This is as it should be.
On Jan. 31 next year the Jazz are going to retire a number in honor of Jerry Sloan.
For 23 years Sloan was the Utah Jazz — not the face of it (that would be John Stockton and Karl Malone) but the driving force behind a franchise that played smart, intense basketball. Even in the years their talent was down they were a tough night on the schedule, with their committment to a flex offense and hard-nosed defense. His teams had a 60.3 percent winning percentage over 26 seasons (he spent three in Chicago prior to coming to Utah).
Sloan was old-school tough and his teams reflected that night in and night out. They were gritty. In their best years they were a legitimate foil to Michael Jordan’s Bulls.
Great video tribute above. Great decision by the Jazz.
With our PBT Extra videos, we are previewing the entire NBA by using bold predictions, starting in the Pacific Division (we already did the Warriors).
Some of those predictions come from fans on Twitter where I had sent out a request, including the bold prediction for the Clippers.
It could happen, they are certainly contenders. But two things need to happen.
The big one is their defense, which was middle of the pack last season, needs to move into the top 10 (and DeAndre Jordan needs to play consistently like a guy who is third in Defensive Player of the Year voting).
Second is the new and improved bench unit of Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, and Jamal Crawford (he’s not new) need to mesh into a unit. Those are three guys who like to create for themselves and make questionable shot choices, getting them play well with others could be a bumpy road.
Stephen Curry said the defending-champion Warriors would have no problem picking up where they left off.
His swagger certainly remains intact.