Torn By Sports Debate: Will Ty Corbin Be the Utah Jazz Head Coach Next Year?

Tyrone Corbin has 19 more games like on his current contract. 11 home games; 8 road games. A 22-41 record for the year, a 109-130 record overall. Has he shown enough to get an extension, or is this his last stand? John English (@jermsguy) and Alan Zaugg (@jedizaugg) investigate. (Dramatic music, and fade-in.)

JOHN: I think this is his last season. I know stability is a prized commodity with a winning franchise, but as the eighth-longest tenured coach in the NBA, he hasn’t shown the ability to establish that winning culture. He’s not a terrible coach, but he’s at best average. Which coaches have been in their jobs longer? Gregg Popovich, Erik Spoelstra, Rick Carlisle, Scott Brooks, Monty WIlliams, Tom Thibideau and Frank Vogel, and with the exception of Williams, those guys have established a winning mentality in their organizations. Why settle for a ceiling for average?

ALAN: That is an impressive list. Using your same point and exception, all of the coaches on that list have at least one All-Star, one impact player, and a better than average supporting cast. Corbin has a young, inexperienced team. Take out the first 28 games of his coaching career and he’s nearly .500. He’s had two above .500 seasons and one playoff appearance. Average? Yes. Worthy of being let go. Not yet.

JOHN: He’s had former All-Stars to coach, and he’s had future All-Stars. Why is it that Paul Millsap was finally able to become an All-Star once he left? Why is Al Jefferson having a career-best year on one of the best defensive teams in the NBA? If it’s not worthy of being let go yet, how much longer is yet? Do you give him a one-year extension? He’d feel like a lame duck coach again. Do you see them giving him two or three years?

Consider this. Dennis Lindsey is the GM now, and Ty Corbin is not “his guy.” If a new GM comes in, and the coach hasn’t proven he’s a winner, why keep him over getting your own guy? Corbin’s never won a playoff game and this’ll be his fourth April as Jazz coach. Imagine trying to sell people season tickets and VIP suites while saying we’re going to give Corbin two more years. Consider also that they said this year, he’d be judged not on wins and losses but defense. How does that defense look?

ALAN: Two words describes the successes of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson: Eastern Conference. Take both out and put them on any team in the West and they see a return to the same success they had while in Utah. But I must stand on the roof top and yell: I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU MILLSAP AND JEFFERSON!

Ok, I’m good now. I don’t think the Jazz give Ty one more year. I see it being a two year deal. A valid point that it’s a difficult sale to season ticket holders that Ty would be back. My question is, WHO is Lindsey’s “guy?” How patient would folks be for multiple let downs with future coach(es)?

I beg the thought that a winning culture is developed over time with stability. One could argue Ty has not had the stability and continuity. Are we destined to be the next Cleveland, Milwaukee or Minnesota? A coaching carousel and below average seasons?
And touché on the defense. I cannot refute that. Horrible.

JOHN: We don’t know who Lindsey’s guy is, but I think the majority of Jazz fans would be happier with Door #1 over two more years of Corbin.

Here’s the thing. After 200+ games, we knew Frank Layden was a great coach. After 200+ games with Jerry Sloan, we knew he was a great coach. After 200+ games, Ty Corbin is average at best, but more likely below average. I think people were patient with Ty until last year, when he started one of the least effective starting lineups in the NBA. This year, it’s been about the tank but if players and coaches don’t tank, why have they been so poor lately?

ALAN: By the time he passed 200 games, Layden finally established a defensive identity. They were last in the league and middle of the pack through two and a half seasons. It didn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t happen overnight.

And let’s not forget Sloan, through 200+ games (with Chicago), had won a mere 94 games. He then took over a mildly successful Jazz team with two All-Stars. We know where that went. Sloan is a legend.

I’m not saying Corbin is the answer, only that he is still learning as much as his players are. Corbin has deficiencies, but has been the reason for player’s developments as well. Alec Burks is the biggest beneficiary. Are the Jazz a better team? Not yet. But individual performers have found a rhythm and niche. And Corbin has found a way to maximize play from his veterans.

The team has yet to find a defensive identity, but the young core has found a way to mesh as a group at times. They feed off each other well. The question could be whether the youngsters CAN play defense. Only time will tell.

In the meantime Corbin and the young core can grow as a unit and improve through adversity.

JOHN: It doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s been over three years. He’s the 8th-longest tenured coach in the NBA. We have to give a coach five years before we know if it’ll work or not? Maybe Corbin can pull a Sloan and be a successful coach of another team after going back to being an assistant for a few years. Or maybe he’ll immediately get a head-coaching job after this one. If he’s to be judged on the three D’s, let’s look at the D’s.

Defense – Awful.

Discipline – Good, in many ways. Seems like this team is tighter than last year’s.

Development – Alec Burks, yes. The other three, they’ve actually regressed in as many areas as they’ve improved. Favors’ defensive numbers are worse this year. Hayward’s offensive numbers are worse. Kanter’s efficiency numbers have gone down on offense and defense. And how crazy is it that Burke, Burks, Hayward, Kanter and Favors have only played 45 minutes together all year?

It looks clear to me it’s time for him and the Jazz to part ways.

ALAN: I could use my Jedi powers of persuasion, wave my hand and tell you “Corbin WILL be first Jazz coach to win Coach of the Year Award,” or make you believe he will take them to the next level.

Corbin isn’t a legend. He was hired to fill big shoes, legendary ones at that. He has his flaws and losing only magnifies them. I’m not sure he’s been given ample opportunity. He is the 8th-longest tenured coach. He has also had a number of lineups and circumstances to deal with. I’m not making excuses, merely pointing out that he hasn’t been given a clear-cut list of expectations from the front office.

Will the Jazz re-sign coach Corbin? If history holds sway, they may. The organization breeds stability and loyalty. They live it… to a fault. Should the Jazz bring Corbin back, no doubt the expectations will be set high. They should be.

I believe the Jazz will re-sign Corbin. Call it Jedi intuition. Whether he comes back or they move forward with someone else, I’m on board.

About the author

John English

John studied journalism at UVU and put that to good use by writing for free for blogs on a part-time basis. Money well spent. He became an avid Jazz fan since moving to Utah in 1989. Also a fan of the NFL and BYU football.

  • J

    Good bye Ty!