Former Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams spoke to Jerry Sloan’s coaching greatness
As a coach for the Utah Jazz, Jerry Sloan logged 1,127 wins and a 62.3 winning percentage. Among NBA coaches all-time, Sloan is the fourth-most winningest coach in the league’s history, sitting behind just Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkens and Gregg Popovich.
That company alone of fellow coaching legends speaks to the pedigree Sloan brought to the franchise. But the response from the athletes Sloan coached regarding the skill, focus, and his strong will means even more.
Deron Williams, who played for Sloan for five full years, had to prove himself in his rookie season despite an impressive run at the University of Illinois prior to his NBA career.
It took Williams about half the season to break in as the team’s starting point guard, but after that Williams became one of the most skilled point guards Sloan would ever coach, no slight compliment considering Hall of Famer John Stockton tops that list.
Williams recently spoke on how great of a coach Sloan was and how he helped shape his All-Star career.
Deron Williams remembers Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan as a strict, succesful coach
Utah Jazz great Deron Williams recently linked up with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles on the Knuckleheads podcast to talk about his journey through life, college, and the NBA, and of course touched on the Jazz and Jerry Sloan along the way.
One of the biggest areas Williams shone some light on was Sloan’s offense, and how he implemented it in practice. Williams pointed to Sloan’s emphasis on everyone understanding everyone’s role, not just their own:
“Do you know how much dummy offense we did? Man, so we would do it. Some days we come in, and he’ll put me at the five and he’ll put [Carlos Boozer] at the one, you had to know, he wanted you to know every position so that everything was interchangeable. And that’s how good we run it. That’s what made it so successful, is how hard we ran it and how well we ran it.”
Williams also mentioned that Sloan was no soft coach, remarking that the team would even get their ankles taped up for shootaround.
Sloan’s strict mentality was evident each and every season, and Williams experienced that in full force.
“Every training camp we had our team meeting. Coach Sloan he would flip through this [season handbook], he would have his glasses on and he’d be reading, and he’d take them [expletive] off and he would be mad about, it’s like we did something wrong, but it’s the first meeting ever. When he’s going over the rules, like he’s already mad because he knows somebody gon’ break the rules.”
He recalled some of Sloan’s famous rules. Shirts were to be tucked in, drawstrings of shorts tucked in as well, and no one was permitted to be on their cell phones on the bus under any circumstance.
A disciplinarian, he set these rules to give each player a sense of focus on the common goal, not to be strict for no reason at all.
Over 1,000 wins speaks for itself. It worked.
Sloan passed away in May of 2020 after a battle with Parkinson’s, a major loss for not just the Utah Jazz, but the entire NBA community.