All Access: Summer League Coaching
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Timberwolves player development coaches David Adelman and Shawn Respert were a big part of helping the team’s players improve throughout last season. They spent both during and after practice leading Wolves players in extra drills, getting more comfortable while returning from injury and assessing what the guys needed to work on in the offseason.
During pre-draft workouts at the LifeTime Fitness Training Center, they were front and center helping lead the drills. Working under Rick Adelman, the two know the system and are highly regarded in the locker room.
Now, both Adelman and Respert are getting the chance to take the next step in their own coaching development: Both are leading the Timberwolves’ Summer League squad as co-head coaches.
The two are rotating head coaching responsibilities during the week—Adelman coached on Monday against the Clippers and Thursday against the Cavaliers and Respert coached Tuesday against the Bobcats. .
For both, it’s an exciting chance to lead the way at the NBA level.
“For us as young coaches we’re getting an opportunity to showcase some of the things that we’ve watched along the way obviously with head coach Rick Adelman and assistant coaches Terry Porter, Bill Bayno, T.R. Dunn and Jack Sikma, who have spent a lot of years on the sidelines,” Respert said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to regurgitate without the actual former doing it a lot of the things we have seen them be successful in telling our players.”
The duo certainly has a collection of personal experience that will help their cause.
Respert was a standout at Michigan State in the 1990s and had a four-year NBA career. He began coaching after retiring from the NBA, worked his way into a director of basketball operations position at Rice University, moved on to the director of player development in the NBA Development League and joined Rick Adelman’s staff in Houston in 2008.
David Adelman has been around the game his entire life as his father coached around the NBA. He spent much of the past 10 years as an assistant and head basketball coach for his alma mater, Lincoln High School in Portland, Ore. He went 83-53 in five season as Lincoln’s head coach before joining the Wolves staff last year.
David Adelman said getting the chance to be a head coach at any level comes with a great deal of responsibility, so being able to take control of the Wolves’ Summer League roster is an exciting challenge.
He said their main goal is to take the collection of talent hailing from NCAA Division I basketball, former stints in the NBA and elite levels overseas and get them comfortable with the system. He said Summer League is a good place to start given the way the players on the club are focused during the week. The guys are trying to make an NBA roster, so there is an extra sense of urgency for them each day.
“It’s a great brand of basketball,” David Adelman said. “Everybody is trying to get a job. Everybody’s looking for the next opportunity.”
The balance between being creative and being simplistic in the team’s scheming and game plans is challenging, David Adelman said, because the group had only three days before heading to Las Vegas to work with the guys. But the club looked in sync during their first game on Monday, and they tried to push the basketball when possible to try and get some easy transition baskets.
Respert said he has a mixture of excitement and nervousness inside him before his debut—it’s a whole new ballgame when you are the one making the decisions on what to call, how to handle players and when to make adjustments. But that’s all part of the learning experience.
Both are fully prepared to take that next step.
“It’s a really unique opportunity for us to display some skill set that we have in coaching and teaching the game, and have some young players that are looking forward to showcasing their skills,” Respert said. “We have to put them in the best situation to hopefully show what they can do as well as showcase what we can do as a team.”
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