Scott Layden was overlooked when the Jazz hired Dennis Lindsey as their general manager in 2012, and then he took Lindsey’s old job in San Antonio.
Jim Boylen was fired as the University of Utah’s coach in 2011, then returned to the NBA as an Indiana assistant and eventually joined the Spurs last summer.
Sunday, the two of them won a championship.
The Spurs’ decisive, 4-1 defeat of Miami in the NBA Finals was validating for Layden and Boylen — and for Lindsey, who helped build another championship team in San Antonio and is applying the Spurs’ model to the Jazz. San Antonio’s latest title gives some credibility to the Jazz, with new coach Quin Snyder having experienced the Spurs’ approach via their D-League team.
Lindsey was part of the Spurs’ operation in 2011, when the team traded up to No. 15 and took San Diego State forward Kawhi Leonard, who was named the NBA Finals MVP.
Layden was a Jazz assistant coach during the team’s NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and ‘98, when Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls prevailed. His championship ring was more than 30 years in the making, covering two long stints with the Jazz and his front-office tenure with New York. Layden is San Antonio’s assistant general manager, working with R.C. Buford, who’s the NBA executive of the year.
Boylen was involved in two title productions in Houston. He was much more prominent in San Antonio’s championship run as the No. 1 assistant to Gregg Popovich, the league’s coach of the year.
In the Spurs’ culture, assistant coaches and management personnel other than Buford rarely are made available for interviews and maintain low profiles outside of the organization. But within the team, they’re highly valued, and Layden and Boylen will enjoy their success.
They’ll also get back to work immediately, preparing for the June 26 NBA draft.
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