While every other team in major professional sports has changed coaches at least once, Sloan has been there through thick and thin. In a time when owners have a win-now philosophy and firing coaches left and right, Sloan still stands by his x’s and o’s.
Through all of his years, Sloan has achieved many great things. Seven times his teams have captured the division title.
Twice during his tenure the Jazz have emerged as Western Conference champions. Of all of his seasons, the Jazz have failed to reach the playoffs only three times.
Yet for all of his accomplishments, Sloan has never been named the NBA’s Coach of the Year, an honor given annually.
That could change this season.
The struggles that the Jazz have gone through this season have been well documented.
An injured knee has cost leading scorer and two time all-star Carlos Boozer 44 games, more than half of the season.
Though he has recently returned to the lineup, he has yet to play in more than a half of a game and is still a step slow, trying to get back into shape.
Deron Williams missed games earlier this season recovering from an ankle injury and like Boozer, took a couple of weeks to get the rust off.
Sixth-man Andrei Kirilenko had surgery on an ankle that cost him several games.
Add to this the adversity that has come with the passing of owner Larry Miller, and the Jazz have had more than their fair share of trouble this year.
Through all of the trouble they have had to wade through this year, Sloan has been the consistent piece. His style has not changed, it is always the same. Work hard, play hard, and don’t make excuses.
This season, the jazz are 3-11 on the second night of back to back games.
Though its not great, its understandable given travel conditions, late nights with not much sleep and a depleted roster.
Sloan will have no excuses though.
“If you get fatigued playing two nights in a row, you need to get in shape or you are in the wrong business,” said Sloan recently.
“I can’t worry about injuries,” Sloan added. “I have to play who is available and who wants to play.”
This philosophy has the Jazz fighting for not only a playoff spot, but home court advantage in the first round.
Perhaps this year, the voters will honor Sloan for keeping the wheels from spinning off the track. Even if they don’t, it will still be the same, working hard, playing hard, and not making excuses.