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After losses, Jazz coach Will Hardy is just as hard on himself as the players

Utah Jazz coach Will Hardy talks to center Walker Kessler during a game against the Brooklyn Nets, Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, in New York. The Nets crushed the Jazz, 147-114.

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Utah Jazz coach Will Hardy has not pulled punches or sugarcoated anything after his team loses games. He calls out boneheaded plays, he criticizes when effort is lacking and he wants his players to be held accountable.

But that frustration isn’t just for the players. Hardy is just as hard on himself as he is of the team, if not more.

A great example of this self accountability from Hardy is what he said after the Jazz lost to the New York Knicks on Tuesday night — the final game of their six-game road trip.

“I hate myself right now, pretty much.” Hardy laughed a little bit to lighten the moment, but then continued, “I don’t feel good. I don’t think I did a good job, believe me.”

But he didn’t just leave things with the generality of not doing a good job. When I asked him, he gave very specific examples of how he thought his coaching could have been better against the Knicks that night.

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He pointed to the fact that the Jazz had moved between playing off-ball actions and playing pick-and-roll. In the moment, he thought playing pick-and-roll might loosen up the Knicks’ defense (from the heavy switching they were doing on the perimeter). But his plan went a little sideways because the Knicks were great defending the pick-and-roll.

“It didn’t work out that way,” Hardy said. “So, I wish I’d hung in with the off-ball a little bit more early on.”

He also didn’t feel great about how he directed the team to guard Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo and said he would be rewatching a lot of their possessions to understand what he could have done differently and if he overreacted at times.

This wasn’t the first time that Hardy has been specific about his faults following a game. He’s really open about when he makes mistakes.

While I’m sure that fans wish the head coach of the Jazz didn’t make mistakes, I think it’s nice to know that he’s always trying to find areas of improvement, just as the players should.

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“We’ve all got to be playing the same song or else it’s going to sound horrible.” — Jazz coach Will Hardy

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Utah Jazz coach Will Hardy reacts to a call during a game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Tyler Kaufman, Associated Press
Utah Jazz coach Will Hardy reacts to a call during a game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Tyler Kaufman, Associated Press