Since the Heat/Pacers series took an ugly turn for the worst tonight (during which the NBA rejoiced and thanked the gods that someone might be able to take over the vacant spot left behind by LA), I figured I’d post something related to the Utah Jazz.
Of course the only news out there – as we await our draft status – happens to revolve around a former Jazz coach, namely Jerry Sloan.
The legendary Hall of Famer recently talked over the phone with Fox Sports’ Chris Tomasson and discussed at length his his desire to return to the big stage (IE the NBA, or the Lakers/Celtics/Heat league if you’re ESPN) provided a team showed an interest in him.
I laughed when I first heard this news, seeing how Sloan’s coaching style doesn’t exactly jive with the current NBA environment (where guys take their talents to Miami rather than work for a championship). I almost keeled over when the article mentioned Charlotte (along with Orlando) as a possible destination for the former Jazzman:
“It’s not always about starting at the top,” Sloan, 70, said when asked if he really would interested in a rebuilding situation such as the one with Bobcats, whose 7-59 record resulted in the worst winning percentage in NBA history (.106).
Sloan hasn’t heard from the Bobcats, according to the article, but the thought of him coaching under Michael Jordan’s watchful eye just seems … wrong.
Then again, while I’m not the biggest Sloan advocate, I will admit his style does wonders for ailing teams. Sloan knows how to take mediocre athletes and instill them with the confidence needed to survive in the NBA. He mostly accomplishes the confidence bit by restricting outside shots and forcing players to take high percentage shots from within the paint. This technique can also be seen as counterproductive whenever used on an All-Star caliber player like, say, Derron Williams, who would rather explode on the court than babysit underwhelming athletes – which is either really cool or really selfish depending on your particular point of view. (Tellingly, I always felt Sloan would’ve made one heck of a D-League coach, working more as a player developer than someone attempting to lead a team to the NBA Finals. Shrugs.)
I would be curious to see a Jerry Sloan-style offense utilized on another team and whether said team would give Sloan the timetable needed for him to accomplish his goals. Remember, nowadays if the players don’t like their coach they hold secret meetings and fire his arse. Sloan survived in Utah because he had a loyal owner in Larry H. Miller, who was exactly 99.9-percent kinder than the rest of the league. I doubt MJ, in all his arrogance, would provide the same devotion.
On another note, why were the Lakers the main story on ESPN today? Seriously! It boggles my mind whenever the networks act as though the playoffs have just been botched when Kobe makes a premature post-season exit. Are there really people that watch the NBA just to see the same teams battle it out year after year? Personally, I’m ecstatic that small market teams San Antonio, OKC, Indiana, and Philly have performed so admirably. It shakes things up and makes the playoffs worth watching. But that’s just me.