Coach Sloan still the man for the Jazz

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:21 PM ET

SALT LAKE CITY — The interim tag was on Jay Triano two years ago during the Raptors’ visit to Utah.

In the ensuing years, a lot has changed since the team changed coaches, replacing Sam Mitchell with Triano, whose interim label was removed prior to last season.

Going forward, a lot is unknown with the Raptors because there’s no guarantee GM Bryan Colangelo, whose contract expires after this season, will back and there’s no certainty that Triano will be around either.

Whatever happens, there’s no way Triano will have the longevity of a Jerry Sloan, a fixture in Utah who has never won coach of the year honours in the NBA.

It speaks to the stupidity of the voting process when Mitchell, now an assistant in New Jersey, has more coaching awards than Sloan, which is not meant as a slight to Mitchell.

In 2007, Mitchell beat out Sloan by 93 votes to win the award in helping Toronto to an Atlantic Division title.

In reality, Sloan should have won, but he should won before ’07.

Sloan succeeded Frank Layden following the 1988 season and has always kept the Jazz competitive.

When he was trying to make the NBA, Triano was invited to training camp by the Jazz and played under Layden, a close friend of former Canadian national team head coach Jack Donohue.

Utah owner Greg Miller feels no need to end Sloan’s run anytime soon.

“I’m in zero hurry to push Jerry out,” Miller told The Salt Lake Tribune. “It’s because he’s still producing. He’s still working as hard today as he was the day we hired him, if not harder.”

The Jazz began the year by dropping its first two games, surrendering 110 points in each loss.

Utah rebounded with a dominant road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and entered Wednesday’s home game versus the Raptors as the decided favourites having beaten Toronto 10 straight times.

In their 14 previous visits to Utah, the Raptors won only three games.

—Frank Zicarelli


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