KOC said in a radio interview last night that the young guys need to earn playing time. I think this point sometimes gets lost with fans that want to see what the new guys can do. But I think the concept of earning it is important to help this team and the players on this team achieve their potential.
If you are the coach you have to make the young guys work to earn minutes. If they are just handed out to young players because they are young and they haven’t earned it that really doesn't develop players it cripples them. The way to get a young player better is to make them work and earn it. If the player isn’t better than the guy ahead of him in practice but he still gets most of the minutes, that player can get a sense of entitlement. That sense of entitlement for a pro athlete is a curse. What is going to drive that guy to put in all of the extra work to get better and become a star if they just breathe and are put in the starting lineup? There are a few guys that are put together like Karl Malone that will work their butt off to get better no matter what, but a lot of young players can become complacent and just want to pat themselves on the back rather than kick themselves in the butt. Look these guys have had everyone around them kissing their butts since they were in AAU ball. For the coach to have any authority over them at all they have to make them earn playing time.
The other thing giving a player PT that doesn’t earn it is it can make the coach lose the locker room. If you are a vet and work your hard everyday in practice and you get sent to the bench because we need to develop this kid that can’t play yet, you as a coach lose the respect of the team. The team starts to think the FO is calling the shots instead of the coach then you become a lame duck coach. Now the team needs a new coach to come in and try to get the team back together.
As a coach and an organization you always want players to earn minutes. If Kanter in practice holds his own or outplays the vets, it makes the coach’s job easier. The vets also have an easier time understanding having PT cut back because they see everyday how good the guy taking their PT is. They might not like it and maybe it lights a fire under them and they push harder to get back on the floor and that makes everybody work harder and that is when true development takes place. Or the vet can pout about it and prove to the team that he isn’t about the team. (See Boozer, Carlos)
The other thing that coaches need to be careful about is if the player earns the minutes they need to get the minutes. If Favors is outworking and outplaying Millsap and Big Al and becomes the main man only to then go to the bench, you as a coach can lose the team this way too. If you remember when Sloan was still here last year, he played Hayward down the stretch of games for about 3 or 4 games in a row in what seemed to fans like out of the blue timing. When Sloan was asked about it Sloan said that he earned a chance to play. He didn’t day he is young and CJ and Raja aren’t getting any better so we want to play Hayward to develop him. He said that he earned it and Sloan started giving him a chance. I think you saw with Millsap and Wes as rookies if you work hard enough to earn it Sloan would give you a chance. I think Deron was better than Milt and Keith McCloud when he was a rookie, but Sloan wanted him to hunger to get onto the court. He made sure Deron didn’t feel entitled and I believe in the long run that helped Deron become a better player.
You never want to be perceived as too ridged and stuck in you ways either, but you also don’t want to come across as a puppet for the FO. If Corbin where to play the young guys no matter what because that is what the FO wants and we lose 50 games then it is clear to the players Corbin isn’t the boss. The coach needs to be in control of the players that are suited up to play. The coach needs the players to know that he is the boss when it comes to playing ball. Sloan was a little more ridged than most of us would have liked in this, but he earned that right. It will be interesting to see if Corbin is a little more flexible, but he still needs to be his own man. For a young coach it is easy to fall into the trap of just playing the old guys or just playing the young guys, when to prove to his team that he is really in charge and capable of being a good coach, he needs to play the best guys. Let the FO decide what to do with player movement. The coach’s job is to put the best team on the floor with the roster he has. I trust Coach Corbin will do the right things to make the Jazz the best basketball team possible. I think we as fans need to give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to knowing what to do with this team.
After all he has earned it.