Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A New Era?

Jerry Sloan has resigned and presumably retired. I hate to say this but it took me some time to process this. Jerry Sloan has been coaching since I was five years old. I've seen him weather the hurricanes that were Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, the Lake shows, the Detroit Pistons (both iterations) and while he has never won a championship, he's 400+ wins above .500. That's right, he's got 1200+ wins and only 800+ losses over the course of 23 years. He's had John Stockton, Karl Malone, and Carlos Boozer. That's it. Look at Phil Jackson. He's had Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal, Pau Gasol, Dennis Rodman, amongst others and he won championships. I can't help but think that if Michael Jordan had been good at baseball, Utah might have won a championship. But now, after that run, he has come to the end of his era. Why? His young franchise point guard was frustrated. Maybe Derron Williams really did feel like he wasn't "properly prepared" to face off against the Bulls and Derek Rose (though really, how much film do you need to watch to know that Derek Rose is freaky like a lady pyramid fast? Even Ken Jeong recognizes it). Maybe he felt that the coaching staff wasn't pushing hard enough. But how many professional coaches has Derron Williams had? How much responsibility does Williams take for his own failures to win a championship or to properly prepare for games? As has been mentioned before, Sloan and Williams had some prior issues. They never seemed to meet on the same playing field. You see, Sloan believed in leaving it all on the floor as a player and preached that to his players. For the younger class of player, that type of hard nosed, "you'll never be good enough" style of coaching doesn't fly. The generation that Williams belongs to, the millennials, don't do tough love. This is a generation that doesn't respond well to being told they're not good enough. Everything has catered to this new generation from birth, and if they excel, its hard to tell one that they still have goals they need to accomplish. Of course this is all speculation on my part. There's a solid chance that Jerry Sloan and his coaching staff didn't spoon feed footage on opposing teams to their players. He may have left that to his players to search out on their own, or at least to take the initiative to ask for it. I don't know that. All I know is that a great coach, a future HOFer with an amazing record of success and guiding his team to wins, has been forced into resigning because the team doesn't want to lose its star point guard. No matter how the media paints it, that's what it falls down to. If Utah had shipped out Derron Williams or backed Jerry Sloan, maybe he would've stayed. But that's not how this generation works. We are now in the generation of the player. Should it always be that way? I suppose the Utah Jazz feel that way.