Rick Adelman is Not the Man for the Job

According to Marc Stein, the Lakers are “very interested” in Rick Adelman as a potential replacement for Phil Jackson. If Jim Buss is taking the meeting then let’s hope it is only to pick the brain of a veteran coach as the search begins.

Rick Adelman is not the man that will breathe life back into this dynasty.

I feel as if I’ve followed Adelman’s career at every step of the way as he seemingly always ends up helming the ship of a Lakers’ rival. From Portland to Sacramento to Houston, Adelman has found success at every stop. That’s as long as you’re not defining success by winning titles.

Adelman, in many ways, is a great fit for the Lake Show. He’s an accomplished coach with a presence veteran players respond to. Adelman has always been able to get his teams to unify for a common cause while getting players to buy-in to their roles.

He’s also failed to the giant leap from being a good coach to a great one.

You can argue that Adelman has had the unfortunate luck of running into the Bulls of the 90s and the Lakers of the early 2000s. But I’ll be quick to refute that the great ones find a way to break through.

If he wasn’t able to get his teams over the hump then what is going to be the difference now?

I have no doubt Adelman would be able to take this team to the top of the Western Conference. I have all the confidence in him to even get these guys back to the NBA Finals. Beyond that my trust in Adelman’s ability to hang another banner in Staples is minimal at best.

Obviously there is no way to replace Phil Jackson. There is no candidate out there with a resume in the same galaxy as PJ. I’m not concerned with finding another coach that has won rings. What I am concerned with is the Lakers getting a guy in place that doesn’t have the stench of failed expectations following him around.

Adelman is more than qualified, no doubt about that. But as Rudy Tomjanovich learned the hard way, coaching in Los Angeles is much different than coaching in Houston.

The expectations in L.A. are to hang championship banners. There is no sense of accomplishment just for winning the Pacific Division. In Sacramento they hung banners for those. In Los Angeles it’s a footnote in the L.A. Times.

Adelman is a good coach. He’s just not good enough for the Los Angeles Lakers.

If we were talking about a team rebuilding then I’d be more than happy to see Adelman on the sidelines. But since we’re talking about a team that still has title aspirations I’m not seeing Adelman as the man to make that leap.

So much has been made about all the talent PJ has coached over the years. As if any stiff off the street could stroll in, hand a ball to MJ or KB24 and then sit back while waiting to be fitted for a ring every June.

Not the case.

It takes something special to get a locker room full of egos and extreme confidence to believe in one man’s message. It takes a unique individual to know how to properly pace his team through an 82-game season while keeping one eye on the playoffs. It takes a great psychologist to know the exact buttons to push at the key moments to get the most out of all that talent.

Adelman has had plenty of talent over the years. His teams in Portland were stacked and yet he could not get them over the hump that was Phil Jackson’s Bulls. His teams in Sacramento were loaded with talent and he couldn’t get them past their SoCal rivals that were PJ’s Lakers.

Adelman is a very good coach but good won’t cut it with this roster. While I’m not exactly sure who should replace Jackson I do know who shouldn’t.

Rick Adelman is a great place to start this search but it can’t end with him. If it does then there is little doubt any hopes of getting another title out of this roster will end as well.

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Tags: Jim Buss Kobe Bryant Michael Jordan Phil Jackson Rick Adelman Rudy Tomjanovich

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