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There’s quite a few NBA coaches that are former players themselves. Even if they weren’t NBA-level players, most have a playing background, at least at the collegiate level, and that includes Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy, who played Division III ball at Williams College.

The 6-foot-6 Hardy obviously has at least some amount of basketball chops, but can he dunk?

When asked by reporters, Hardy laughed at the prospect.

“I don’t remember the last time I tried, honestly — for fear of injury,” the 35-year-old coach said. “It’s a great question, though. ... If you guys see me in a boot on the sideline, I’ll blame it on you.”

Fellow 35-year-old Mike Conley suggested that Hardy take a full-day approach to the attempt, loosening up his body before the big jump.

“I think he still could,” Conley said. “If you give him enough head’s up, get him in the hot tub, the sauna, get him limbered up he can get up there.”

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But wait, can Mike Conley dunk?

That’s a conversation that Hardy and Conley recently had, and Conley told Hardy the last time the point guard dunked was in 2015 when he was with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Conley was out in front on a fast break and only had teammate Vince Carter behind him. The same Vince Carter that notoriously has some of the best dunks in NBA history. Carter wanted a lob for a dunk on the break, but Conley just looked behind him and went for the dunk himself.

According to NBA.com/stats shot tracking data, Conley made one dunk the next season (2016-17) and had one dunk attempt that was unsuccessful last season, but I couldn’t find video evidence of those two and the NBA’s shot tracking data isn’t always perfect.

Nonetheless, Hardy said that Conley claims he can still dunk and Hardy is hopeful that he’ll break out one this season.

“I think this is the year of the dunk,” the coach said. “I really do. I believe that, and we’re trying to put that out in the atmosphere. I think Mike’s gonna get one.”

New with the Jazz

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This week in Jazz history

On Jan. 27, 2020, Eric Gordon scored a career-high 50 points against the Utah Jazz in the Houston Rockets’ 126-117 win. Gordon shot 63.6% overall, 54.5% from 3-point range and 80% from the free throw line.

This week on ‘Unsalvageable’

Check out “Unsalvageable,” hosted by Deseret News Utah Jazz beat reporter Sarah Todd and lifelong Jazz fan Greg Foster (no, not that Greg Foster).

This week the crew talks about rapper YG vs. Jordan Clarkson, the Jazz’s youth movement and then make their picks for the All-Star Game.

New episodes come out every week. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere else you stream podcasts.

Stat of the week

Portland’s Damian Lillard scored 60 points on only 29 shot attempts in the Trail Blazers’ 134-124 win over the Jazz on Wednesday for the most efficient 60-point game in NBA history. Only nine of his points came from the free throw line and he shot at a 60% clip from 3-point range and 72.4% overall.

From the archives

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Jazz rookies figuring out what success looks like in the NBA
Who are the Jazz shopping and who is untouchable? A trade deadline primer

Extra points

  • Jazz fans with Comcast can now stream games (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Lauri Markkanen’s breakout season busts NBA development myth (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • NBA All-Star starter and jerseys unveiled (Deseret News)
  • Jazz expungement clinic gives Utahns second chances, clean slates (KSL.com)

Around the league

Luka Doncic sprains ankle, is day-to-day with injury.

Stephen Curry was so mad about a Jordan Poole shot that he got ejected from a game.

LeBron James Game 7 Finals jersey from 2013 was auctioned for $3.7 million.

Up next

Jan. 28 | 7 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks | AT&T SportsNet

Feb. 1 | 7 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. Toronto Raptors | AT&T SportsNet

Feb. 3 | 7 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. Atlanta Hawks | AT&T SportsNet

Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley drives (but doesn’t dunk) during game against the Nets in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News