Always a hot button topic, fairly or not, the tenure of Ty Corbin as the head coach of the Utah Jazz ended April 21, 2014. You’ll have no problem finding coverage, opinions and hot takes on Ty, and local media weren’t easy on Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey when addressing popular topics concerning Corbin. No softballs lobbed by “company shills” this day.
You can listen to the press conference in it’s entirety over at 1280 The Zone. Here are some highlights and commentary:
Dennis Lindsey: “Before we get started with questions, everyone should know that Ty’s a man of dignity, class, integrity and we’ll do nothing in this press conference that would disparage him, coaches in any way.”
“We decided not only to go young, but extremely young.”
Question: How much of a philosophical difference was there between Ty and the front office, if any?
“It’s hard for me to speak intelligently on how other people feel, I can only tell you how I feel. There’s going to be debates, there’s going to be agreements and disagreements on the strategies you use, the practice plans, the personnel. There’s always going to be thoughts around that.
From 5,000 feet there were philosophical things. Sometimes you can have a philosophy that has great synergy, but it can just be the wrong time for a marriage or a relationship. Sometimes there are going to be differences of opinion on what you’re doing with the personnel. I think you have to assume there were some different thoughts. That’s one of the reasons we made the decision we made today.”
On a new coaching search:
“We wanted to come today with either extension talks towards Ty or make a decision that we’re going to move a different direction. Literally, we haven’t had one conversation in regards to other names, the criteria. We needed to complete this and give Ty and the staff complete consideration.”
Lindsey would go on to say the franchise will be very deliberate in their search for a “new leader.”
When asked what they’ll look for in a new coach:
“At the end of the day, championships caliber teams are somewhere inside the top five or six both offensively and defensively.”
Actually, usually top five in one category and top ten in the other will do it. But, most times, around 70%, the defensive rating is higher than the offensive rating of the eventual champion.
“I would say this: being a defensive program going forward is very important to who we are and what we wanna be. And we want to establish that foundation.”
When asked about Corbin’s assistants, such as Brad Jones and Alex Jensen (Sidney Lowe and Mike Sanders were very much “Ty guys,” as such I’d be surprised to see either of them back) Lindsey said they “didn’t want to be bound by anything we say in this press conference,” but did say all had been thanked for their loyalty and hard work.
“The Millers were very generous in many ways towards the coaching staff. Status going forward is unknown. We’re going to get through this phase and then we’ll talk about whether there’s ability for guys to stay or if we can help them elsewhere, or if there will be internal candidates.”
What was Ty’s reaction?
“As you would suspect, disappointed. I don’t want to speak for Ty, and all the adjectives — I’m sure you guys will find him in due time — but, first class, completely professional, he wished us the best as we wished him the best. He’s Jazz fiber through and through. Again, just what you would think; he’s a gentleman in every way.”
Now it’s time for the tough questions, time to dig, see if Lindsey will crack, conform to popular opinion widely expressed with relative certainty by various outlets and internet ramblers. Respect to Andy Larsen and Jody Genessy for standing tall and dodging any objects launched their way during this capricious segment under the hot lights for the benefit of fans’ curiosity.
Was this decision made last year and just not followed through for financial purposes?
“Absolutely not. No, absolutely not.”
Was there any regret that the decision wasn’t made earlier to get the growth of the young guys going sooner with their new head coach?
“No. None whatsoever. None Whatsoever. Again, I, Kevin [O'Connor], Randy [Rigby] decided to pick up Ty’s option last year. We’ll stand by that, Jody. As you guys know our team stayed together. It stayed together under three-plus years of volatile change and, frankly, Ty gets credit for that.”
Were there times when Ty didn’t follow direct orders from you guys as far as playing time with the young guys or anything of that sort?
“I know you guys have to ask the question — and you guys need to understand this — this is from the Laydens, to Sloan, to Ty and really the go-forward guys, the head coach here, as Kevin O’Connor said, is Babe Ruth. They’re going to decide playing time.
The Jazz players…if their agents have questions in regards to playing time, opportunity, the ball, whatever it is, the head coach’s door is open and they can go discuss that.
But in no way will ownership or management dictate that going forward, just like we didn’t dictate it now, and in the past, because there’s a lack of order and here the head coach needs to be in charge of playing time.”
This, honestly, is one of the biggest strengths of the Jazz franchise under the Millers. It’s a sound bit of business, and anyone on any level of management or ownership with business experience understands this. Micro-managing on even a small scale is fraught with failure, not to mention exhaustive, so to try and do it among lifelong professionals who care about their jobs and the company they do it for is a recipe for disaster.
Make smart hires and communicate with them about what they’re doing, what your ideas and desires are. Delegate, but don’t meddle. This is the Miller way. It always has been. And it works. That’s why the Miller Group of Companies is now worth billions and the franchise has been a success for so long in a market many forecast doom and gloom for.
From the top down, the Jazz franchise bleeds character, deliberate intelligence and accountability. Those at the top set an example that trickles down throughout the organization.
“Are there discussions in regards to that? Absolutely.”
Jazz brass meet daily, throughout the work week, and beyond during the season.
“Are we going to agree on every point from game to game? Certainly not. But that stands to reason. It’s just like your job, so…”
Hey, they’re human! Just like us! Who knew?
“But, there was no directions. We wanted the coaching staff to coach ‘em hard, to coach ‘em fairly, and them to make the decisions on playing time because they’re the best judges of who deserves to play and who doesn’t.”
Raise your hand if you just crumpled up and threw away your tin foil hat. Now go pick it up and put it in the recycling bin. Sheesh! Do you have no modernized manners?
Lindsey gets asked about “the five foundation guys”:
“I think the criticism that Ty took over the last few years, relative to the young guys, more times than not missed the mark. I think Ty did a fine job in determining who should play in rotations. We’re completely comfortable with the minutes our young guys got last year.”
Lindsey gets asked about Enes Kanter’s… outburst at locker clean-out. Bless you for being you, Enes. You are the spice in Jazz fans’ cake.
“Enes and I are gonna have to take an aside and, uh…”
Jazz media and brass were on their A games today. There’s an inquiry about Jeff Hornacek in the interview as well, Xs and Os and much more about the Jazz’s future and inner workings. It’s worth scrolling back up to the top and clicking the audio link if you like insight into the way things happen in the NBA and particularly the Jazz organization.