The Utah Jazz have once again made a somewhat unconventional addition to their coaching staff.
The Deseret News has confirmed that the team has hired former Philadelphia 76ers vice president of strategy Sergi Oliva to be an assistant coach. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey first reported the news Thursday evening, also reporting that Oliva had been let go by the 76ers.
In his role with Philadelphia, Oliva helped lead the team’s analytics department, and he’ll now bring that expertise to the Jazz, but in more of a coaching role. His hire follows that of Dell Demps, who will also join the Jazz as an assistant coach. Demps has been a longtime executive in the NBA but not a coach (Oliva does have prior coaching experience in Spain).
Pompey wrote Thursday that Oliva “had a lot to do with determining the Sixers’ rotation and substitution patterns based on the analytics. He was an integral part of the coaching meetings and presented the coaches with an analytics sheet to consult during games.”
Ben Falk, who runs a popular analytics-centric subscription website called Cleaning The Glass and formerly worked in multiple NBA front offices (he once had the same title with the 76ers that Oliva did), tweeted Thursday night, “What a hire by Quin Snyder and the Jazz. Sergi is one of the best I’ve seen at combining Xs and Os knowledge and the ability to work with and interpret data.”