Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The importance of having a system

Interesting note in the Salt Lake City paper the other day about how PG Deron Williams' ankle injury will impact the Jazz.

Rather than worry about Williams' injury, Utah coach Jerry Sloan chose to focus on things he could control:

"I can't do anything about those things. I just feel bad for him. There's not a thing we can do about it. That's life in basketball. You can sit around and feel sorry for yourself, but that bottom line is somebody else has got to step up and play."

Back-up PG Brevin Knight, who's played with nine teams over his 11-year career, provided good insight into why Utah is so successful year after year:

"The good thing about this team is there's a system, and you kind of fit pieces into the system. As long as you do it, then it runs pretty smooth."

As is the case in New England under Bill Belichick, Utah's system -- the offensive sets, play calls, execution, spacing, pace of the game, value of each possession, discipline, paint catches, emphasis on team defense, team identity -- is so consistent because of Coach Sloan.

Even when the Jazz sub during a game, they get same consistency. Maybe the talent level drops off a bit, but they play the same brand or style of ball.

When Jazz players John Stockton and Karl Malone retired, the level of talent dropped as the roster transitioned from veterans to youth, but the team always executed and played hard.