Sep 30, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin and senior basketball advisor Jerry Sloan talk during the Utah Jazz media day at Zions Bank Basketball Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Is Tyrone Corbin On The Hot Seat? I Don’t Think So

Sep 30, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz coaching staff pose for a group photo during the Utah Jazz media day at Zions Bank Basketball Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

I hear you fellow Jazz fans. I understand your frustration. I allowed it to boil over last season as well and place all Jazz problems on the shoulders of Tyrone Corbin. He’s the head coach, he’s the one (in theory) in charge of managing personnel on the court. I wanted the young guys to play more too. I saw the direction the team was heading and I wanted the youth movement to begin. He gets the lion’s share of the blame when the team is performing poorly. It comes with the territory and he gets it. Is it fair though? At the time I thought it was, now I’m not so sure.

A recent article by ESPN writer Amin Elhassan listed Coach Corbin as one of 5 NBA Coaches on the Hot Seat. He had this to say for his reasoning on Corbin:

“Tomorrow is just around the corner for Utah, since the main franchise cornerstones all have 2-3 years NBA experience. For players like Favors and Hayward, rookie contract extensions are due, and if the team is going to invest long-term dollars in the talent, it stands to reason that there is an expectation for return on investment, and Corbin will be held responsible. Corbin is entering lame-duck status on the last year of his deal, and the Jazz will have to show considerable improvement to justify retaining him.”

Conversations both recent and during the offseason with Dan Clayton, David Locke, Bill Oram and other Jazz insiders have me looking on the other side of the coin. The reality is Tyrone Corbin was put in a very tough spot last year. Management made a decision that it was playoffs or bust. This forces a coach to go with his veteran players, flaws and all, to give him the best chance to win night in and night out. We all know that the young guys are more talented than these vets, but the vets had been through the battles before and when a Coach is put in that situation, he’ll go for the sure thing whether we think it is right or wrong.

November 19, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin talks to center Enes Kanter (0) as Kanter leaves the floor during the first half against the Houston Rockets at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Corbin is a young coach on the rise. He replaced a Hall of Famer. He doesn’t have the same clout with the organization that Coach Sloan had built up over years of success. Granted Jerry Sloan was given a much better situation to start off with 2 Hall of Fame players at his disposal but you still have to be a good coach to get the most out those players too. When looking at the situation Ty was put in to start his Head Coaching career, he’s actually done a wonderful job. This season for the first time, he will actually be able to run the offense he envisions because he has the athletes that can run it and are young enough that they are still teachable. The past 2 1/2 seasons Corbin had to cater to old dogs that could no longer learn new tricks. His fingerprints will be all over the team this year and he has management’s support. Don’t let the fact that his contract ends at the beginning of the season fool you. I think both parties want to make a fair assessment of his coaching abilities and sign him to a number of years and dollar amount that matches. It’s a win-win for both sides.

I hated seeing Jeff Hornacek leave. I’m a big Jeff Hornacek fan. He’s got his work cut out for him in Phoenix and I hope their management gives him the same support the Jazz give to Corbin. Had Hornacek truly bee the Jazz’s guy, they would have done everything to keep him. Corbin has done everything the organization has asked of him and he deserves the time to prove himself. I’m excited to watch he and the young guys grow together and see what they can do. If they still haven’t made the push we think they should in 3 years, then we can revisit this conversation. For now I think Coach Corbin deserves our support as he finally has free reign on the team. Don’t worry about what you’re reading in the newspaper, the young guys are going to start especially with Brandon Rush most likely not ready for the beginning of the season. Dennis Lindsey has introduced a lot of change into this organization (I’m almost positive he wanted to start the youth movement at the trade deadline) and the team will be better for it. Let’s give Coach Corbin the benefit of the doubt the next few seasons. He deserves the opportunity to coach this team, just like the young guys deserve the opportunity to play.

Tags: Training Camp Utah Jazz

  • Jesse

    I’d have to disagree. He has to be on the hot seat. Not so much for wins and losses but he’ll be judged on the growth of the young guys. His rotations will be judged closely and his in game adjustments surely need to be judged more closely. When he was mic’d up last year he appeared to be in over his head with no real clear instruction for his team. Now I believe they want him to succeed. Look at all of the resources they brought in this off season for player and coach mentoring. The position he was put in was tough, but all excuses are out the window now. He will either step up or be exposed this year. I’d love to see him succeed though.

  • Scotty

    Luke, good article. However, the franchise and our young, potentially top talent players are screwed if top quality coaching is not achieved. The time Corbin has been here he has failed to give his teams any identity. Yes, I am well aware of the issues with big Al and an undersized Paul Milsap.

    Corbin’s team did not play well on the road. They had no real defensive philosophy (that a common fan could recognize). The offensive system is some sort of weird hybrid of inside out, flex, up tempo, but never quite effective mish mash. His teams are not physical. His teams have real execution issues and so on…

    However, one of my biggest concerns is Corbin’s staff. (J-Slo & Mail not included). None of his immediate staff has proven anything at the pro level as a coach. Lowe was a losing nba head coach, sent back to the college level. Sanders has no identity as an nba assistant, or known as someone who has a track record of developing nba talent. Jones (who I actually really like) has no credentials at the highest level of basketball.

    Be as forgiving and patient as you like. Many pundits have quipped about our lack of depth on the bench. I agree, only they should be focusing on the lack of depth on the right side of the bench, the coaching side. Scotty.

  • Luke McDermott Jr

    Those are great points Jesse and Scotty. To your points on Offense, it’s hard to run the offense you want with a player like Al Jefferson that kills any sort of offense because he can only run one type; him down low, back to the basket. The Defense needs to pick up and everyone, coaches & management, is saying that’s a priority. If he can show improvement in all those areas, offensive philosiphy, defensive effort, young player development then he has grown as a coach and deserves our patience. Yes I agree with you both, he has a lot to prove. Let’s see what he can do with players suited to the style he wants to run. If it doesn’t work out, the team moves on and I’m wrong. Which is fine, because above all else I want the team to win. I just don’t think we should count Corbin out yet. Thanks for the comments!

  • Steven Jaynes

    Do I think the Jazz will cut Tyrone loose sometime during this coming season? No. In some ways it won’t be too bad a situation for the Jazz if the players play hard and lose close games. However there is a reason that Tyrone has not had his contract renewed, his performance on the job hasn’t lived up that sort of demand.

    Yes we can all make excuses as to why he played certain vets over the young players. But at the end of the day every head coach has to find a way of getting minutes on the floor for the best players, not the most experienced. Some players may have been limited offensively or defensively, but you find a way to make it work. Thus far under Corbin it seems to have been the players that have made it work, not the coach. Unless there is some development on that front, the Jazz may well just allow Corbin’s contract to wind down, take the resulting draft pick that comes with having a bad year, and say to themselves well we gave him every chance but lets go with a vet coach that can get the best out of a young and talented team that will need the tactical nuance that Corbin so far hasn’t shown that posesses.