Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Jerry Sloan "pushes guys to the limit"

The LA Times today had a feature story on Utah coach Jerry Sloan, who has been with his team for 20 years, longer than any other coach in pro sports. His clubs are always physical and execute well every night. That's a tribute to the 66-year-old Sloan, an 11-year NBA vet as a player who is known for his incredible intensity on the court, while being pretty laid back off of it.

According to Lakers guard Derek Fisher, who played for Sloan last year, "When the game starts, a whole new level of intensity comes out."

When asked why he hasn't gone to an uptempo offense, instead sticking with his traditional pick-and-roll system, Sloan essentially says he uses whatever system fits his roster.

"When you don't have guys that can run and run with guys that are more athletic, then you better do something to try and compete with them."

In the article, Kobe claims that Sloan's playbook is "the same stuff," but that his teams "execute extremely well."

I often wonder why more teams don't use a team like Utah as an example. Utah drafts and signs players who fit Coach Sloan's system. The Jazz value intangibles like toughness and often-overlooked skills like screen-setting as an important element for their team to be successful.