A Shock To The System ……….
There are few things that tend to surprise in the world of sports but I was completely taken aback when I heard that Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan had resigned as coach to be succeeded by his assistant Ty Corbin . Sloan is third on the NBA alltime list of coaches in terms of victories . He stands third behind Don Nelson and Lenny Wilkens two esteemed coaches in the annals of NBA —– history . Until Sloan’s resignation he had been the longest tenured coach in major professional sports currently. In his 23 seasons he’d been to the playoff nineteen times and posted 14 consecutive winning seasons (20 overall) as well as 14 straight appearances in the NBA Playoffs. He also went to the NBA Finals in successive seasons ( ’96-’97/ ’97-’98) with the Jazz losing both times to the Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls .
Slide show for your perusal .
In today’s NBA it is no longer about the team or the coach but simply about the players and in particular the superstars of the league . It’s he monster that has been created in light of the post Jordan era . This was the monster that was essentially created by David Stern and has long been the bane of the NBA . The fans no longer really identify with a team but more so with the antics of the stars such as LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony , Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal who look to carve out a niche for themselves in and outside the game. Jerry Sloan was old school and unfortunately for him his young budding superstar point guard Deron Williams is a player of this era where it’s all about me ,me , me and always will be about me !
The league now is a young man’s game and where the players themselves expect to be coached by coaches closer to them in age. Funny thing is the coaches that’ve been recipients of the NBA title as a coach have been those who’ve a great deal of experience and basketball acumen behind them. The Utah Jazz’s Jerry Sloan was never quite able to reach those lofty heights but their coach certainly made sure that the ride was most definitely worth it.
Given the fact that Sloan coached two Hall of Famers in Karl Malone and John Stockton you’d have thought that Williams would be more reverential of his coach . But if the stories are to be believed then the relationship between the two had been severely strained. That tends to be the case when your team has been struggling to win and where offensively you’ve simply become anemic. The Jazz have lost ten of their last fourteen games and their struggles will continue over course of the rest of the season. Williams for his part hasn’t given a public statement after his coach’s decision to step down but you simply get the feeling that all fingers will be pointing towards him should the remainder of the season be one where the team fails to make the playoffs.
Team President Greg Miller son of the late owner Larry Miller , GM Kevin O’Connor and the front office have been reticent to offer up a public statement as the primary reason behind Sloan’s resignation and departure. But it’d appear that things weren’t as close as some might’ve been led to believe in terms of the team’s direction ,the relationship between the coach and several players on the team.
The NBA as I alluded to earlier has now become a players’ league where they can dictate whether or not a coach remains in his position even when the team itself is playing badly and it’s solely their fault. The coach will always be the first and last port of call when a team is having problems on and off the field . Players now within the league are rarely held accountable when they’re playing badly as the focus reverts back to the coach and his staff. And that’s even in spite of the problems we’re now seeing with teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers , Minnesota Timberwolves , Washington Wizards led by Byron Scott, Kurt Rambis and Flip Saunders respectively . It’s pretty safe to say that quite possibly one of those coaches may well be a coaching casualty by the season’s end if not before ? General managers and owners hire a coach with the goal of winning the NBA title . All else is merely secondary in nature in the realms of the NBA.
It’ll be interesting to see what the ramifications will be when the story breaks and how it is viewed by the fans and the NBA writers around the league. This much I do know ESPN and TNT will devote a great deal of time to the story and seeking to analyze everything that went into the decision in the wake of Jerry Sloan’s abrupt resignation from an organization where he spent close to twenty five years of his esteemed career. Sadly , Sloan may well go down as the best coach never to win an NBA title in spite of his impressive NBA resume’ . But that’s simply what the NBA and in fact major as well as collegiate sports is now all about ……….‘ it’s win now at almost any cost’ and if the coach’s head just happens to be served up on the proverbial platter as the price of failure then so be it !
Picture gallery for your perusal
Ty Corbin is now entrusted with the task of having to resurrect the fortunes of this team and it will be extremely interesting to see how he relates to Deron Williams , Paul Millsap and the core group of players on the roster . From my own perspective I feel that even if Corbin has been given this position on an interim basis with a view to securing it long term it could well come down as to how well he’s able to guide this team and whether or not Deron Williams buys into to what he’s selling. The player can become a free agent at the end of this season and the organization will do their utmost to retain the player. Because there’s the likelihood that he may well choose to leave for greener pastures if the team isn’t able to show any overall improvement over the remainder of the season
One of the real problems the Utah Jazz faces as a NBA franchise is the very fact that it has never been viewed as one of the more appealing destinations around the league for a free agent to enhance their NBA career. And as tenured and esteemed a career as was had by Jeff Hornacek , Stockton and Malone the fact that they were never able to win an NBA title although having made two Finals’ appearances speaks volumes as to what Sloan and the trio were able to achieve over the course of the Jazz’s history .
As I said earlier Sloan’s departure did come as a surprise but the mere fact that it was so abrupt has me thinking what other coaches could this type of situation befall within the NBA much less the NFL or MLB ? We saw how acrimonious Jeff Fisher’s fall from grace was with the Tennessee Titans . I certainly hope that the fans and in particular the Jazz ownership are appreciative of all that he’s done for the franchise because were it not for Jerry Sloan I doubt we’d discussing anything remotely suggesting that the Utah Jazz was in fact an NBA franchise.
What thoughts if any do you have concerning Jerry Sloan’s resignation and do you feel that it was indeed time for him to walk away from the game ? Any thoughts that you may well have on the matter simply leave a comment as to your thoughts. Thanks as always for the continued support as it has always been gratefully appreciated !
Picture and slide show details
(1) Salt Lake City ,Ut,. Head Coach Jerry Sloan (right) and Assistant Coach Phil Johnson of the Utah Jazz speak during a press conference announcing his resignation effective immediately at Zions Basketball Center on February 10, 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images ………
(2) Tyrone Corbin, the new head coach of the Utah Jazz, smiles during an NBA basketball news conference where longtime Jazz coach Jerry Sloan announced his resignation Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011, in Salt Lake City, Utah. AP Photo/Jim Urquhart ……..
(3) Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, left, listens to the NBA basketball team’s president, Greg Miller , at the announcement that Sloan is resigning immediately, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011, in Salt Lake City. Sloan spent 23 seasons as coach of the team, and had 1, 127 wins. AP Photo/Jim Urquhart ……….
(4) Head Coach Jerry Sloan of the Utah Jazz signs a fan’s ticket prior to the game against the Chicago Bulls at EnergySolutions Arena on February 9, 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo by Andy D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images ……..
(5) Deron Williams (8) off the Utah Jazz after the game with Carlos Boozer (5) of the Chicago Bulls at EnergySolutions Arena on February 9, 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images …….
(6) Luol Deng (9) of the Chicago Bulls goes for the basket against C.J. Miles (34) and Paul Millsap (24 )of the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena on February 9, 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images …………
(7) Al Jefferson (25) of the Utah Jazz goes up for the shot over Kurt Thomas (40) and Keith Bogans (6) of the Chicago Bulls at EnergySolutions Arena on February 9, 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images …………..
(8) As Greg Miller takes over for his late father Larry, is it even possible to keep things the same? Miller is seen here alongside his mother ,widow Gail Saxton-Miller , wife of the Jazz’s initial owner business entrepreneur Larry H. Miller . Miller died in 2009 age 64 and his eldest son , Greg , assumed control of the Jazz’s operations and the family’s numerous business interests . AP Photo/Chris Myles ………..
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