Posted by: Steven on January 3rd, 2013The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
Coach Corbin stepped into a horrible situation around two seasons ago, after Coach Sloan stepped aside. Taking over from a hall of famer coach was never going to be easy, doing so without the one star player the team had less than two weeks later made the job even harder. Last season, under difficult circumstances we got the close season by the skin of teeth. Doing so Corbin at least made the team respectable, at least before the blowout loss to the regular season’s Western Conference best team. Who then went and did the same thing to a Chris Paul run team. It was ultimately a respectable accomplishment to get to the playoffs last season when the team wasn’t rated to do so however the more games I see Corbin leading the less I think he is the future of this organization. Since last season I haven’t see to much development of the team. I think over the summer the team did improve in some key areas with the acquisitions of Mo, Marvin and Randy and with the departures of Devin, CJ, Josh and the absence of Raja however we are still stuck around .500.
Unfortunately this team has no real stars. This is a team that only get’s the Clippers castoffs. We can argue that this player or that is close to being an All Star, but the truth is we don’t even have a current All Star within the team, nevermind a real genuine franchise player, without such we need a coach that can motivate players to perform night in night out. I don’t see any evidence that that is happening. From game night to game night performances are all over the shop. We expect that from the Gordon Hayward’s and Derrick Favors in the team who are still finding out just how good they are and how to fit into the team. We shouldn’t be expecting it from the previously consistent Paul Millsap.
We as fan’s know, and coaches around the league know, Al Jefferson’s strengths and weaknesses in his game. The better teams around the league seem to be able to use this as a stick to beat us with. There are player’s like Al Jefferson all around the league, players that on paper put up good individual numbers but have glaring weaknesses in their game., the better coaches though can use those same players in such a way that the weaknesses are hidden somewhat. After two seasons I don’t see any evidence that Corbin knows how to do this with Al. It isn’t Corbin’s fault that Al is one of the better attacking players on the team and one of the weakest defenders. It isn’t his fault that he is even part of the personnel. However he should by now know how to use him and when to use him. We have to give Al credit he knows his own weaknesses he has tried to become a better passer, his assist totals have gone up but he is still slow with the ball in his hands and that slowness affects the movement of his teammates, or lack there of. The lack of ball movement when it gets to Al can also affect the rhythm of his teammates. With the ball stuck in his hands other players get less time on the ball, meaning the wings such as Gordon, and Marvin and Randy can get a lot of minutes on the floor without seeing too much of the ball. Corbin in two years hasn’t found a way around this.
Over the past two years another problem hasn’t been addressed. Slow starts. Now we can’t put it all on Corbin, this was a problem during Coach Sloan’s final half season too. During that period of time this team was suffering the same problem, it was disguised at first when the team kept coming back from double digit deficits, but towards the end of Sloan’s rein the team could no longer keep coming back from such deficits and the losses gained momentum as did the distance between DWill and coach Sloan.
Unfortunately, 2 years on, that problem is still there. Teams around the league seem to know that the Jazz start slow and build up a lead in the first quarter. Often those leads with be drawn back. But it takes effort for a team with no stars, and that effort cannot always be sustained over the next 3 quarters. That in itself is a large reason why this team doesn’t have more wins and less losses than it does this season and last. Why is it after 2 years its pretty much the same 5 guys that start every match, minus a wing player here or there or an injured PG, when those 5 guys struggle to win those 1st 12 minutes of a game? We are consistently told as fans that its not important who starts a game but who finishes a game, and yet Corbin consistently will start with Jefferson and Millsap and yet the final five players in the final quarter will change on a nightly basis depending on the matching lineup and performances. I would argue that the starters are important if we keep playing the same players and keep giving opposing teams a lead. Why can’t this team throw a spanner in the works of opposing teams preparations and expectations by being less predictable at the start of games?
When this team has no stars we need a coach that can develop the young players to be better NBA players, I don’t see too much evidence of that at this time. Favors and Kanter are both players that demand more time but their eagerness make them foul prone. Burks barely sees any time on the floor unless the team is desperate. I’m starting to wonder if this is because the team is trying to change his skill-set behind the scenes and don’t want to confuse him by playing him too many minutes while he develops his new game, or whether its just because Corbin doesn’t rate him as a team player. Either way he doesn’t seem to give the boy much of a chance, when this could have been a break out season for him had some faith been shown with him early on. A team that seems to be lacking shooters couldn’t find any room for Murphy. The team invests in a new 3 year contract on Evans but minutes for the kid seems to be even harder to come by. Other than Favors, Hayward is the only young drafted player that seems to get decent minutes under Corbin and thats probably because he is a Kirilenko like in that he is a selfish team player that can pass, defend, run the floor, and shoot when called upon.
I don’t see any real development of those draft picks that hasn’t been self development. Hayward was already a well rounded player, he needed confidence and consistency to add to his skill set. That consistency is not coming as frequently as we would like as long as the ball is going through the bigs the way the way it does at present. We are not going to see Favors and Kanter become better players if they only play marginal minutes against better players and get most of the rest of their minutes against second units.
This team needs a star player. It also needs a new PG, not necessarily a star PG, teams do not give up such players easily and we would be kidding ourselves if we think we can get one for the talent that we are willing to give up. However, maybe more important than the playing personnel changes that need to be implemented in the next six months or so if we are to develop as a team, we also need a new coach.
A coach that can make timely timeout decisions that break the opposing teams rhythm, and add some emphasis to our own. We need a coach that develops the young talent we have. We don’t necessarily have to give all the minutes over to the young players and destroy our season. That development can be on training days, or maybe Favors or Kanter, or both could start games more frequently. Those 1st quarters seem to be a struggle anyway, would the team be worse off with Jefferson coming off the bench here and there? Another coach may well think our young players need to earn their minutes just like Sloan and Corbin have done so, but the make up of those minutes can still be very different from what they have been these past couple of years.
The problem is who do we go for? I’m not sure I like too many of the coaches who are available. Those who have been moved on lately have not had great records. And without star players we can’t attract the best coaches. And yet without a star coach can the team make a play for say Chris Paul in free agency at the season’s end? Right now we are a team with average talent and some good draft picks that need development and encouragement and whole lot of cap space come the seasons end. The best development coaches tend to stay at their teams. I don’t want a journeyman. I want someone that can motivate to get the best out of his squad of players game night in game night out, and be tactically aware be someone who can break the opponent’s rhythm and someone who we can have faith in to stay the course.
I make the case that the FO have to start looking at the Head Coach situation now. If the team wants to make the most of its potential talent in the young draft picks that it has gathered the past couple of season and wants to make the most of this summer’s opportunity of 8 expiring contracts than a coaching decision has to be made soon. After the Raja debacle and Corbin getting the team in last years playoffs it was right to give the man a vote of confidence with his extension being taken up. Unfortunately though the team hasn’t moved on since then. Results are still running along the same path as last year. Even if the team wins 3 of the next 4 games which it should be capable of the team will still only be one team above .500. Respectable yes, but no real progress. Not progress thats going to suggest this is the place to be if you are NBA star.
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