Minnesota Timberwolves Coach Rick Adelman Joins Elite 1,000-Win Club

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2013

With the Minnesota Timberwolves' victory over the Detroit Pistons, Rick Adelman became the eighth head coach in NBA history to eclipse 1,000 victories for his career.

His latest sideline accolade puts him in the company of Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkens, Jerry Sloan, Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Larry Brown and George Karl. He was the fifth-quickest coach of the bunch to hit the milestone, having reached the 1,000-win mark in just 1,703 games.

Per Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, Adelman acknowledged afterward just how "special" it was to join this elite class of coaches:

It's special people. Some of the names up there, it's incredible. I never, ever expected to be with that group. But like I said before, I have had some really special situations and we were able to stay a couple of places for a long time, which doesn't happen in this league very often. To get that many wins, there are good players involved and good coaching staffs involved and good organizations involved. It was special to get this.

As much as Adelman reveled in his achievement, Berger also reminded us that his future with the Timberwolves, and the league in general, is in doubt beyond this season.

Adelman has missed ample time this year to tend to his ill wife, and earlier in the season he publicly contemplated whether or not he'd be back.

If he does, in fact, decide to walk away from the game, solace can be found in knowing he did so at a high point. Injuries prevented his Timberwolves from contending for a playoff spot, but he is the eighth-winningest coach in NBA history

Admittedly, his departure would still be more bitter than sweet.

Adelman was hired in September of 2011, much to the pleasure of Kevin Love and Co. Under his tutelage, the Timberwolves were destined to ascend from the depths of the league's basement, where they had been dwelling since Kevin Garnett was dealt to the Boston Celtics. And presently, he's well on his way.

Prior to Adelman's first season at the helm, Minnesota went 17-65 in 2010-11. Last year, (Adelman's first), the Timberwolves won 26 games amid a lockout-truncated schedule in 2011-12. Their victory over the Pistons (Adelman's 1,000th) was their 29th of the 2012-13 campaign.

Again, injuries have prevented Adelman from bringing Minnesota back to the playoffs, but his impact on the team has been profound. Eighth-winningest coach in NBA history or not, a permanent leave would be difficult to stomach for the Timberwolves, whose players have been left smitten by his work ethic.

"I love playing for him," point guard Ricky Rubio said following Minnesota's victory over Detroit (via Peter Kapsner of NBA.com).

Will Rubio and his teammates be playing for him for much longer?

We're not sure. Minnesota remains an unfinished product, but Adelman has to do what's best for him and his family.

If he ultimately decides to leave, he'll always have those 1,000 victories to look back upon; he'll always have the luxury of knowing he was one of the best at what he does.

"It's something I never aspired to, never thought about, but I'm glad I got it" (via Kapsner).

In the midst of a campaign that tested him both on and off the court, we're glad Adelman got it, too.