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The Downbeat #1067 - The "Happy Father's Day" Edition

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Father's day (tomorrow) out there to all the dads! The Utah Jazz have a very cool history with dads. Former head coach and GM Frank Layden hired on his son Scott Layden to be part of the team's scouting department, and Scott would later on grown into an assistant coach and assistant GM himself. Former team owner Larry H. Miller had a father/son relationship with Karl Malone and more obviously his own real son, and current team CEO, Greg Miller. Greg Ostertag was our starting center in those NBA Finals years and his son Kyrylo Fesenko played for our team years later? Oh, what? They're not related? You sure? Okay. That last one needs to be researched a little more.

Father's day is a special day. (Like all of these "_____ days") Last year a bunch of Jazz players had kids during the season (Paul Millsap and Randy Foye were two). Who is going to be the next Jazz-dad on the team? Will it be the next veteran guy we bring back? Or will it be one of the younger guys? Please don't let it be Enes Kanter.



The Jazz coaching staff does have a hole in it with the absence of Jeff Hornacek. Some people have tried to minimize his positive affect as an assistant coach, but I think that's just systematic duplicity. Jeff is a coach's son who over and above his role on the coaching staff used to take extra time away to actually coach the players in small groups to help them get better. He's going to be missed, even if he wasn't the Erik Spoelstra of breaking down film (that's where he started boys and girls).

Utah is going to get some help from Karl Malone in player development. But it is a part time thing, and it's going to be regulated more than hospital food. And, no matter what, the brass is going to try to keep him "out of sight / out of mind." There's still a hole on the bench.

Mychal and I saw Jerry Sloan at the NBA Draft Combine and he was very involved with everything that was going on. However, I don't see 70+ year old Jerry getting on flights to go all over the country just to sit on the bench and pick up technical fouls again. Jerry of today is not the same guy he was 10 years ago. One guy we did not see at the combine was Kenny Gattison.

He's helping out right now with the Free Agent mini-camp. So he's available. He also satisfies the criteria of being a former Corbin team mate (Kenny was injured in Corbin's first season with the Phoenix Suns, and injured for most of the season in Corbin's second season before Kenny was lost in the expansion draft to the Charlotte Hornets). Beyond just being a former teammate, the 9 year NBA vet has been coaching for a while. He was an assistant coach with the New Jersey Nets for two seasons (1996-97, 1997-98) under John Calipari; then with his NCAA team Old Dominion for the 2001-02, 2002-03 seasons; then returned back to the NBA to be an assistant coach with the Hornets from 2003-04 till the 2008-09 season. He had another off-year and then joined the Larry Drew staff with the Atlanta Hawks. He has bounced around and probably is a vet assistant coach. He was never an NBA / NCAA head coach like Sidney Lowe (who is a criminal and a bad influence and makes the team look bad), but he has a lot of experience being an assistant coach.

So he's the opposite of Karl Malone in this regard. Kenny was a middling NBA player who has a lot of experience being an assistant coach. But he bounced around a lot. Malone is the best power forward in NBA history (the same position Kenny played), but has no coaching experience. I think that if the Jazz do end up hiring Kenny it will be a backhanded slap at Malone. "Here is a PF we will keep on our full time coaching staff instead of you, the guy you averaged 26.6 ppg 12.9 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.2 spg, and 0.8 bpg against in head to head play over your respective careers." Sure, it's premature to call this a slight but the old Karl Malone would 100% regard this as a slight.

Thankfully we don't have the old Karl Malone to deal with anymore, but a more mature 'big picture' Malone who apparently has a 6 year plan to break into coaching full-time.


Thanks Wolley!

So we are all waiting with baited breath to see what his 6 year plan is . . . my money is on schooling the guys he's supposed to teach, then convince Tyrone Corbin he should be on the team as a player. As a vet Karl will start, and eventually he'll be the #1 scorer in NBA history.



Speaking of coaching, Jason Kidd is the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. We like to believe that Deron Williams is the worst guy ever and a coach killer. But Kidd is a teammate killer, so maybe they are a match made in heaven? Deron does have implicit respect for Kidd as Kidd was Deron's role model when Deron was growing up in Dallas when Jason first played there. When I was talking with my older brother about it he commented on how Kidd would probably suck as a coach but it would be a good PR move as he took them to an NBA Finals (two actually). He also added that he felt it was premature because he could still be better than some of the NBA players playing point guard in this league still. (He's at least a Top 60 PG right?) It made me sad inside because you could argue that Kidd would be an upgrade in Utah . . . at either point guard or head coach.

< < sad trombone sound > >

All Kidding aside, I have no clue how Kidd will do but it's hard not to think about other players who have his resume who could be head coaches one day. A guy we all think of is John Stockton; however, he may just not care about being a head coach. I don't know. I've never talked with him. He likes his privacy, and doesn't want the limelight. To be a head coach you kind of have to want all of that for your ego. Look at Mark Jackson, and see how he behaves. He's "head coaching" material in this era of the game. He's a preening peacock. John would give short Gregg Popovich style interviews at halftime. While we'd all love to see that -- we're going to have to wait. We will see Jason Kidd give these interviews next year.

I guess it all comes back to his resume, which the irreplaceable Trey Kerby found and posted online for us all to see.





Last week NBA TV premiered their documentary about Julius Erving called "The Doctor". And in the wake of that documentary the NBA world has refound their love for him. It's been Dr. J crazy online, and everyone seems to be milking a little bit of content from this entire phenomena. KSL uploaded highlights from a Jazz game against the Philadelphia 76ers where they finally beat him after a 12 game losing streak.

N.B. There were only dunks and layups in the NBA back then.

You can check out the boxscore here -- and this boxscore would be used as evidence for the "pro-Dantley" crew on 80's twitter equivalent to send Malone to the bench and how you can't build around him. And you have to be ignorant to ever want to move away from Al Jefferson Adrian Dantley.

Many people today don't get what a big deal Dr.J was, and may find all of this fawning out of place. But actually beating him was such big news that nearly 30 years later it's news -- as this DB entry and the KSL story attest to.

Think about that. What in the sports world is so big that it's still news after 30 years? Very few things are.



What are you getting your father for father's day? If you are a father, what piece of wisdom are you imparting to your children today?