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

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 2.

Utah Jazz General Manager Kevin O’Connor and CEO Greg Miller

How long will Jazz management stay patient?

18 months ago no one would have said the Jazz would have experienced the turmoil they’ve known in the past 15 months.  They were the team that had employed the longest tenured coach in all major professional sports.  They were a team that was trying to find the pieces to fit around their cantankerous star.  They weren’t one of those teams that fire a coach after the first month of the season or that falls hostage to a demanding prima donna.

But here we are, on the last day of May a year later and general manager Kevin O’Connor and CEO Greg Miller have shown that they aren’t above the tactics of helping to railroad a scapegoat into an early retirement.  However, these same men were the ones who unequivocally gave Ty Corbin the title of head coach days after Sloan stepped down and avoided that moniker of interim.

Yes, O’Connor and Miller want to win now.  That’s why in the face of all the pressure to play the young guys, Corbin was instructed to play to win and simultaneously find those “meaningful minutes” for Favors, Hayward, Burks, and Kanter.  Yes, Corbin exceeded all outside expectations this season by making the playoffs, but a first round sweep out is hardly better than not making it at all and this year’s finish won’t be good enough for the powers that be.  I’ve previously stated this in that many feel Corbin will have this next season to prove he belongs or he’ll be out.  I firmly believe that:

1)      Management will look at the 2012-2013 season as Corbin’s first true season and look past the typical 3 year window many other coaches get to show they can do the job.  Even if we end up with a team that gets swept or wins one game in a quick playoff series this next season, Corbin will be safe.  Even if the Jazz fail to make the playoffs, he’ll be safe past this next season.

2)      Corbin won’t give O’Connor and Miller reason to question his hiring.  He’ll continue to grow and perfect his craft and we (as fans) will see a familiar, yet newly exciting brand of basketball in Utah and Corbin and his staff continue to innovate this system to fit the types of players he has here and will continue to attract to Salt Lake City.

Some parting fan thoughts

Stu Crapo:

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.

Brett Hein:

IMO, still really hard to judge him as a coach, because he’s still had 0 training camps and 0 summer leagues with his players.

Jake Hatch:

The jury is still out on Corbin IMO. This upcoming season will say a lot about if he is the right coach. Needs 82 games.

Jimmie Chesh:

Corbin has done great for the hand hes been dealt. Ask me next year.

My final thoughts

Sure, the really easy way out of this conversation is to say “the jury is still out on Corbin” because it allows me to wiggle out of anything I might say.  I’m not going to do this.  I truly believe Corbin has done about as well as anyone put in his situation could have been expected to do.  Yes, this upcoming season will tell us much more of whom he will be as a coach as he will have the full off-season, training camp, and normal NBA schedule to put his stamp on it.

I think a lot of this also is on the players.  Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors are playing on the US Select team and will be scrimmaging against our Olympic team heading to London this summer.  Hayward and Favors, along with Burks, Kanter, and DeMarre Carroll will be playing in summer leagues.  This young core will be expected to learn and mature quickly.  Outside of this group (except Carroll) has a contract continuing after this next season and the Jazz will be shopping free agency to build pieces around these four guys.  Their experience, growth, maturity, and staying power with the team will go a long way to Corbin’s long term success in Utah.

When it is all said and done, I think Corbin will be proving the naysayers wrong.  The Jazz will be competing for a final four spot in the West every year and hopefully will be moving on to and through the conference finals in a few of those seasons.  For my part, Corbin has my vote of confidence.

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