Ty Corbin and the Utah Jazz parting ways in April seems like a foregone conclusion, but is it really?
Watching the Miami Heat game from waaaay atop my perch in the upper bowl, I found myself watching the body language of the coaches. Coach Spo had a cool demeanor His hands were on the hips in the fourth quarter a lot, as if to say to his players, “Your mother and I are very disappointed in your lack of defensive hustle.”
Coach Corbin was all over the place. You could tell he wanted to win! Every bad call drew wild protests. He was yelling at players, yelling at refs, storming up and down the sidelines like this game meant the playoffs or bust. Players responded. Here’s a weird random stat: the Jazz are 4-3 against the James/Wade/Bosh era of the Heat.
Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Evans are the only Jazz players left on the roster who played under head coach Jerry Sloan, and that was for the beginnings of their rookie seasons. Everyone else on this team only knows the Ty Corbin Era. He’s the 8th longest tenured coach in the NBA, and when you look at the six coaches who got their jobs in 2011, Ty’s record (46%) is fourth, behind the Pacers’ Frank Vogel (63.8%), the Rockets’ Kevin McHale (56.7%), and the Warriors’ Mark Jackson (50.3%), but ahead of the Raptors’ Dwane Casey (41.9%) and the T-Wolves’ Rick Adelman (40.7%).
Now in the three years-ish worth of NBA games, Vogel, McHale, Jackson and Adelman had the benefit of All-Stars on their teams. Ty’s All-Star was traded away a week after he took over the team. Does it say something about Ty that Paul Millsap became an All-Star after he left Utah, or is it more a case of he went to the East?
The case for Ty Corbin:
– Kept this team competitive despite all the obstacles of trades, injuries, lockout-shortened season.
– Year-to-year improvements for the young guys in most areas.
– Ability to resurrect careers (see Jefferson, Richard and Carroll, DeMarre).
– Guys that weren’t happy under Ty (Bell, Miles, etc.) weren’t contributing much their final year with the team anyway.
The case against Ty Corbin:
– With a mandate on improved defense, the Jazz are still 30th in Defensive Efficiency.
– Not Dennis Lindsey’s hire.
– Has yet to win a playoff game.
– Stubborn loyalty to veterans at the expense of younger players’ minutes makes you wonder how much further along they’d be.
– No hints or rumors or whispers from anyone around the Jazz about extending Ty.
For me, I see more evidence that Ty won’t be returning than will. If the Jazz finish 29-53, they’ll have a decent lottery pick among a nucleus of lottery picks. It’d be the perfect time for Dennis Lindsey to find “his guy.” An NBA head coaching job is enviable anyway, but to walk into a team with six lottery picks as your nucleus, plus room for a ten-digit free-agent signing? Candidates will be knocking down the door.