Posted at 2:15 p.m., Wednesday, July 4, 2007
NBA: Yao expects big things with Adelman as coach
By Christopher Bodeen
Attending a Special Olympics event today in his hometown of Shanghai, Yao said he had several conversations in Houston with the former Sacramento Kings coach.
"Our exchanges were very good," Yao said. "I'm pretty familiar with his style. It's pretty much like the national team's."
Hoping to end the team's recent history of postseason flops, Houston hired Adelman in May to replace Jeff Van Gundy, Yao's first and only other coach in the NBA.
Adelman, favors a fast-paced, high-scoring offense in contrast to Van Gundy's more methodical, defensive approach.
"It's a whole new situation, and I expect big things of next season," Yao said.
Yao felt an emotional impact with Van Gundy's departure. It was Van Gundy who had pushed hard to acquire Yao from his former team, the Shanghai Sharks.
"I spent four years with him so naturally the impact on me is relatively bigger," Yao said.
Earlier, Yao joined more than 1,000 athletes and volunteers at a suburban community center in creating tiles for a ceramic wall to promote the Special Olympics, which Shanghai is hosting from Oct. 2-11.
Yao was cheered when he entered the auditorium. He bantered on stage with a host before discussing the Special Olympics project with a ceramics specialist and an intellectually disabled athlete.
Yao also congratulated China's latest entrants to the NBA, Yi Jianlian and Sun Yue, who were drafted last week by Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Lakers. Yao urged Yi to concentrate on his game and let Yi's representatives handle attempts to work out a trade from the Bucks.
"The most important thing is to play well," Yao said. "A player's value is how he performs on the court."