Posted by: KCJones on February 11th, 2011The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
I still don’t know completely what to think about Sloan’s abrupt mid-season retirement.
Some throw the blame on Deron Williams 100%.
Some clamor to hold Deron Williams blameless.
I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. There were clashes between Sloan and Williams. Both Williams and Sloan admitted such in their interviews yesterday. Yet both also acknowledged that it wasn’t anything more than usual. Raja Bell acknowledged clashes between them, yet also said that he’s seen worse tiffs between players and coaches. Everyone in the organization from top to bottom expressed that Jerry was not forced out by anyone.
My own emotions as a fan have been up and down over this. I admit, I felt a pang of ill-will towards Deron when I first heard reports of halftime clashes, plays not being run like Jerry drew up. D-Will’s recent veiled comments about running the same plays, not watching film, not improving as a team, Jerry not listening to his suggestions all came to my mind. It appeared for a moment that perhaps Deron WAS behind this. Honestly, that scared me. Not letting players bully them into things (cough…Boozer…cough) was something I loved about the Jazz organization, and I feared the results of caving to the whims of entitled players (see 2011 Cleveland Cavaliers).
At the same time, I thought about my recent comments/criticisms on working Al Jefferson in. I suggested that perhaps the system needed to adjust to AL’s talent and skills instead of expecting him to completely change his game to fit the system. I’m sure Deron and some of the other players felt the same way about the inflexibility of Jerry’s system.
In the end, I think it came down to Jerry doing what Jerry did, and the players weren’t responding to his coaching like he required for his system to work. And, being 68 years old, he just didn’t have the energy to continue to fight that battle to get them back to buying in. And in Sloan’s mind, that meant he wasn’t working at Head Coach position anymore, and that meant it was time for him to step down.
After a day of thinking and listening to the press conference interviews, reading speculation and accusations, and Deron’s response, I came to the conclusion that Jerry may be smarter than us all. He recognized what was going on, and actually made the best decision for everyone involved. Jerry had a few more years coaching in him at best, and he made the tough decision based on what he knew of himself, his team, and the organization, again holding the group well-being above his own ego.
I respect Sloan, I admire him, and I am sad to see him go. I thank him for all the great memories over the years. The way he left, so abruptly mid-season is not how I feel it should have been, but it was on his terms. And, like he said many times yesterday, we need to look forward, move forward. And I think Sloan’s decision to take himself out of it is going to open the door for some needed change. I think a younger, more energetic, smart coach in Tyrone Corbin is going to make some changes for the better.
And out of my disbelief, anger, sadness and acceptance that Jerry won’t be on the sidelines anymore, I am starting to feel something new: Hope.
And as for Deron, he has the passion, skill and desire to win. He may have had different ideas about how to get those wins than Sloan. But he’s our man, our backbone and our future and we need to back him going forward.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.