Adelman recorded a 395-229 (.633) record in eight seasons as head coach of the Kings. He guided Sacramento to playoff appearances in each of his eight campaigns, compiling a 34-35 (.493) mark in the postseason. Sacramento won 50 or more games in five consecutive seasons (2000-01 through 2004-05) under his leadership, including back-to-back Pacific Division titles in 2001-02 and 2002-03. Adelman left as the winningest coach in Kings franchise history after inheriting a team that had won only 27 games in 1997-98. The Kings went on to finish with a record above .500 in all eight seasons under his direction. Prior to Adelman's arrival, no Sacramento-era Kings squad (since 1985-86) had registered a winning record.
While in Sacramento, Adelman turned the Kings into the highest scoring team in the league by going from an average of 93.1 points per game in 1997-98 to an average of 100.2 points in 1998-99, this despite the league average dipping from 95.6 points per outing to 91.6 over the same span. Sacramento continued to increase its scoring to a league-best 105.0 points per game in 1999-2000. Overall, the Kings topped the NBA in scoring for three straight seasons (1998-99 through 2000-01). Sacramento had its streak snapped by finishing second in the league in scoring average in 2001-02 (104.6), but still advanced to the Western Conference Finals.
In his first season with the Warriors in 1995-96, Adelman's influence helped Golden State reduce its points allowed from 111.1 per game to 103.1, which marked the fewest for the franchise in 20 years. In addition, the 1995-96 Warriors outrebounded their opponents (3,458-3,406) for only the second time in 14 seasons. Adelman also reached the career 300-win mark in just 468 games, which at the time was the seventh fastest in NBA history. His 1996-97 Golden State team also improved from 13th to ninth in the NBA in scoring.
Adelman joined the Portland staff in 1983 under Jack Ramsay and served as an assistant coach until Feb. 19, 1989, when he replaced Mike Schuler as head coach. In nearly six seasons at the helm of the Trail Blazers, Adelman racked up a record of 291-154 (.654) in the regular season and a 36-33 (.522) mark in the postseason. He twice coached the Trail Blazers to berths into the NBA Finals, qualifying Portland for the playoffs in all six of his seasons. He also led the Trail Blazers to four consecutive 50-plus win campaigns. Adelman still ranks as the second winningest coach in franchise history behind Ramsay.
In his first full season as head coach in 1989-90, Adelman guided the Trail Blazers to a 59-23 record and a trip to the NBA Finals. The following season, Portland won the Pacific Division title behind a league-best mark of 63-19, advancing to the Western Conference Finals in 1990-91. In 1991-92, the Trail Blazers captured their second straight Pacific Division crown with a 57-25 record and went to the NBA Finals for the second time in three seasons. Adelman recorded his 200th victory in just the 288th game of his career in a 115-90 win vs. Detroit (11/22/92). At the time, no coach in league history had reached the 200-win plateau in fewer games.
Adelman began his coaching career at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon, where his teams amassed a 141-39 record over six seasons (1977-83). Chemeketa won or shared in three Oregon community college championships and one regional title.
As a player, Adelman spent seven seasons in the NBA with the San Diego Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Jazz and Kansas City-Omaha Kings. Selected by the Rockets in the seventh round (79th overall) of the 1968 NBA Draft out of Loyola Marymount, the 6-foot-2 guard averaged 6.7 points, 3.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds in two seasons as a reserve in San Diego. Adelman was taken by Portland in the 1970 NBA Expansion Draft and was made the first team captain in Trail Blazers history. Traded by Portland to Chicago, Adelman later served stints with the Jazz and Kings before retiring in 1975 with career averages of 7.7 points and 3.5 assists in 462 NBA games.