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Posts Tagged ‘Jerry Sloan

Jerry Sloan and His Point Guards

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Jerry and Phil

Image by kris247 via Flickr

The news of Jerry Sloan resigning mid-season, essentially immediately after a game, is something so surprising I can’t even think of the last time something in sports surprised me more. Almost a quarter century of tenure and a relationship with ownership perceived to be the most stable in the league – gone over night. And of course, as an analyst, I feel mostly just excitement about seeing something new.

Of course part of that is because of how I view Sloan. I respect the hell out of the man’s ability to consistently achieve success, but the man is also clearly stubborn as hell. John Amaechi said Sloan was “a cruel man” and made clear he thought the man was a homophobe – and it just rings too true for me to dismiss as being entirely without merit. When someone like that quits all of a sudden, he’s doing it because he’s tired of compromise, not because he’s a victim of some great unjustice.

Although with that said, remember that the Jazz drafted Deron over Chris Paul, when pretty much everyone considered Paul the clearly superior prospect, and that undoubtedly had everything to do with Sloan believing in Deron. Rough to put yourself on the line for someone, and then for that person to drive you out.

Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams

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Written by Matt Johnson

February 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm

2010-11 NBA Predictions: Coach of the Year

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Given that I’ve lumped this in with the previous two awards, and what you know about the history of this award, you might be expecting another rant here, but I’ll spare you.  It’s true that the list of COY winners doesn’t correlate much at all with the how coaches are actually rated as extraordinary, and that’s a problem for the award’s credibility and importance, but the issue here lies in the difficulty of evaluating coaches in a one year time span.

No one doubts that Phil Jackson’s a great coach, but if he retired tomorrow, I doubt many would expect the Lakers to suffer greatly.  That’s not a problem with Phil’s coaching, but just the nature of coaching in general.  While coaches can have day to day impact with discipline, chemistry, and adjustments, the big impact is in building the great system not maintaining it.

Voters recognize this, and thus are always seeking to credit a coach for a great positive change that isn’t due to obvious new advantages in player talent on the team.  In other words, the COY in any given year is probably the guy whose team was considered least likely to achieve the success they did.  This makes predicting the COY winner about the most brutal prediction you can try to do because the ideal COY candidate is someone whose candidacy was completely unpredictable.

I’m going to split the difference here with my prediction.  I’m expecting a strong year from the Utah Jazz despite the loss of Boozer, and I think that turnover will be enough to shine some light on the job done by Jerry Sloan.  Also working into Sloan’s favor will be the fact that he’s already considered a legend, he has more tenure than any other coach in the league by a country mile, and he’s never won the award before.  It won’t work out if for him if a true ideal candidate really emerges, but here’s hoping he finally get this recognition we all know he deserves.

Written by Matt Johnson

October 26, 2010 at 8:48 pm