Tuesday , Dec , 30 , 2008 J.N.

Utah Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan is not an upper tier elite coach.


Utah Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan is not an upper tier elite coach.For any Utah Jazz fan or any friend of Jerry Sloan, you’re going to be butt hurt or deeply offended reading this; but this is the truth. You’ll accept it eventually. If you can wipe away the tears now, at this point, muster up some courage and can continue, go for it. You’ll get kudos from me.

Jerry Sloan is not an upper tier coach along the ranks of Red Auerbach, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Pat Riley, Chuck Daly, and Rudy Tomjanovich. Even K.C. Jones, Larry Brown and Doc Rivers have a slight edge over him. The thing that binds all of these coaches together, except for Sloan, is that they actually won a title in their resume. That does not mean I’m demeaning Sloan’s accomplishments as a coach; no fuckin’ way. Point blank, the man just hasn’t won a title.

Utah fans will probably respond, “What? You’re fuckin’ dumb as hell. Jerry Sloan is great. He dominates the regular season and has been to the Finals 2 times in a row. He also develops players.”

Didn’t I just write, “That does not mean I’m demeaning Sloan’s accomplishments as a coach; no fuckin’ way.” Good. I got that out of the way.

He was cursed to coach in a Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen era just like any other coach or player during the 1990s.

Perhaps, but this excuse just does not hold any merit any more. I’ll tell you why.

Just like the Chicago Bulls of that decade, Jerry Sloan had two top 50 players of all time in Karl Malone and John Stockton. The supporting cast was great in Jeff Horny, Bryon Russell, the dunk bait Ostertag, Anderson, Carr, and Eisley. Jerry Sloan had the talent so I shouldn’t be hearing any fan crying about not having talent. The truth is he had them.

Well no one can beat MJ and Pip.

True, but that doesn’t mean it was impossible. When MJ came back in 95, the Orlando Magic with Shaq and Penny did eliminate them out of the playoffs. Jordan was 100% in basketball shape. He was still in true Air Jordan mode. He lit the Knicks for 55 points. He dominated the Charlotte Hornets in the opening round. Here are some Youtube clips to prove that MJ was 100% despite coming back from baseball.

Face it, he remains a formidable opponent and the rest of the Bulls didn’t have any significant injuries. Orlando managed to beat these guys. They beat MJ and Pip! The only things I can say for getting beat is that no team can plug in a last minute fix to win the title; MJ included. They were also out of sync to establish MJ as the number one option on the team as seen with Mike giving Kukoc and Pete Myers hard times.

In any decade, there will be dominant players whether it’s Russell, Wilt, West, Magic, Bird, Jordan, Duncan, Shaq, Kobe, or Lebron. It simply doesn’t matter what era. Let’s go back in time to the 1980s where Magic and Bird were feared.

So Jerry Sloan just didn’t have enough talent to overcome the Bulls. Still sticking with that, right?

Food for thought:

  • The Houston Rockets with Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson eliminated Pat Riley, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kareem, and Michael Cooper from the playoffs to go to the 1986 Finals.
  • From 1982-1984, The Larry Bird-led Celtics with Dennis Johnson, Kevin McHale, and the Chief Robert Parrish had a 3 year hiatus from the Finals.

You want more food?

  • Tons of people didn’t think Phil Jackson, MJ, and Scottie can ever beat Isiah Thomas’ Pistons.
  • Rudy T and Hakeem Olajuwon led the Rockets to a title in 1994 without a good sidekick.
  • Larry Brown’s Detroit Pistons beat Shaq-Kobe Lakers without a superstar. And that’s with a useless Karl Malone hunting down little Latina girls and an aging Payton.
  • Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, and the Spurs eliminated Phil Jax, Shaq-Kobe from the playoffs.

What’s your excuse Utah fans? What else do you have to defend Jerry Sloan? You ran out of excuses a long time ago. No more excuses. Those examples cited prove that any coach with a good set of players can win in any era regardless of the competition. Great dominant players lose, too. The most severe cases against Jerry Sloan are Larry Brown and Rudy T. One man won without a superstar! Sloan had two! He still couldn’t fuckin’ win. The other won with just one superstar during 1993-1994.

So what’s Sloan’s excuse?

I’m tired of hearing people defend Sloan as if he’s one of the best coaches of all time. Fact is, HE’S NOT. Again, I’m not demeaning what he’s done for Utah or the game itself. He’s the longest successful tenured coach in any sport, but he hasn’t won any title. Sloan himself is brutally honest, too. He once said in a touching interview that he fucked over Deron Williams during his rookie year. That in itself shows that Sloan is a great person; a true man who mans up to his faults. I can picture Sloan kicking some Utah Jazz fan in the nuts and then having those same nuts travel through the fan’s system, coming out through the neck, and then regurgitating back out from the mouth in a bloody pool of mess all over the floor for crowning him as some uber God coach.

He even made AK-47 cry! A Russian crying? Oh shit.

Did Jerry Sloan teach him to flop like that? I hope not. Sloan was probably disgusted, too. Terrible cliche armpit jokes ignored, if Sloan taught him to do that, it’s another blemish.

Hold up. Maybe not. Developing the King of the Flop Andrei Kirilenko is a distinguishing achievement, right?

Flops aside, Sloan is insatiable; not easily satisfied. I also commend Sloan on being able to develop players such as Deron Williams (with Stockon’s help), Ronnie Brewer, Paul Millsap, and such.

Oh I’d like to see if Phil Jackson can coach a team without Michael Jordan, Shaq, or Kobe Bryant. Let’s see how he does.

Whenever a fan says this, he probably thinks that he’s some insightful wise person. Actually, he just sounded more like a stupid douchebag incapable of feeding himself with a spoon. He probably needs a helmet, too.

Phil Jackson did coach a team without those guys. It was Scottie Pippen’s 1993-1994 team (Pippen finished second in MVP voting) and most of the 1994-1995 season until MJ returned. Furthermore, there are claims that Phil Jackson will only take teams ready made. HUH? That’s just being smart. He has to be able to control those egos to make it work in order to win. That’s another huge part of coaching and Phil Jackson has made that work.

P.Jax can’t develop players like Sloan.

Really? Keep on talking like a dumbass, dumbass. Phil Jackson personally developed Scottie Pippen and turned MJ to a true all around team player. He helped Kobe become that way, too.

Again, no more excuses from Utah Jazz fans. The well has run dry.

Conclusion: Jerry Sloan is grouped in with the likes of Lenny Wilkens; not quite upper tier, but they don’t suck ass either. That’s not bad. Many coaches kill for that because after all, they’re hall of famers. So Sloan is not elite. So? Many Utah fans probably know this truth, but have not manned up to it. Jerry Sloan would slap you. He’s 66 years old. In 4 more years, he’s 70 entering retirement. His time is running out on winning a chip. If he can win one within this span, I’ll eat crow and place him up there with the elites. All he needs is one.

Until then, I don’t think Sloan can win with Deron Williams and Paul Millsap either. John Stockton is better than Deron can ever be defensively and Paul Millsap is no Karl Malone. Millsap is not physically imposing like the Mailman and doesn’t have a consistent mid-range jumper. They have to land a 2010 star somewhere, but who wants to go to Utah? Again, just like Boozer did, the money has to be presented by having Karl Malone’s truck throwing money at the player’s doorsteps.

Also, Chris Paul >>>>>>>>>>> Deron. Chicago’s Derrick Rose will be better than Deron, too.

I have ended this “debate” for everyone. You’re welcome.

Extra hindsight: It was a great thing that Jerry Sloan was fired from the Chicago Bulls after less than 3 seasons as coach. If Jerry Sloan had his longevity and success in the Windy City instead of Utah, the Bulls probably would not have gotten a top 3 pick in 1984 to land MJ and they would have never received a chance to discover Phil Jackson and the 6 titles. 

[image:http://www.flickr.com/photos/kris247/376632418/

Thanks to Kris247 for contributing the picture to the article.