No shocker here given their recent play. They barely scrape into the
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN MEDIOCRE AND NOT MEDIOCRE category.
Mike Prada joins the "time to get rid of Sloan" team,
16. Utah Jazz: 18-16 overall, 1-3 last week
SBN Blog: SLC Dunk
Last week: 13.
(Step away from the computer and pour yourself a beer. Done? Okay, let's continue).
The Utah Jazz have been in a pretty ridiculous malaise ever since last March. They closed the year terribly last year and have been totally uninspiring this year. Their roster is healthy and not too different from the one that made the Western Conference Finals in 2007. I suppose they have a built-in excuse with the roster uncertainty right now -- Utah is way up against the luxury tax, have several guys (cough Carlos Boozer cough) who are clearly goners after this year and are potentially making some big roster moves soon. At the same time, can you really excuse them for their recent play? A home loss to a Nuggets team missing both Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups? Inexcusable. A third-quarter collapse that turned a certain win over New Orleans on Monday into a loss? Unacceptable. There's talent on this roster and they're all healthy, so why is this happening?
It makes me want to ask this question: If their coach was anyone other than Jerry Sloan, would they still be coaching this team?
I say hell no. Sloan clearly isn't getting through to this bunch, because if he was the real coaching legend that he is, they wouldn't be underachieving this much. This is not to say Jerry Sloan is a bad coach, nor is it to say he's exclusively to blame for Utah's problems. But is it possible that Sloan, like all non-elite NBA coaches after a while, has been tuned out by his players? Absolutely. He's been doing this for a long time and is a coaching legend, but even legends get tuned out eventually. Has that time come for Sloan? I think it has.
Utah's never firing the guy, so this conversation is moot. He means as much to Utah as Gary Williams means for Maryland, so both have lifetime contracts even if they've both slipped from being elite coaches to merely being good ones. But I think it's high time to start assigning some blame to Sloan for Utah's struggles.