Karl Malone Returning to Utah Jazz as Part-Time Assistant Coach
Maybe Jeff Hornacek was on to something.
The newly named head coach of the Phoenix Suns and former sharpshooter for the Utah Jazz said he'd try to lure his old running mate, Karl Malone, to the Phoenix sidelines for an assistant coaching gig, via Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune:
Jeff Hornacek said he will call Karl Malone about an asst. position, but has his doubts, joked, "After two weeks he’ll want to go fishing."— Bill Oram (@tribjazz) May 28, 2013
But Hornacek's former franchise beat him to the punch, with a position that can scratch Malone's coaching itch without cutting into his fishing time.
According to Jody Genessy of Deseret News, Malone has accepted a part-time coaching position to work with Utah's post players:
Karl Malone just announced on Jazz radio that he will be helping to coach Utah's big men in a part-time capacity.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) May 29, 2013
Sounds great, right, Jazz fans?
The Mailman, a 14-time All-Star and two-time MVP, returning to the place where he built a Hall of Fame career that saw him pour in the second-most points, 36,928, in league history, via Basketball-Reference.com.
Given Utah's oozing potential on the frontcourt in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, and the possible return of either of its free-agent bigs Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, Malone will hardly be painting on an empty canvas.
But wait, it gets even better.
Malone's addition came at the request of one of those young post players, who's looking to use the legend's expertise to maximize on his own potential, per Genessy:
Derrick Favors' desire to improve was an impetus leading to Karl Malone being hired to coach Jazz bigs. Favors reached out to management.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) May 30, 2013
The NBA is littered with statuesque men, jackpot winners of the genetics lottery. With size, speed and athleticism to boot, the league features some of the world's most physically gifted specimens.
But a look at its cream of the crop, the 24 players fortunate enough to be working on the Sunday of All-Star weekend, shows a common trait that goes beyond the physical realm. There's an insatiable appetite to improve, to augment their natural gifts with tireless gym work and film study.
Favors (6'10", 246 pounds) fits the physical profile and then some. The then-New Jersey Nets bought into his potential by making him the third pick of 2010 NBA draft, then the Jazz did the same by targeting him as a premier piece of the package they received in return for Deron Williams.
With Millsap and/or Jefferson likely leaving the franchise over the summer, Favors figured to be on the verge of a breakthrough season. Now that he'll have Malone giving him guidance, Favors may well have just shed his already lofted projected ceiling.
Malone's ready and willing to offer all the support that he can.
As long as it doesn't trim too much off his fishing schedule, at least.
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