Sorry to post so quickly on the heels of the last post (what am I, Moby?), but Kurt Kragthorpe just e-mailed me with this:
"I'm writing to you as someone who has expressed opinions about the Jazz to the Tribune. I'm writing about Jerry Sloan, who's described by Sports Illustrated as "the finest coach in pro sports." That means one of two things: Either he's not appreciated enough around here or he's overrated by the rest of the world. What do you think? Thanks, Kurt Kragthorpe"
Here's what I had to say (yes, I was on it like a pig on slop [check out rural metaphor, in honor of Jerry S.]):
"I admire Sloan, in part because he seems like a throwback to another era. When I talk about basketball with friends who've played ball (not me, not ever, not at all--strictly a fan), they have two issues with him: one, he doesn't know how to nurture young talent, and two, he doesn't know how to coach "today's game," the more entrepreneurial, urban inventive style of ball. Basically, it's, like, Hoosiers versus [insert urban basketball-style movie title here]. And maybe there's some truth to both assertions. Still, I like that the ethos of the Jazz seems to be exemplified by Sloan, and with him, Karl Malone and John Stockton. It's hard for me to feel that Sloan's so limited, given the amazing success they had with his model not very long ago. I like his tough old bastard reputation, I love watching him on the sideline, I think he's great.
So my opinion is that people just want change for change's sake sometimes. I remember reading awhile ago on Slate.com (okay, years ago) that the Jazz were the only team that still ran plays (this was during the Karl/John NBA finals years). Even the so-called "triangle offense" isn't really a play--and anyone who's coached a kids' soccer team can tell you about triangulation as a way of moving a ball. The fact that the Jazz have a disciplined offense--or even the philosophy of a disciplined offense--means a lot to me as a basketball fan. The Pistons of the last few years seem to have that same philosophy. I love the dynamic of the old-school philosophy in the overall mix of the NBA. It creates a more interesting basketball epic.
Thanks for asking!