Alvin Gentry, Adrian Griffin lead Jazz coaching candidates, per report


The two coaches atop the Jazz's list to replace Tyrone Corbin couldn't have much more different résumés.

Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Alvin Gentry and Chicago Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin are among two of the leading candidates for the Utah Jazz's vacant head coaching position, according to Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Gentry has 705 career games as an NBA head coach, whereas Griffin is considered among the league's top rising assistants after retiring as a journeyman player in 2008 and immediately joining the coaching ranks.

Why this makes sense

Gentry: The Jazz wouldn't be getting a superstar coach in Gentry -- they wouldn't be getting a superstar coach no matter what, it seems -- but he comes at face value as a coach who can make teams soar offensively. He did so perhaps most notably as the coach of the Phoenix Suns from 2009-13. The Suns made the Western Conference finals in his first season as head coach there, and they led the league with 110.2 points per game behind Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire.

Griffin: Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey has "preached a need for defense over the past year," according to Falk, and Griffin would fit the bill in that regard much more so than Gentry. Griffin was an assistant in Milwaukee before joining Tom Thibodeau's first staff in Chicago, and he's been a mainstay on the Bulls' bench since. Jazz guard John Lucas III played for Griffin in Chicago, and according to Falk, Lucas said he admired his work ethic and ability as a teacher.

"He was constantly at the practice gym late at night, watching film. He really studies the game," Lucas said. "He's really about the game of basketball. He knows what it takes to win. I think guys will buy into his system. We're a young team. We've got to get a teacher, and Adrian can definitely teach the game."

Why this doesn't make sense

Gentry: If Lindsey and the Jazz management wants to preach defense, hiring Gentry would be among the worst hires they could make. Gentry's best team, the 2009-10 Suns mentioned above, were 23rd in the league with a 110.2 defensive rating (compared to a league-best 115.3 offensive rating). In his seven full seasons as a head coach -- he's either been a midseason replacement or fired during a season on five occasions -- he's finished 23rd or lower in defensive rating four times and inside the top 10 just twice.

Griffin: The Jazz are loaded with young players, and with the No. 5 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, they well could take on a key piece under the age of 20 (SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell has the Jazz selecting Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon). With so much youth and a roster full of players whose only playoff experience was getting swept by the Spurs in the first round in 2012, it may be in the Jazz's best interest to turn to a head coach who can guide his team with familiarity through new situations.


Gentry, 4: It seems like Gentry's name popped up because his name will always pop up, but he doesn't seem like the ideal fit for the Jazz. He may still get the job because of his experience, as it seems jobs go in the NBA sometimes, but if Utah really is committed to defense, hiring Gentry would be the end of that.

Griffin, 7: The Jazz have a handful of quality pieces that could mold into a good defensive team, and Griffin would be a quality candidate to lead them toward that identity. He has a fan in Lucas, who is publicly lauding his credentials as the man for the job despite only having six years as an NBA assistant coach under his belt. After replacing Jerry Sloan with Tyrone Corbin, who had never been a head coach, it's possible the Jazz choose a more experienced candidate, but Griffin seems like a better fit.

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