Coaching Candidates - International

This is part 2 of my look into coaching candidates. (Part 1 is here) If you don't want to look at that now, here's a recap of the introduction:

I’ve been looking into potential coaches recently. I don’t claim to know what the Jazz plan to do with Corbin this offseason, but if they decide to go in a different direction, I wanted to get an idea of who may be coming to SLC.

I’ve broken my list down into three categories: NBA coaches, international coaches, and college coaches. This post will just detail candidates who are currently coaching overseas. If there are any of you who have been able to dig up more information than I have, or have spent time in Europe and are more familiar with them, please let me know in the comments. I did my best here, but I'm sure I've missed out on some important things.

Zeljko Obradovic

Age: 54; Experience: 23 years; Titles: 12 National. Championships, 12 Natl. Cups, 8 European Cup

if you're interested: link1 (make sure you read the comments)

Style: I wasn’t able to find anything on his coaching style. The only definitive thing I can say is that he wins, a lot. He’s an 8 time Euroleague champion, and an 11 time Greek League champion, as well as several other championships in various European leagues. So he must be doing something right.

Personality: There isn’t a lot of info on his personality either, but what I have found suggests that he’s the European equivalent of Phil Jackson, and he knows it. He is rumored to have a short fuse and an ego. He would likely lead all coaches in technical fouls. He’s also a micro-manager to the extreme, so he would likely want a lot of say in team construction.

My Take: I don’t think the Jazz will even consider Obradovic. I don’t know enough about his style to determine if he would be a good fit, but I do get the impression that he’ll demand a high salary and (at least some) roster control. Not only that, but his ego may prevent him from even considering coaching for a small market team.

Ettore Messina

Age: 54; Experience: 25 years, 1 year NBA consultant; Titles: 9 National. Championships, 9 Natl. Cups, 4 European Cup

if you're interested: link1, link2, link3, link4

Style: Messia tends to prefer a slower pace with a lot of half court sets rather than a transition based offense. He also likes working primarily from the post, and using a point guard with great passing and vision to set up his post scorers. The specific execution of the offense is largely predicated on reading the defense. Because he relies so heavily on his players ability to read defenses, it often takes some time before his players feel comfortable in the offensive sets. (Think Stockton and Malone having the most predictable offense in the league, yet no one could stop them because they read defenses so well.) Messina is also known for having solid defensive schemes, but I couldn't find anything specific.

Personality: He considers teaching to be more important than coaching, and wants his players to make mistakes so that they can learn. He recognizes individual skills and talents and works very hard to clearly define a role for each player on his roster that matches those talents. He's a humble man who has been considered for NBA coaching positions several times, and has always been willing to start as an assistant if needed. (He's actually said that he doesn't want to take anyone else's job.) That said, he's no pushover and has worked with several high-profile players and gotten them to buy into his system and style.

My Take: I'm not sure about Messina. He's open to coaching in the NBA, and actually spent some time with the Lakers in a role similar to what Jerry Sloan has with the Jazz. The issue I see is that his consultant role didn't last. I don't know if that's because he wanted to be more of a coach than consultant, or if he didn't mesh well with NBA basketball. I do think that he would do well with our young team, and I like that he sees himself as a teacher. Trey Burke seems like a player who would thrive under Messina, but I'm not sure anyone else would. I guess I could see him as our assistant coach rather than our head coach.

David Blatt

Age: 54; Experience: 21 years; Titles: 6 National. Championships, 6 Natl. Cups, 1 European Cup

if you're interested: link1, link2

Style: Blatt loves team basketball. He recognizes individual skills and looks to use them within a team setting. He likes to innovate to throw opponents off balance. His defense aims to be disruptive, and so he prefers for his teams to have some defensive stoppers and likes to force turnovers. He also has the quirk of forcing teams away from the baseline (much like Jerry Sloan did). Offensively, Blat utilizes the Princeton offense and wants his player to be able to read defenses at an elite level.

Personality: Culture is important to Blatt. He is aware of how his teams are perceived by fans, and it's important to him that the community is happy with the direction his team is moving. He looks at both the long and short term growth of his teams. He is willing to bring in short term fixes, but only if they'll lead to long term solutions. He holds his players accountable for their roles and works hard to ensure that they understand those roles. He loves spending time with his players in practice and helping them really develop their game. At times this can cause problems in game, because he is more concerned about how his players are executing than the results they get. (He's stated that he doesn't actually pay attention to the score during games because he's too focused on what his guys are doing)

My Take: This man is currently my favorite prospect. If we managed to convince Blatt to come to the Jazz, I would be thrilled. He seems like the perfect fit. He runs a motion based offense, teaches technique and fundamentals, and emphasizes team defense. Because he likes to teach and build long-term, I think he'd be excited about having a young, talented team. He's stated that he would like to coach in the NBA one day, and I don't think he would be opposed to coming to a small market.

Dusan Ivkovic

Age: 70; Experience: 35 years; Titles: 7 National. Championships, 8 Natl. Cups, 1 European Cup, 6 Natl. Team Medals (4G, 2S)

if you're interested: link1

Style: On offense, Ivkovic prefers the flex. He prefers ball movement and transition to penetration and pick and roll. He also likes to play fast. One quote from the link above is "[Once] we established our pace in a game and started running, we could only be stopped by timeouts." He's also very detail oriented in his game planning, but is willing to adjust that plan mid-game if something strikes him as intriguing. He emphasizes communication between his players and wants them to be able to read each others movements. On defense he likes to pressure the ball and take advantage of mismatches, other than that I couldn't find much.

Personality: He's a humble guy. He readily admitted that his team wasn't better than the opponent after one of his championships, but they won through hard work and innovative strategy. At times he's struggled with elite level players because he has to find ways to keep them engaged in his philosophy. Above all he values communication with his players and among his players.

My Take: I really like Ivkovic, but I'm not sure we could get him over here. He's a little old to start an NBA coaching career (though he was approached by the Nuggets in the early 2000s). I think he would be great fit with our team, and the fact that he prefers a flex offense similar to Sloan's would endear him to fans. It's also cool that he's related to Nikola Tesla.

Svetislav Pesic

Age: 64; Experience: 32 years; Titles: 7 National. Championships, 4 Natl. Cups, 3 European Cups, 4 Natl. Team Gold Medals

if you're interested: link1

Style: He's an offensive minded coach, think European D'Antoni. His teams generally just try to outscore their opponents and they do it well. His offensive priorities seem to be 1) transition, 2) pick and roll, and 3) post-up. He likes having shooters on the team, but I haven't been able to find out if he fully embraces the 3, or if he's just content with mid-range. Defensively, his style mirrors his offense. He wants a strong transition defense, and then focuses on stopping the pick and roll, but his teams have never been elite on that end of the court.

Personality: He's opinionated, but not abrasive. He likes taking in young players and molding them to his vision, and communicates with them well. He doesn't seem to be too fond of elite level players, though he's happy to use them. I get the impression that he's bothered by 'me-first' type players. Other than that, I haven't been able to learn much.

My Take: Pesic would bring a very entertaining brand of basketball to SLC, but I'm not sure he'd find the long-term success we're hoping for. I think he'd love our squad, and he'd definitely up our pace of play, but I don't think he'd be able to develop our defensive potential. My guess is that Dennis Lindsay will pass on Pesic.

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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