Reflecting on Tyrone Corbin’s Time As Coach of the Utah Jazz

#FireTy – How glad I am to be done reading that.

Before you get too committed to reading this, I’ll give you fair warning – I’m a #TyBot;  a promoter of “The Narrative” we hear so much about; someone who blindly follows the word of the Jazz management – or so I’m told.

Coach Corbin is out as the head coach of the Utah Jazz.  News of the decision echoed through the Twitter-verse as many fans took to the web to express their joy.  A season of getting almost exactly what fans had asked for had taken its toll on the Utah fanbase, and the change was welcome to almost all.  I, however, am less enthusiastic than most.  Do I believe that good can come from this change?  Absolutely.  Do I think that TyCo was ever really given a chance to succeed? Nope.

Rewind to 2011, the legend who is Jerry Sloan stepped down abruptly. Coach Corbin was quickly thrown into the head coaching position – one which many thought would go to longtime assistant Phil Johnson.  Very shortly after, the Jazz traded their All-Star point guard Deron Williams for a mid-level point guard, an unproven rookie, and a future draft pick.  Ty would end the season 8-20 and miss the playoffs.

The next season would be Ty’s first chance to get in a full season as head coach – only it wouldn’t.  The NBA lockout of 2011 would leave teams with minimal prep time and a condensed schedule.  Despite the challenged faced, the Jazz would finish the season 36-30 – good enough for 8th in the Western Conference.  The joy was short-lived as Utah was swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first-round.  Still, the season showed some growth in the team.

Finally, the 2012-2013 season gave Coach Corbin his first shot at a full regular NBA season.  The time had come to see what kind of coach he was.  Corbin was left a roster of talented youth and solid veterans.  As great as that sounds, numerous expiring contracts and inexperienced youth proved problematic.  The outcry from the fans was overwhelming.  The “Core Four” campaign was in full force, despite good play from veterans like Al Jefferson and longtime Jazzman, Paul Millsap.  The Jazz would finish the season with a record of 43-39 – good enough for 7th in the Eastern Conference, but two games out of the playoffs and 9th place in the West.  The team would drastically change the following summer as nearly every free agent departed.

So, we come to the season of getting what you asked for, Jazz fans. 2013-14 was going to be tough and everyone knew it.  The Jazz had plenty of cap space, but chose to use that to acquire the Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, and Brandon Rush from Golden State.  It was in that moment that it became apparent – the tank was on.  The season started off rough, but hope began to emerge when rookie Trey Burke returned from a preseason injury to lead the Jazz to a stretch of near .500 basketball.  Of course there’s no pleasing everyone, as fans began complaining about the lack of minutes for the younger players and the possibility not tanking hard enough and missing out on a top five pick in the 2014 NBA draft. Then the tank seemed to right itself, and the Jazz sank to the bottom of the Western Conference.   Utah would only win 25 games – tied for fourth worst in the league.

Now, here we stand.  It’s official – Tyrone Corbin will not be the coach of the Utah Jazz next year.  Honestly, the guy never got a real chance.  He never had an opportunity to build a team just to win.  There has always been the need to develop young players – which, I feel, he’s done fairly well – Burke, Burks, Hayward, Favors, and Kanter have all grown as players under Ty.  During Ty’s tenure, many players have had eyes on the offseason offer sheet, a distraction which could have very well had its effects on Gordon Hayward this season.  The fact is, Corbin’s time as head coach was chaotic and filled with more pressure than he, or the team, really needed.

Will a new head coach make a huge difference in what the next couple years will bring?  I don’t think so.  The Jazz are smack in the middle of truly rebuilding.  I would have given Ty a couple of years to really try to build a winning team – complete with players that plan to be here for at least a few seasons and no bad contracts.  Tyrone Corbin has been a true professional, completely loyal, and supportive of the Utah Jazz.  I am grateful for all that he has given this team, even when the fans were calling for his firing and the seat started to get warm.  I believe he does have the potential to be a good head coach in the NBA, but it will take time and another team taking a chance on him.

Thanks for all your hard work and all that you’ve given to this organization and team, Coach.  You did the best you could with the hand you were dealt, gave it your all, and for coaching a rebuilding team, I’d say the Milkman delivered – some people just happen to be lactose intolerant.

About the author

Devin Masters

Devin has been a lifelong Utah Jazz fan, enduring the heartbreak of Michael Jordan's push-off and the tragic end of the Sloan era. A lover of college athletics, he supports Notre Dame and the University of Utah. A fan of the world's game, he can be found cheering for Real Salt Lake, and the American and Spanish national teams. Also a fan of the Denver Broncos, and a casual follower of the Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners. He is a Dub State graduate and widely considered the pride of Ogden.