Bits from Jerry Sloan’s (Re-)Introductory Press Conference, 6/20
Jerry Sloan: I’m just happy to be back, and hope that I can lend some advice, as we go forward. But knowing exactly what happens, I don’t know how it [will] transpire. I don’t think there’s any question that those things will come about as we move forward.
How I work with Ty or how I do, we’ll talk it out and make sure that there isn’t any conflict. ‘Cause I’m not here to step on anybody’s toes.
Did you miss coaching more than you thought you would?
Jerry Sloan: I knew I’d miss it. I knew I’d miss it. But that’s part of it.
Do you still have the coaching itch?
Jerry Sloan: I want to coach. I always wanted to coach whenever I quit playing, and I enjoy that part of it.
Watching players play [at the draft combine and draft workouts], it’s been fun for me because watching guys compete, which I enjoy doing, watching whenever I was coaching, and seeing guys compete…It kind of soothes your soul a little bit when you see that, and see what guys are doing to make that happen.
Jerry, what was it like to watch games last season as a spectator?
Jerry Sloan: I enjoyed the games. I never thought I would enjoy the games as much as I did, but you know, you like to see what, when you’ve coached a little bit, you like to see what’s going on, and what’s happening with the team, and you want to see them win.
Even though I wasn’t attached to the Jazz, I still was attached. And that was an interesting thing to watch.
Will you be attending practices?
Jerry Sloan: If they have ‘em too early, I won’t. (laughs) I’m a little bit older, so I have to stay at home and watch, have somebody call and tell–I’m sure Ty, if [he] had something going on, I’d, he’d call me, maybe.
What did you think of Coach Corbin’s offense last season?
Jerry Sloan: I thought it was very interesting. I thought he, first of all, I said, I thought he did a great job coaching. He’s a young coach like all of us have been in this business, when you start off, and I think he did a terrific job keeping guys together, in a really, a tough situation. Guys with free agent contracts, all those sort of things…
I think there should be a little bit more fairness sometimes. I didn’t think he was treated fairly by the press, if you want to know my feeling, as time was going by, and I think he deserves better than that…That’s one of the most important things from my standpoint, to hopefully keep some of you guys off his back.
No one on the LHM/Jazz payroll ever answers questions on Ty’s system/offense/defense. When asked, the answer given never fails to be about how Ty kept the locker room together and what a tough situation he was in.
Coach Corbin, when were you approached about Coach Sloan coming back, and how did you feel about it?
Tyrone Corbin: I know the man, and I know the knowledge and the loyalty that he has, not only to me, but to this organization, to this community, and how much of a passion that he have for us to succeed. And to have him back working with us is a tremendous thing.
Just to, for him to be around, for the fans to see him, for us to be able to go to him and talk to him about different things that may be going on. And as he said, this is a tough thing in NBA basketball, dealing with players, dealing with things that come up all year long. And he’s been through all of that. And trying to win at the same time, and expectation that you have there, so I will lean on him in a lot of ways to just help me grow through this process.
Jerry, what are your thoughts about Karl Malone coming back to the Jazz?
Jerry Sloan: I think he’ll do a great job. Karl’s got a great knowledge and one of the things about him, and I think would, should inspire younger players if they’re willing to do the work, he did it the old-fashioned way.
He changed his whole body. He changed a lot of things, he did it by his playing. And everybody likes to take credit for it, but the man himself went and did all the work and made it happen. And that’s, to me, is what made him such a great player.
And he loved to compete, and when you see him working with players, I think they could learn a tremendous amount [on] what this game’s about. It’s not all about, all the time, Xs and Os. It’s effort you put into it to get, before you get to Xs and Os.
I think that’s something young players, you would hope they learn, but you can’t make ‘em. A lot of people think you can make ‘em and direct ‘em. You can direct ‘em, but you can’t get ‘em to–the old saying is, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. That’s the bottom line.
Jerry, does this bring closure to the end of your coaching days with the Jazz?
Jerry Sloan: Yeah, I was a little uncomfortable going out, but once it was over I still had great aspirations for this organization. In fact, I think it was, in the long run, I think the fact that I did what I did enhanced this thing a little bit farther along than what it would’ve been.
Deron Williams was going to leave. Everyone knows, everyone knew that. And, just one of those things that came up, and I think they got some tremendous young players to work with. And, just one of those things that happened.
What do you see in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter?
Jerry Sloan: A lot of this depends on the players, you know, and what they’re about. But they got, they have tremendous talent, but they have to do the work to make themselves better. That’s just as simple as that. You can do five cartwheels, but that’s not going to make you a great player.
You gotta do stuff that’s gonna make you a great player, by coming to practice and working hard everyday…I’ve never been around them in a working position other than watching ‘em play in a game, but they’re still young.
How many young players are playing in the NBA Play–Finals tonight? You look back and check the records for the last few years, how many young players are playing on championship teams?
Jerry may have said this, but he’s a coach that played a rookie heavy minutes in the NBA Finals, as this fantastic piece by @JazzBasketball1 discusses.
Will you travel?
Jerry Sloan: I look forward to whatever is, I don’t know what this job is gonna entail or how it’s gonna evolve, but we’ll work at it and see, what we can do to help each other, and anything else that comes up with the Jazz organization.
Ty, what is something you’d want to take from Coach Sloan’s career, that you would want to assimilate into yourself?
Tyrone Corbin: Longevity. …
As he said, you know, you guys look at it and think it’s a simple thing to just show up for the game and play, and it’s gonna work. Well, you have 14, 15 guys, and 10 on the floor, uh, and 12 on t–five on the floor, and expect certain amount of things, and you expecting things from them, but it takes time to get on the same page and we’ll gonna continue to work though those things.
On versatility, and how Tyrone Corbin ended up on the Jazz
David Locke: Coach Sloan, it seems like there’s really contrasting stories this year in the NBA. There’s the evolution of the three[-pointer] and teams shooting 28- and 29-percent of possessions as threes. There, then, in the–
Jerry Sloan: David, I can’t keep up with you, giving me all those statistics.
David Locke: –but then you also have, you know, there’s teams, everybody playing bigs, I mean, Memphis and Indiana, everyone went really big, and now, we’re back in the Finals with–
Jerry Sloan: Well, you gotta be able to play different ways. I mean, that happened with us when we first started coaching here. We got in the, we had a group of guys, Thurl Bailey, Karl Malone and Mark Eaton. We played Sa–or Golden State, and they put a small lineup against us.
We tried to adjust to that, but we couldn’t adjust ’cause we didn’t have any smaller people. If we went small, we weren’t good enough. And that was one of the things that, that’s one of the reasons why Tyrone ended up being here, because we needed somebody to be able to play the “3” position, and be able to guard smaller people or larger people.
And those things become, they’ve been there for all these years. We’ve always had to have somebody that could play small, somewhere along the line. And you gotta be able to do both things.
Final question: Who do you like tonight?
Jerry Sloan: I like San Antonio, ’cause I went to their training camp and I watched them work, watched them play, and that was an interesting thing…But I’m sure Miami’ll be hard to beat in their building. (KALL, Utah Jazz)