Can Ty Corbin Be an Elite Head Coach for the Utah Jazz? (Part II)

Editor’s note: this is part 2 of 3 for this series where I explore this question.  Special thanks to those from whom I took some of my thoughts and ideas: @DogAndDeuce, @theDog801, @CarlBehunin, @bhein3, @JakeHatch77, and @CheshSportsClick here for part 1 and here for part 3.

Jerry Sloan and Ty Corbin

Does the Third Year Rule Apply to Coaches?

At the end of the first section I started to talk about season 3.  In terms of players, the leap a player makes from season 2 to season 3 is usually the defining increase in his career.  The improvements that Hayward and Favors made this season have me eager to see what a summer full of Olympic prep, summer league, a full off-season, and a full training camp will bring for these two youngsters.

Does the same rule apply to head coaches?  Is the step from year 2 to year 3 as defining as it is for a player?  What does Corbin need to do in order to improve?  After whom should he model his coaching style and philosophies?  Can he improve?  I don’t think that he is the type that will sit back and not work on his craft.  He will improve.  During our podcast, Deuce said that he will either plateau or become a great head coach.  But in the next breath he also said his confidence in the coach is waning and that he won’t be the head coach of the Jazz in two seasons.  Carl said he didn’t think he has it in him to be a head coach anywhere in this league.

So which is it?  Will Corbin be the head coach in 2014 or will he be looking for a job?  I just don’t know.  My personal feeling is that Corbin did as well as could have been expected of ANY coach in the situation he faced.  To drag a team from despair, through expected mediocrity, and finally to the pinnacle of reaching the playoffs with this team tells me that Corbin will continue to improve.  He will continue to perfect his craft.  He will continue to learn how to manage his team; i.e. when to call a time out, when to make substitutions, how many minutes to give to Burks and Kanter next year, etc.  And most importantly, he’ll learn how to trust himself enough to go with what is working and to build his gamesmanship so that other teams will have fans writing these posts after we’ve cleanly swept them from the playoffs.

Was the Raja Bell Incident Handled Correctly?

The other sticking point for us in our discussion was the handling of the Raja Bell incident.  I maintain he handled it exactly as he should have.  You just cut the offending limb from your body and fling it to the side.  Deuce was of the opinion that you force him into street clothes and make him sit on the bench so that he has to answer to the media.

In my experience as a manager I have never found it effective or useful to reprimand in public.  Shaming a person causes resentment.  Handling it privately and internally allows for a discussion to be had on what happened and how to fix it.

Now, in an NBA setting, that is a bit different.  You can’t punish a player on any level without it making it a public statement.  But should you drag a player out and humiliate him in front of his peers and the media? I don’t think it ever does anyone any good to have a drag em out and line em up in front of the media, their peers, and their employers, but tell me what do you think?

How does Corbin stack up again Jerry Sloan?

Wow!  Is it time to have this conversation already?  It seems so early to me, yet the dialogue is out there and with the recent news regarding Sloan in the media lately, it seems appropriate now as any time to discuss it.  But I’m going to start with a quick rundown on ole Jerry.  He’s been linked to the head coaching jobs in Charlotte and Orlando and I’ve heard talk and theory that he may like the Lakers and Blazers jobs as well.  As a Jazz fan, how do you feel about this?  Cheated?  Lied to? Indifferent? Happy?  Tell me why.  For my part, I think the rift had been growing in Utah for some time and a clean break was best for all concerned.  I’ll always wish Sloan the best of luck, but when he is leading the other guys out of the tunnel, he’ll be the enemy for the night, regardless of the team he “suits up” for.

But back to the topic at hand.  During his career, The Original Bull won 1221 games on the sideline for the Jazz, amassing a stellar 60% win percentage and becoming only the 5th coach to reach 1000 wins in a career.  He is one of only three coaches to have 15 consecutive seasons with a winning record (Pat Riley and Phil Jackson being the others.)  By contrast, Ty Corbin has won 46.8%of his games in 94 tries (and 0 of his playoff tries.)

So what does he need to do in order to gain the status of “favorite son” that Sloan earned while coaching in Utah?  I mentioned in the podcast that Sloan had the steady duo of Karl Malone and John Stockton and matched them with excellent support players such as Jeff Hornacek.  I firmly believe that Corbin has a similar duo in Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors (I’m not claiming they are destined for the Hall of Fame) in that they have a sticking power if they should choose to do it.  To contrast this however, Carl said he feels the NBA is so different these days and he’s right.  In today’s NBA, Karl Malone would have given the Jazz nary a look in his rear view in the prime of his career to head to South Beach, but in his day, that isn’t how it was done.  So in my estimation, Corbin’s longevity and success hinges on a similar loyalty from his new duo.  If they stay, he can provide the pieces around them to be successful. If they bolt for greener pastures, the Jazz will become not unlike New Orleans and Cleveland.  Unfortunately, I don’t see any other way around this.  His success hinges on stability and growth from players who can at the very least be studs, if not super stars.

As far as it goes now, I don’t see much difference in the coaching styles.  I think Corbin has taken a lot of his philosophies from Sloan but adapted a freedom within the structure to have some fun.  One thing I always wished we had with Sloan was the ability to have some fun outside of the pick and roll.  I love when Earl Watson gets out and throws alley oops to the bigs (especially Jeremy Evans.)  We talked about the ability to manage a game (use of timeouts, getting a technical foul, etc.) and I’m of the mind, as previously mentioned, that he has to learn this sometime and teach his team that he trusts them so this season was as good as any.

So Carl and Deuce both felt Corbin would not stick in Utah even two more seasons.  Carl said he wouldn’t stick anywhere.  Dog feels the jury is still out. I maintain that he is here until the exercise becomes futile and there is no other option, but I don’t feel we even approach that bridge until long after Favors (and maybe even Hayward) are gone from Salt Lake.

Part III: How long will management stay patient, and some fan shots about Ty Corbin

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2 Responses to Can Ty Corbin Be an Elite Head Coach for the Utah Jazz? (Part II)

  1. I think this next season is going to be career defining for Corbin. Either we see him blossom into a coach that’s going to stick around and be successful for years to come, or he’s gonna plateau and we say goodbye in a few years. To be honest I have a feeling we’ll see him plateau. I like some of the things he’s done with the team like playing the young guys and giving them a chance to improve, which is something Jerry didn’t do as much. He took a mediocre team and pushed them to the playoffs, but I think it’s going to end there.

  2. Matt says:

    I agree that this next season will be the defining year, whether deservedly so or not. If most coaches get three years to make or break the team, he should be given year 4 considering years one and two were hardly one year combined and in neither did he get a summer or a training camp.

    Thanks for the feedback Stu

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