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Meet the Utah Jazz staff member behind coaches challenges

Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy argues a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

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There is a member of Will Hardy’s staff who, in addition to his everyday duties, has a very important job, and lately he’s been on an even hotter streak than the team.

George Rodman, the Jazz’s vice president of analytics and game strategy, is the man who tells Hardy if he should, or should not, challenge a call in a game.

“No one wants that job,” Hardy said. “He does a great job, but I promise you that if I offered him to trade it to somebody else, he would gladly give it up.”

Not only does Rodman have to make split-second decisions for the challenges, but Hardy also looks to him to see if he agrees with any other foul calls made so that Hardy can maintain some credibility when he’s complaining to the officials.

Additionally, Rodman has to deal with players complaining about calls not being challenged and he has to be the one to deliver bad news in the heat of the moment.

But lately, Rodman has been delivering some really good news. The Jazz have won 9 of the last 10 challenges they’ve made and the credit goes to Rodman.

“He watches every challenge from around the league. He’s trying to figure out what’s being overturned, what’s not,” Hardy said. “He knows the rulebook better than anybody on our team, knows the rule but way better than I do, for sure. I have the utmost trust in George.”

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But as Hardy said, Rodman did not ask for this responsibility. He kind of just drew the short straw.

As Hardy was planning out in-game duties for his staff, the analytics staff doesn’t really have much to do that is live and can be implemented quickly. So, in order to maximize the talents and time of everyone on staff, Hardy gave Rodman an in-game responsibility that is not enviable.

“He doesn’t let me yell at the refs as much as I want,” Hardy said with a laugh. “I’ve known George since my first year in San Antonio, so he’s a very good friend of mine as well, which helps because he knows that I don’t hate him.”

So when Jazz fans see Hardy looking down the bench when he’s contemplating using one of his challenges, just know that the man behind the madness is Rodman.

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“George is annoying, but he does deserve some love.” — Jazz head coach Will Hardy on George Rodman

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Up next: 2023-24 regular season

  • Jan. 6 | 5:30 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Philadelphia 76ers | KJZZ

  • Jan. 8 | 6 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Milwaukee Bucks | KJZZ

  • Jan. 10 | 8 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets | ESPN

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