clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Rick Adelman Lands Fifth In NBA Head Coach Power Rankings

Mike Prada of SB Nation DC has a piece up on SBNation.com ranking the NBA's head coaches. It's an interesting concept, primarily because comparing head coaches, on the surface, sounds incredibly difficult given the endless variables that separate the good teams from the bad. It's also difficult to decide which means more: current, short-term success or an impressive long-term resume.

That said, I think Prada does a fantastic job with the article, providing many sane reasons for his rankings. Rockets head coach Rick Adelman is ranked fifth on the list, which I think is appropriate. Here's what Prada had to say about Adelman:

In 18 seasons as a head coach, Adelman has had a losing record just two times. That speaks to his ability to adapt to any kind of roster. In Portland, Adelman had an up-tempo team whose strength was rebounding and fast breaking. In Sacramento, Adelman had an elite passing team whose strength was half-court offensive execution. In Houston, Adelman has an elite defensive team with a traditional post-up player - until last year, when he had to adjust and push the tempo with Yao Ming sidelined. He's managed to succeed with all these styles, which makes him among the most adaptable coaches in the NBA. He gets criticized because his players have historically lacked the mental toughness to advance in the playoffs, but usually Adelman's clubs have just run into better teams. More than anyone, Adelman is victimized by the reality that superstars win in the NBA.

Ahead of Adelman are Jerry Sloan, Stan Van Gundy, Gregg Poppovich and Phil Jackson. I could make the argument that Adelman and Sloan deserve to be ahead of Van Gundy, but in all fairness, Van Gundy has gone further into the playoffs than Adelman ever has, and has done so in far fewer seasons as a head coach.

Check out the rest of the article. It's certainly worth your time.

UPDATE: I goofed. Adelman has been to the Finals twice. I somehow managed to overlook that. Suddenly, Van Gundy looks like he belongs fifth on the list, right behind Sloan and Adelman.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.