Why Jerry Sloan still matters

This happened last summer. And the summer before that.  Don’t be surprised if it happens in 2014, too, unless he gets hired now.

Jerry Sloan’s name just keeps coming up.

The ex-Jazz coach is being prominently mentioned as a possible replacement for P.J. Carlesimo in Brooklyn. Why, at age 71, would he be a consideration? He would be the oldest coach in the NBA. Hasn’t the game passed him by?

AP Photo

AP Photo

Sloan didn’t get in the Hall of Fame by standing still.

But wouldn’t he have trouble relating to today’s players? It was friction with Deron Williams that convinced Sloan to quit back in 2011.

Interestingly, Sloan is getting plenty of respect in his retirement. Williams, now a guard with the Nets, told the New York Post he’d “love to play” for Sloan and that he “loved the offense there.”

DeShawn Stevenson, who was suspended once by Sloan for insubordination, admiringly told the Dallas Morning News “I played with Jerry Sloan. Jerry Sloan didn’t take nothing.”

He also said that Sloan “had one style and it was hard.”

“Playing with Jerry Sloan – Jerry’s a strict coach and we had our ups and downs, but I think he made me stronger as a player,” Stevenson told the Dallas Morning News. “I try not to get mad about certain situations now.

“He was tough, but he made me who I am now. If I didn’t’ go through that kind of system and that caliber of coach, I wouldn’t be in the NBA right now.”

While I’ve had doubts about how many players would buy into Sloan’s take-no-prisoners approach – and still do — I also know that players who have left the Jazz say they learned much from him.

Sloan seems to be getting more respect as time passes.

When people say no teaching goes on in the NBA, they’re forgetting about Sloan. Just ask the players.

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2 comments

  1. Richie

    I would be surprised if Jerry decided to coach the Nets. He might take on a small market team for 2-3 years, tops. Whatever he does, I wish him the best.

  2. Linda McFarland

    Things (mainly people and players) have changed a lot since Sloan coached. It was the losing of respect from players that caused him to leave coaching before and I believe that is much worse now. He is, and was, a great coach but I believe he would hate the way players demand things now and truly believe they deserve to get whatever it is.

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