Posted by: Steven on November 14th, 2012The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
If the team can get through this month’s horrible stretch of away games relatively unscathed then I feel the Jazz have the personnel to have a good exciting to watch season. However that said I still think there are concerns for the upcoming season.
My number one concern is Corbin as head coach. I’m not sure I would have given him his extension this early in the season.Don’t get me wrong I like him. I think he is a good coach who was thrust into to the job under trying circumstances, losing a star player, his mentor and dealing with injuries in his first half season, and in the lockout did a good job of making the Jazz respectable. However I feel at times he has been tactically naive. There is no disgrace losing to San Antonio and Pop, 4 and 0 in the playoffs. Not when that team has 3 Big time players and were on such a run leading up to the playoffs. However there did seem to be a lack of desire to try something different in the playoffs when plan A clearly wasn’t working, until it was too late that is. Still Pop with all his experience and San Antonio having the big three is an intimidating experience. My concern isn’t being tactically naive in those games. With time that can be addressed as the players get more time together. My concern is when bad teams around the league know the strengths and weaknesses of this Jazz team and are able to adjust their game so that play ‘good’ nights against the Jazz. Those teams seem to have a more tactically aware coach than Corbin. A coach who then adjusts their game to nullify a Jazz strength and then attack a Jazz weakness. Thats fine, you expect teams to do just that. The fact that it is so successful so frequently is painful to watch.
The Jazz are sadly predictable, and needlessly so. Despite having a number of options amongst the Bigs we pretty much know who is starting game barring family emergencies or injuries. Same goes for the SF’s and SG’s. Again we have a number of options there too. This is no longer the team that had a few injuries, and a weak second unit after Dwill left. Sure we might not have a star player but we have a number of good players with different complimentary skill sets. Yet a season and a half on in Corbin’s rein we still all know who is going to start and who will be in the second unit before the game is started. We as fans know the players individual strengths, and weaknesses. As does Corbin. As does the opposition around the league.
The Jazz are predictable and coaches around the league are imposing their game on the Jazz instead of the other way around. A weakened Hornets team keeps the game close and scrapes out a win. A supposedly poor shooting, poor rebounding and understrength Rapters team doesn’t allow the Jazz to get ahead at any point in regular time, and only loses it after 3 overtime periods.
For a team that can beat Dallas and the Lakers (underachieving or not) games such as these should be games where you can build up a lead early in the game and then take it easy the rest of the saving energy for later in the season against harder opposition. However its teams like these that have been imposing their game on the Jazz for a while now. Last season a couple more wins against the the likes of the Hornets, Kings and the Wizards around the league and the Jazz would have made the playoffs with ease, and perhaps had an easier matchup against the Lakers.
What is Corbin’s problem? Why are his teams so predictable? I’m not sure whether he prefers to play the size of contract. Or is that he doesn’t trust youth when his job is on the line if results don’t go his way. Kanter, Favors, and Burks all have weaknesses in their game, and are unpredictable, but they do have strengths too. We know Favors strength is defense.
Maybe Corbin prefers attack to defence. How often have we seen teams build up a lead against the Jazz in the in the first or second quarters. Personally I’m not sold on Favor’s attacking game just yet but against teams such as San Antonio I would like to see if he would be a better starting option than Big Al. Also I would like to see if against bad shooting teams if he could start the game and nullify their threat even more. Against Big Al some on those teams seem to rejoice in the space they get. Especially early when he’s not putting in the defensive effort. He isn’t the best pick and roll defensive player but he can play defense in other ways but early in games he seems to not put in the effort. He puts in more defensive effort late in games when the game is close and on the line. Sometimes though by then it is too little too late, the game has got away from us. A less predictable Jazz lineup could start a game with Favors and end with Jefferson on some occasions, imposing a suffocating defense early in the game may well stop a team from getting any momentum. Like the Hornets seemed to do to the Jazz the other week.
A defensive game isn’t the most entertaining to watch but neither is a game where the opposition builds up a lead early in the game. Then its just plain difficult to win. Many teams have done that to the Jazz. Favors doesn’t have a good shooting game in his repertoire just yet, but now the Jazz can afford to play him with players that do, whereas perhaps they didn’t have that option in the past.
Looking at the Jazz team now, there is a lot made of the overstock of certain calibers of player in many positions within the team. Like thats a problem! We have seen against certain lineups that theJjazz can impose their will with a Big lineup of Al, Favors and Millsap, other times we can go to a small lineup.
Arguably you could say with the number of options we have amongst the Bigs, SF’s, and SG’s we have an embarrassment of riches. We have a number of options in lineups. The only weakness we have is at PG. Mo is decent, but is going to be often injured and miss minutes as a result throughout the season. Watson and Tinsley are good pros but may not be strong enough as backup options in Mo’s absence. However that said positionally we could bamboozle the opposition with our other options on the floor. We could be truly unpredictable on any given night, on any given minute if Corbin was just open to the possibility. Outside of the PG position there is no need for any self contained roles any more. Few teams have a center of any great caliber, and yet they will stick a PF in that position and do just fine.
I said my number one concern is Corbin. I briefly just touched on the second. PG. I like Mo. I like what he brings to the table shooting wise, its nice to have that threat there. I like his attitude. And I’ve been pleasantly surprised at his assists total. However my concern is he is going to miss games throughout the season. Burks nor Foye to me are natural PG’s and so cannot be looked on as able backup’s. Watching Tinsley this season I see less and less of a shooting threat, than even last season. That worries me. He has a nice assist rate but teams are going to notice his lack of shot threat and harrass his passing, especially if he is up against the better starting PG’s on some nights. That assist rate may still be high but there will be turnovers. I’m not sure I would want Calderon as my starting PG, but if Tinsley could be packaged together with Bell I would prefer to have him as insurance for our second PG. I think it would also allow us to play Mo for less minutes on some nights, or even together as a PG & SG combination against some teams.
Any thoughts or concerns of your own?
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