The #FireCorbin Wagon is Getting Full, for Good Reason
Many of my diehard and lifelong Utah Jazz fan friends have pointed out that it’s long overdue that Ty be let go, so let’s take a look at Ty Corbin’s young coaching career, his record and the talent he had on the roster. Oh, and don’t forget playing time.
Disclaimer: I’m not ingrained in the Utah Jazz fan culture, so this is an East Coaster’s attempt to dissect a struggling franchise, one I grew up idolizing. It may not be perfectly in line with what Jazz fans think or see, but it is an honest, outsider attempt to tackle the issue.
Ex-NBA player Ty Corbin took over after Jerry Sloan suddenly resigned in the Deron Williams attitude fiasco, where the superstar-but-can’t-win-the-big-one Williams feuded with the Hall of Fame pick-and-roll coach. Corbin had to survive the season, which he did, and went 8-20 and limped into the offseason.
Corbin went 36-30 to make the playoffs and get knocked out in the first round the next season, then 43-49 to miss the playoffs and this year they’re 5-19 in full-out TANK MODE in a loaded NBA draft. That’s an overall record of 92-108, a 46% winning percentage. That can’t cut it in the Western Conference. Oh, and he got swept in the first round when he did make it in his second year (but first full year on the job).
So who was on the Jazz roster when Corbin took over?
Raja Bell, Marcus Cousin, Francisco Elson, Jeremy Evans, Derrick Favors, Kyrylo Fesenko, Devin Harris, Gordon Hayward, Al Jefferson, Andrei Kirilenko, CJ Miles, Paul Millsap, Mehmet Okur, Ronnie Price, Earl Watson Kyle Weaver, and…drum roll…Deron Williams.
The majority of the roster from his first year is either retired or no longer on the team. Kirilenko is hurt and is on the same struggling Brooklyn Nets team as Deron Williams. Al Jefferson left for greener contract pastures of Charlotte (where they’re actually one of the best defensive teams in the NBA…surprised?) and others like Millsap, Fesenko, Harris, Miles and Watson are spread out across the league. Others have come and gone, like the D-League and temporary NBA hero Sundiata Gaines, Kyle Korver and even Derek Fisher.
So who’s left? Hayward, who was not offered an extension by the Jazz this year, Evans and Favors. What a tough baptism by fire in their first years. What does their current roster look like?
First round draft pick Trey Burke of Michigan, Hayward, Evans, Favors, former Kentucky player Enes Kanter, former Colorado Buffaloes shooting guard Alec Burks, rookie and international prospect Rudy Gobert, along with old toss-ins via Golden State like Andris Biedrins, Brandon Rush, John Lucas, Richard Jefferson, and Marvin Williams. And I forgot to add Mike Harris and D-League call-up Diante Garrett. Who?! Exactly.
Yes, his roster is gutted, but he wasn’t able to win immediately with the pieces he had when he took over. Jefferson went to Charlotte, Millsap to Atlanta and Kirilenko to Brooklyn. He’s stuck with D-League talent and young developing talent, which makes it hard to win. But, he also limited playing time last year of the aforementioned young talent. He tried to win now last season, which echoed the same circumstance that got last year’s Coach of the Year George Karl fired in Denver. That backfired as they couldn’t get a playoff berth, thus wasting a season of development for their young talent.
Heyward has played a ton of minutes, and for good reason, and Kanter and Favors have seen their minutes increase too. Except in Kanter’s case, it exposes the lack of game-time experience via Shaqtin’ A Fool (he’s number 3):
For example, Burks had the 9th-least minutes played last season and Evans was second-to-last. They represent the young talent of the team, yet Mo Williams, Jamaal Tinsley and Randy Foye got more playing time. Foye and Williams have gone elsewhere. If Corbin would have developed Burks and Evans more, then maybe the fans would understand.
That season, the 2012-2013 year, saw the Jazz give up the 7th and 8th most assists and 3-point attempts, which tells us that his defense was lacking. Yes, they were young, but that is a coaching problem. The best teams limit 3-point opportunities and chances for assists leading to baskets. Even though opponents made 37% of those, it could have been a lot worse if they made more of their attempts. Imagine if they had faced the Spurs as a division opponent. Scary stuff.
This year, they’re in tank mode and it seems Corbin is resigned to his fate. The coming year’s NBA draft is loaded with NBA talent like Kentucky phenom freshman Julian Randle, Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins and Mormon Duke sensation Jabari Parker. Also, there are rumors flying around of Jerry Sloan coming back to replace Ty. We’ll see what the Jazz front office decides in the end.
So, will the #FireCorbin train get its wish? I don’t like seeing guys lose their jobs, but I peg Corbin’s firing as MOST LIKELY.