Friday, February 11, 2011

Don't Blame Deron, Blame Utah!

On the surface Jerry Sloan's sudden resignation as the head coach of the Utah Jazz seems like a power struggle gone bad. Reports have surfaced that star point guard Deron Williams and coach Sloan never got along and the situation came to a head 2 days ago. Coach Sloan called a play and Deron chose to run something different. When coach Sloan went to management asking for disciplinary action they sided with the player. In an instant 23 years of coaching and 2 NBA finals appearances had no bearing on the situation. What happened?

The simple answer is the Utah Jazz chose one of the top 3 point guards in the NBA over a crotchedy old man on his last legs. The real answer is geography dictated the decision. The Utah Jazz were fortunate Deron Williams fell to them in the 2005 NBA draft because Utah is not a place that free agents flock to. Lebron's not taking his talents to Salt Lake if you know what I'm saying. Subsequently the Jazz organization has to go above and beyond the call of duty to retain the players it already has. There's no guarantee Deron Williams will re-sign with Utah when he becomes a free agent, but if Jerry Sloan was going to be the reason he left Utah had to be proactive. This is not like the old days when Stockton and Malone ruled the Salt Palace for 16 years straight. The players that come to Utah via trade or the draft typically leave when their contract expires.

I do think coach Sloan deserved better, but I also think the Utah Jazz made the right decision. Always keep the talent over the coach. You'd like to think money and professionalism is enough incentive to get along, but that's not always the case. Personalities clash and sometimes there's casualties in the fallout. We'll see if Utah is better for it in the long run.

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