The end of an era is here.
As Wolves fans, we’ve been abundantly lucky to watch one of the greatest basketball minds and winningest coaches of all-time call the Twin Cities his home for the past three years. It didn’t end as planned, but don’t let that change how you felt when David Kahn and Glen Taylor pulled off the impossible and lured the living legend to the North Star State less than three calender years ago.
Think about what a coup it was. A largely incompetent, in-over-his-head Kahn was able to bring a brilliant coach on the precipice of 1,000 career victories, to a 17-win team. Insane. There is no rational explanation for the Wolves and Kahn’s ability to pull this hire off.
Then the lockout happened. Ricky Rubio, one of two big (only?) reasons why Adelman came to Minnesota, tore his ACL in March of the shortened season. And then knuckle push-ups, and two months of Rubioless and Loveless hoops, if you could call it that. The team improved in the win-loss column, but it was an empty feeling.
And then Kahn was gone, and Flip Saunders took over. This was the year. Ultimately, it was “the year”, but a year of a different sort than we all envisioned. The Wolves were historically unlucky, with the best point differential of a non-playoff team in recent memory. The close and late losses (Clippers, Suns, Mavericks/Ed Malloy all immediately come to mind) destroyed the differential early, and things only began to progress to the mean in the waning weeks of the season.
But in true 2013-14 Timberwolves fashion, they dropped a shoulda, coulda, woulda final home game against the Utah Jazz, of all teams, robbing them a .500 season. So significant and demoralizing was that loss that Adelman even brought it up in his retirement press conference. The eighth-winningest coach of all-time brought up a factually and tangibly meaningless April 16th contest, as a clear and frustrating microcosm of his career in Minneapolis.
We’ll have more later in the day regarding names of potential coaches that have been bandied about the interwebs, but for now, watch all the Adelman-coached highlights that you can. It’s a day to celebrate his league-wide legacy.