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Archive for June, 2013

A picture is worth a thousand words. Not these ones, though.

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Bill Simmons 2013 NBA Draft

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Faces of the 2013 NBA Draft #2

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Faces of the 2013 NBA Draft #002

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Faces of the 2013 NBA Draft #4

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Faces of the 2013 NBA Draft #5

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Faces of the 2013 NBA Draft #6

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David Stern 2013 NBA Draft Boos

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Faces of the 2013 NBA Draft #7

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Faces of the 2013 NBA Draft #8

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Speaking of which, further evidence Kevin O’Connor and John Beilein are twins who were separated-at-birth.

Enjoying the NBA Draft…

John Beilein vs Kevin O'Connor

With their point guards…

Kevin O'Connor and John Beilein

Fiery Competitors…

Kevin O'Connor and John Beilein #2

And the sure-fire sign they’re related…

John Beilein No Comment

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Trey Burke Michigan Highlights #1

Today’s post will be short and sweet. It appears the Utah Jazz achieved their best-case scenario in last night’s draft by acquiring the draft rights to point guard Trey Burke (9th overall pick) from Minnesota in exchange for the 14th and 21st overall picks. Rather than sit back and take what will likely amount to two average role players at-best, Utah was aggressive and landed a playmaker widely regarded as the best point guard in the draft and someone who appears to be the perfect fit for their team. While the Jazz also made two shrewd moves in acquiring the rights to center Rudy Gobert (27th overall from Denver) and point guard Raul Neto (47th overall from Atlanta) – the Burke trade alone made their draft a success.

I’ve kept tabs on Burke since he was a senior in high school and think he will provide Utah exactly what it needs as both a point guard and leader. In the coming days I will break down Burke’s game further, but for now here’s a short video profiling his 2013 season in which he was named First-Team All-American as well as Big Ten Player of the Year and National Player of the Year. The first-half of the video includes excerpts featuring Burke from the Big Ten Network’s “The Journey,” while the second-half includes highlights from his 2013 collegiate season.

Obviously draft picks can only truly be judged several years down the road, but for now the Jazz appeared to have filled a massive hole at point guard with someone who could stabilize the position for the rest of the decade.

Winston Churchill cautioned that “Success is never final, failure is never fatal,” but after the failures from the past several Jazz seasons, celebration and excitement over the last night’s draft success is certainly justifiable.

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NBA Superstar Trades

The Utah Jazz possess two first-round picks entering tonight’s NBA draft – their own pick at #14 and Golden State’s pick at #21. The Jazz acquired the Warriors’ pick on February 23, 2011 as part of the Nets’ package in exchange for Deron Williams. As a result – Utah’s total haul from trading Willliams to the Nets was one season of Devin Harris (who essentially became Marvin Williams in 2012), Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, and now this year’s 21st overall pick (assuming they stay at #21).

Deron Williams to the Nets – Feb-2011

NJ/Brooklyn Receives:

  • Deron Williams

Utah Receives:

  • Derrick Favors (2010 #3 Pick)
  • Devin Harris (Jul-2012 traded to Atl for Marvin Williams)
  • 2011 1st-Round Pick (#3 Enes Kanter)
  • Warriors’ protected 1st-Round Pick – 2013 #21 Overall (top-7 protected 2012-13, top-6 protected 2014)

2011-12: New Jersey 22-44, no postseason; Utah 36-30, lost in 1st-Round.

2012-13: Brooklyn 49-33, lost in 1st-Round; Utah 43-39, no postseason.

While the overall success of Utah’s bold trade will likely be determined by the development of #3-overall picks Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, let’s compare Utah’s haul to that from the other superstar trades over the past 2 1/2 years.

Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks – Feb-2011

NY receives:

  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Chauncey Billups
  • Sheldon Williams
  • Anthony Carter
  • Renaldo Balkman

Denver receives:

  • SF Wilson Chandler
  • SF Danilo Gallinari
  • PG Raymond Felton
  • C Timofey Mozgov
  • NY’s 2014 1st-Round Pick
  • 2 2nd-Round Picks
  • Cash

2011-12: Denver: 38-28, lost in 1st-Round; New York 36-30, lost in 1st-Round.

2012-13: Denver 57-25, lost in 1st-Round; New York 54-28, lost in 2nd-Round.

Chris Paul to the Clippers – Dec-2011

LAC Receives:

  • Chris Paul
  • 2 Future 2nd-Round Picks

New Orleans Receives:

  • Eric Gordon
  • Chris Kaman
  • Al-Farouq Aminu (2010 #8 Pick)
  • 2012 1st-Round Pick (#10 Austin Rivers)

2011-12: LAC: 40-26, lost in 2nd-Round; New Orleans 21-45, no postseason (#1 overall pick Anthony Randolph).

2012-13: LAC 56-26, lost in 1st-Round; New Orleans 27-55, no postseason.

Dwight Howard to the Lakers – Aug-2012

Part of a 4-team trade. To simplify in terms of Lakers/Magic:

LAL Gives Up:

  • Andrew Bynum
  • Josh McRoberts
  • Christian Eyenga
  • Protected 2017 1st-Round Pick
  • 2015 2nd-Round Pick

LAL Receives:

  • Dwight Howard
  • Earl Clark
  • Chris Duhon

Orlando Gives Up:

  • Dwight Howard
  • Jason Richardson
  • Earl Clark
  • Chris Duhon

Orlando Receives:

  • Aaron Afflalo
  • Nikola Vucevic (2011 #16 Pick)
  • Moe Harkless (2012 #15 Pick)
  • Al Harrington
  • Christian Eyenga
  • Nuggets’ 2014 1st-Round Pick (Lesser of Den/NY 2014 Pick)
  • 76ers’ 2015-or-2016-or-2017 1st-Round Pick
  • Lakers’ protected 2017 1st-Round Pick
  • 2013 2nd-Round Pick (#51)
  • Lakers’ 2015 2nd-Round Pick

2012-13: LAL 45-37, lost in 1st-Round; Orlando 20-62, no postseason.

James Harden to the Rockets- Oct-2012

Houston Receives:

  • James Harden

Oklahoma City Receives:

  • Kevin Martin
  • Jeremy Lamb (2012 #12 Pick)
  • Raptors’ Protected 1st-Round Pick – 2013 #12 Overall (top-3 protected in 2013, top-2 protected in 2014-15, top-1 protected 2016-17; unprotected in 2018)
  • Cole Aldrich
  • Daequan Cook
  • Lazar Hayward

2012-13: OKC 60-22, lost in 2nd-Round; Houston 45-37, lost in 1st-Round.

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While it won’t be known for several more seasons who ultimately got the best deal, the 2013 NBA Draft will at least fill in a few of the missing blanks.

Utah Jazz Nets Deron Williams Trade

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Deron Williams Greg Miller Kevin O'Connor

On Tuesday afternoon, Jazz CEO Greg Miller shared his account of the events on the night of February 9, 2011 in which Jerry Sloan and Phil Johnson both chose to resign.

Deron Williams and Jerry Sloan resignation

Miller’s recent account appears to contradict his previous statements as well as the overall narrative the organization projected during the official press conference which formerly announcing Sloan’s resignation. From that time on, the company line was that Sloan simply grew “tired” of coaching and decided to “quit.”

Greg Miller on Jerry Sloan's resignation

While some gullible fans may have bought that, there has been just as much information out that led many to believe that the organizations narrative was false from the beginning.

On February 10th, 2011 Ric Bucher, then a senior analyst for ESPN, reported exactly what Greg Miller did yesterday, saying “There was a disagreement between Coach Sloan and Deron Williams about how a play was run.” Bucher then elaborated, “There was discussion between Kevin O’Connor and Coach Sloan, and I’m told Coach Sloan wanted to penalize Deron in some way and there was a disagreement on how that was going to be handled and so this came to a head.”

This completely jives with other reports by respected national writers. The highly-regarded Adrian Wojnarowski from Yahoo! Sports wrote on the same date: “After feeling undermined, one source said Sloan told Jazz owner Greg Miller that if this is how he wanted to run a franchise, he could do it without him as coach.”

A few days later, Karl Malone further added fuel to this fire by saying “I know for a fact that (Sloan) was overridden on practices sometime on the road because Deron was calling our GM at that time.

Finally, this past February Jazz president Randy Rigby also contradicted the party line. During his embarrassing weekly brag-fest on Ty Corbin, Rigby stated “He (Corbin) came in – in a very difficult situation, and immediately said to us, ‘Hey, I think I can work with Deron.'” Obviously, if difficulties with Deron weren’t a factor in Sloan’s resignation, there should have been nothing extraordinary about a new head coach claiming to be able to co-exist with his team’s franchise player.

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The obvious counter is the fact that Jerry Sloan himself has repeatedly stated that the decision to step-down was his alone and that Deron had nothing to do with it. I think Jerry’s statements are admirable, understandable, yet admirably untrue.

First, it’s important to understanding the type of coach and man Jerry is. Routinely throughout his career Jerry would look to pass the credit on to someone else. (For example after a 4/1/99 Karl Malone game-winner Jerry’s remark on the final play was “We’ve run that play since Frank Layden was coaching the team.” Jerry had no ego whatsoever, and a great love for the organization that reached a pinnacle following Utah’s 26-56 season in which he was not fired. I believe by 2011 Jerry truly felt management was more closely aligned to Deron, yet because of his love and loyalty to the Jazz he didn’t want his resignation to spark a “Jerry vs. Jazz management” civil war. He wanted out of a no-win situation but he wanted to leave the organization in better shape than when he started (which he did). Yes it’s an incredible sacrifice of pride, but Jerry Sloan is an incredible man.

While there may have never been a “Jerry or Deron” choice made, it’s now undeniable the halftime confrontation was a main factor and extremely possible that the reported disagreement regarding disciplining Deron was the real breaking point.

Also, there is precedent of the Jazz refuting reports of internal conflict that risk negative exposure – Mark Jackson’s 2002-03 locker room politics being the primary example.

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Both the NBA and the Utah Jazz were in different places in 2011 than they are today. Carmelo Anthony essentially held Denver hostage for the first-half of the season before finally landing in his preferred destination of New York. There was no Kyrie Irving in Cleveland and no 50-win seasons for the post-Melo Nuggets. The Cavaliers and Raptors were still reeling following the departures of LeBron James and Chris Bosh while small-market teams were terrified of ending up in similar situations.

Utah’s attempt to reload in the 2010 offseason had fizzled out. A surprising 27-14 start primarily behind the Jazz system (which routinely made journeyman into efficient role-players) and a brilliant start by Deron Williams turned sour. A recent stretch of losses pushed the insecurity over Deron’s pending 2012 free agency to an all-time high and it’s entirely conceivable how a franchise that had long supported coaches over their star players would begin to lose grasp of those priorities under new and inexperienced ownership.

Deron Williams reached a point where he was beginning to trump everything in the organization and that shift in priorities was exhibited in the immediate aftermath of Sloan’s resignation. Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune reported the Jazz still hoped to retain Deron following Sloan’s departure, calling Corbin “a likeable players’ coach who key personnel within the organization believe can not only reach Williams but convince him that a new era in Jazz basketball has arrived. And with that, the hope: Williams will remain with Utah after the 2011-12 campaign.”

After an 0-3 start under Corbin and Deron’s “networking” during the all-star break, Williams was a New Jersey Net by February 23rd.

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Less than two weeks before Jerry and Phil Johnson submitted their resignations, Johnson did a sit-down interview with KSL where he sounded like anything but a man anticipating his longtime friend and colleague was ready to step down. Phil made the following comments on January 28, 2011:
I think [Jerry’s] at his best at this time. He is at his best at these stages where you’re struggling and the team’s not sure. I think he shows tremendous patience and doesn’t do a lot of yelling and screaming like a lot of people think, he’s very trusting and tries to develop confidence rather than criticizing.”

Johnson also offered this tidbit when asked about the longevity he and Sloan enjoyed with the Jazz, giving credit to ownership for understanding the importance of supporting their coaches:
Larry Miller, although he was very demanding, he understood what was going on as far as coaching is concerned.

Another myth surrounding Phil Johnson’s resignation was that Phil left because he had always said he would go out with Jerry. That was false, as Phil made clear in an interview with KSL’s Rod Zundel directly following the February 10th press conference.
Zundel: “You always said that when Jerry goes, you’re leaving as well…”
Johnson: I haven’t always said that, earlier in our careers Larry Miller told me at one time ‘You have the job if you want it’ and so that’s been there forever, since Larry was here…he always told me that personally.”

Finally, when asked by Zundel what he would say on the reports that Deron Williams forced Jerry out, the words Phil didn’t say said more than the ones he did in his response:

“I just say let it play out and not worry about all that stuff, it was time for us to leave and we left.”

It has played out.
The Nets have gone through two coaches and are seeking a third in their 2 1/2 seasons since acquiring Deron Williams. Greg Miller’s story has changed from Deron having nothing to do with Sloan’s departure – to a halftime conflict which precipitated Jerry’s resignation. If the story emanating from the Jazz has changed to the point it now partially supports the initial reports the organization tried so hard to refute, what’s to say the truth doesn’t lie entirely in the story that management’s refusal to discipline Deron Williams evoked Jerry Sloan’s resignation?

I’m not sure we’ll ever learn exactly what happened between Jerry Sloan, Deron Williams, Kevin O’Connor and Greg Miller in February of 2011, but it’s as obvious as a 42’x24′ jumbotron that many more elements factored into it than simply one man’s solitude choice to retire.

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Footnote: I’ll close with this video (courtesy of jazzfanatical) from a 113-106 Utah win in Denver – just 5 nights before Jerry would decide to step down. During the confrontation, take note of how worn down, tired and uninvolved Jerry appears* to be. (*He showed more emotion and in-game involvement during that skirmish than Utah’s current head coach has exhibited in over 2 years)

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Utah Jazz Toughness

You know, most of the teams that we’ve had here have been pretty nasty — and they will get after you from daylight until dark. We’re just learning how to get after it a little bit more as we go along with younger guys.”
– Jerry Sloan, 2009.

These comments were made amidst the Utah Jazz’s 5-game first-round defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers, but they still ring true today. While most players enter the league as strong competitors – developing NBA championship-caliber toughness is something that must be acquired through the experience of playing against the best talent at the highest level.

During a Utah Jazz home loss to the Dallas Mavericks on January 19, 2012 – there was a dead-ball incident where 33-year old Dirk Nowitzki slapped the ball out of 20-year old Derrick Favors’ hands. While Favors merely walked to the other end of the court, Earl Watson stepped in for his teammate and sent Nowitzki a message that the Jazz weren’t going to lay down and allow themselves to be disrespected.


(Courtesy of TheRealMLC)

Favors’ passive response resulted in no penalty against Dirk, and only Earl Watson received a technical foul for his actions. It was a stark contrast in player reaction compared to a similar scenario involving former hard-nosed Jazz player Matt Harpring in 2003. During Game 4 of the Jazz’s first-round matchup with the Kings, Sacramento’s Doug Christie slapped the ball out of Harpring’s hands reminiscent to Nowitzki’s actions – but Harpring clearly wasn’t prepared to sit back and take it.

Matt Harpring’s aggressive response elicited a technical foul call against Doug Christie from referee Dick Bavetta. Clearly as a player, if you passively allow an opponent push the boundaries – their chances of getting away with it increase. Even moreso than technical fouls, simply earning respect and showing you won’t allow an opponent to walk all over you is the principal matter.

Now fast forward to this past season. During a home game against the Warriors on December 26, 2012, a late elbow thrown by Jazz center Enes Kanter on Warriors forward Carl Landry resulted in guard Jarrett Jack (GS’s veteran leader) getting in the face of the 20-year old Kanter. This time, the first person to step in was Derrick Favors – who then went nose-to-nose with Jack.


(Courtesy of jazzfanatical)

For all the talk about the inexperience of the Core-4, they’ve shown they not only are developing their all-around games and skill sets – but also their intangibles which include toughness and grit. This can only bode well for the future.
As I believe Utah’s long-term identity should be as a defensive-oriented team in the mold of an Indiana or Memphis, collective toughness is imperative from your core players. It takes an incredible amount of toughness, camaraderie, and desire to treat every defensive possession with the utmost importance. Not only must you be physically willing to sacrifice your body by drawing charges and contesting every shot, mentally you must have the mindset to always have your teammate’s back by playing attentive help-defense.

That’s what makes this type of maturation – where Favors instantaneously steps in to back up a teammate – exciting to see. It’s not something that can be quantified with statistical analysis and it’s not something that can be learned from sitting on the bench. Growth and development is about more than just developing a jump hook, it’s also about taking action and doing things that quality veteran leaders do – and I think Derrick Favors is progressing well in those areas.

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DeShawn Stevenson Utah Jazz

In his first NBA draft with the Utah Jazz, vice president of basketball operations Kevin O’Connor selected guard DeShawn Stevenson 23rd overall in the 2000 NBA Draft. For a traditionally conservative franchise, it was a shocking move. Stevenson, at 19 years old, became the youngest as well as the first Jazz 1st-round pick ever selected directly out of high school.

It’s a move into reality,” O’Connor said following the selection. “The reality is that players in the NBA are getting younger.” In getting younger, the Jazz acquired a player who averaged 30.4 points, 9.7 points rebounds and 6.2 assists per game as a high school senior.

From 2000-2004, Stevenson would play 222 games for the Jazz. Over the course of his tenure in Utah, Stevenson never blossomed into the player the Jazz envisioned him becoming. He displayed a lot of explosiveness and athletic ability (he finished 2nd in the 2001 Dunk Contest) but suffered from inconsistencies in regards to shooting, defending and sticking with the offense. Injury and sub par play among Utah’s veteran wings enabled DeShawn to make 23 starts in 2001-02 but he was unable to become a fixture in the rotation. In 2003 he displayed impressive toughness by sending a message to Ricky Davis that he didn’t care much for Davis’ cheap attempt for a triple-double which was appreciated by his old-school head coach Jerry Sloan who said afterwards “I was glad DeShawn tried to knock [Davis] down.”

Stevenson’s Jazz days appeared to be over a few months later when he screamed at Sloan for not playing him following Utah’s opening game in the 2003 playoffs. Stevenson was suspended and sent home prior to Game 2, but made appearances in the following (and final) three games of the series.

Following the departures of John Stockton and Karl Malone, Stevenson started all 54 games of his games in Utah during the 2003-04 season. He had some good performances (including a 16-point 1st-quarter and team-high 22 points in a road win in Boston) but never quite earned Sloan’s complete trust as Raja Bell often closed out games for the Jazz. Stevenson posted averages of 11.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists on 45% FG shooting, 67% FT shooting and 23.3% 3pt-shooting for Utah before being shipped to Orlando at the trade deadline in exchange for Gordon Giricek.

Sloan’s willingness to play DeShawn even after they had their run-in demonstrates Jerry’s willingness to not harbor grudges and move-on in a professional manner (Jerry gave players such as Chris Morris and Greg Ostertag similar opportunities after ugly sideline incidents).

9 years and an Abraham Lincoln neck-tattoo later, Stevenson is still in the league and has a championship ring in tow. He became a competent-starter on several playoff teams by gradually transforming his identity from an inconsistent athletic guard who was a poor shooter to a above-average tough defensive player and decent 3pt-shooter (34% for his career) who came to accept his offensive limitations (was never going to be a bigtime scorer) and fit into a role.

Looking back on his time in Utah, Stevenson credits Sloan for much of his development. “Playing with Jerry Sloan – Jerry’s a strict coach and we had our ups and downs, but I think he made me stronger as a player,” Stevenson said in an interview with the Dallas Morning News in 2010. “He was tough, but he made me who I am now. If I didn’t go through that kind of system and that caliber of coach, I wouldn’t be in the NBA right now.”

Final verdict on the selection? DeShawn may not have turned out to be a difference-maker for the Jazz but all things considered – he was still a good pick. Better alternatives were not available considering the final six picks of the 1st-round after Stevenson consisted of:

24. Dalibor Bagaric (out of the league by 2004)
25. Jake Tsakalidis (out of the league by 2008)
26. Mamadou N’diaye (out of the league by 2006)
27. Primoz Brezec (8-year career – backup outside of the expansion Bobcats)
28. Erick Barkley (out of the league by 2003)
29. Mark Madsen (9-years – career backup)

The lone draft steal came at pick-#43 where Michael Redd would go on to be an all-star and 20-point scorer for the Bucks but overall 2000 would prove to be an incredibly weak draft with few better options for the Jazz at #23. Furthermore, it could be argued Utah showed wisdom by not making their 2000 draft class (which also included 50th-overall selection Kaniel Dickens who played just 19 games in his NBA career)) any weaker. The Jazz also owned the 26th-overall pick but four days prior to draft night, traded it to Denver in exchange for a future 1st-round pick. The Nuggets used the pick to selected center Mamadou N’diaye.

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With picks #14, #21 and #46 in what has also been called a very weak 2013 draft class – the Jazz could select players that may be nothing more than average starters – yet in hindsight prove to be solid choices based on the overall strength of the draft. The best option however, may be trading out of one of their first-round slots and rolling it over into a future asset. Punting isn’t necessarily a bad choice if you receive good field position and score on the ensuing possession.

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Jerry Sloan vs Rasheed Wallace 1999

“A technical foul has been charged to coach Jerry Sloan.

Longtime Utah Jazz public-address announcer Dan Roberts has uttered that exact phrase dozens if not hundreds of times.

Jerry Sloan technical fouls

In Wednesday’s radio interview, one of the most interesting things Jerry Sloan said when asked to reflect on the past two years (since friction with Deron Williams led to his departure as Jazz head coach) was that he regretted he wasn’t able to maintain better relations with the officials.

Here is a portion of Jerry’s transcript from the great @monilogue:

Jazzfanatical - Jerry Sloan Transcript 6/19/13

As a player Jerry Sloan was one of the fiercest competitors to ever play the game and that fire carried over into his hall-of-fame coaching career. His competitiveness translated not only into motivating and willing his players to perform to their fullest potential, but also into fighting for every call he thought his team deserved.

When Jerry felt his team wasn’t receiving fair treatment from the officials, he let them know about it the best way he knew how: directly and with blunt honesty. He did so loudly and often with strong language, but most importantly he did so with the underlying message that he was willing to fight tooth and nail to help his team win.

As a result, Sloan was often ranked among the league leaders in technical fouls assessed to coaches.

That begs the question: How many technical fouls were assessed to Jerry Sloan over the course of his career?

I keep detailed Jazz logs which include technical foul tallies – but my records don’t go back anywhere close to when Jerry first became head coach of the Jazz in 1988. Therefore using the 2008 Guiness Book of World Records – it was stated that as of March 15, 2007 Jerry Sloan had accumulated 413 technical fouls as both a player and a coach. Adding in technical fouls accumulated since provides a bare-minimum number of T’s Sloan has been assessed since entering the NBA over 40 years ago.

Jerry Sloan – NBA Technical Foul Totals
  Season Regular Season Postseason Total
Pre-3/15/07 413
2006-07 (post-3/15) 1 2 3
2007-08 6 2 8
2008-09 12 3 15
2009-10 4 1 5
2010-11 2 2
Total 446

Assuming the 413-figure includes postseason numbers – Jerry Sloan finished his NBA career amassing a total of at least 446 technical fouls. The actual total is likely higher considering Sloan played five seasons before the NBA began officially recording technical fouls as statistics in 1970.

Regardless, 446 is an extordinary number. By comparison, Rasheed Wallace (who holds the NBA single-season technical foul record of 41 set in 2000-01 – which broke his own record of 38 he had set the previous season) was T’d up a total of 373 times (including playoffs) in his NBA career which may (or may not) be over.

Oh and when those two technical foul wizards crossed paths – all kinds of good stuff happened:

Jerry’s willingness to go after Rasheed Wallace always harkens back to an old Frank Layden quote that Michael C. Lewis shared in his outstanding must-read book “To The Brink” in which Layden said of Sloan: “Nobody fights with Jerry because you know the price would be too high. You might come out the winner, at his age. You might even lick him. But you’d lose an eye, an arm, your testicles in the process. Everything would be gone.”

While Sloan definitely had his own distinct manner in dealing with the refs, it’s important to remember how the league has cracked down on the verbal abuse of their officials in recent years. The leeway that Sloan and other hot-tempered coaches such as Don Nelson once had to work over officiating crews no longer exists in the current NBA. Coaches were forced to relatively “adjust” aspects of their sideline presence as the years went on and Sloan adapted with it.

For example, during the 1999-00 regular season Sloan was called for 24 technical fouls and ejected 6 times. That carried over into Utah’s 9-game postseason where he was called for 4 more technicals and 1 more ejection. By comparison, from the 2007-08 season until the end of his coaching career in 2011 – Sloan was called for a combined total of 24 regular season technicals and 4 ejections. He still maintained his fire and knew when to pick his spots but overall he had calmed down a great deal compared to the Stockton&Malone era when he would pick up technical fouls as if they were candy antique tractors.

While it’s highly possible Jerry Sloan will never coach again in the NBA, I’ll always remember him not only for the great teams he put out on the floor and the toughness and teamwork they displayed – but for his sheer fire and competitive spirit that often carried over into his team’s play.

It’s great to have Jerry back in an advisory role with the franchise, but his best and greatest role ever was as a head coach and it’s still very sad he no longer maintains that position. He truly was an outstanding coach and face of the franchise, technical fouls and all.

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