Lets remember as I start this post that we are all fans of the Jazz. Amar wrote a beautiful post of how he became and why he is a Jazz fan. We all have different stories of how we became fans, what drew us to the team and what keeps us coming back for more. We are passionate, we are loud and above all else we are loyal.
I have been a Jazz fan for over 20 years (gulp). I cannot not even begin to calculate how many hours and minutes I have spent in my life thinking, pondering, writing and doing activities related to the Utah Jazz. The hours are countless and my love for the team cannot be measured.
There have been many ups and downs while I've been a Jazz fan, in my life, and with the team. To think that I started my fandom in the 5th grade (more seriously in junior high and high school) I have been through the public education system, found my spouse, married, graduated from BYU and have had two beautiful children during those twenty-plus years. Throughout all those changes in my life the Jazz were always a constant.
Experiencing change such as my parents moving while I was on my mission, having my sister who is my best friend move with her husband to Miami a few months before I met Lou (my husband). Going from always having that family around to being all alone in Provo there was nothing I liked more than to turn on the TV and see the familiar faces of John, Karl and of course Jerry Sloan.
The Jazz also went through changes when my life was changing, going from a Final's team to eventually squeaking out victories against the Kings in the playoffs which lead to the end of the Stockton and Malone era. It was a change when Stockton and Malone retired but it was OK I knew everything was going to be alright because we still had Larry and Jerry.
It didn't matter who was on the team to me as long as we had Jerry. Of course Jerry had his weaknesses, he was not the perfect coach, no one is, but Jerry was our coach. I believe it was because Jerry had been such a constant in my life that I took his departure last year extra hard. I remember that dark and dreary February night being glued to Twitter after the devastating Chicago loss. Rumors about Sloan looking shaken after taking an extra-long time to address the media after the game. Then there were the rumors after Sloan left about why he left. Those rumors shook my very Jazz foundation. I didn't eat (due to forgetting), I remember crying on Lou's shoulder, I emailed back and forth constantly with my Jazz BFF, Moni. I had to try to make sense of a situation that didn't make sense.
Now here comes the Tyrone Corbin era of the Utah Jazz. I never thought much of Ty. The most I thought about him was that he was the original Milkman (that's what I remember of his playing career with the Jazz) and as a coach he seemed to play the good cop role. Besides that and wondering why Scott had the job of holding the players back to keep them on the bench, there wasn't much in my thinking about Ty.
I now have had ample opportunity and time to think about Ty and his role with the Utah Jazz. There have been many discussions about Ty here and on Twitter even up to a few days ago (there is never an off season for the fans). It seems to me like if one critiques Ty as a coach other fans feel the need to jump on that fan and throw every excuse in the book to defend Ty.
Ty's hard spot
Ty was put in a hard spot as Kevin O'Connor has taken a liking to saying, the Jazz "screwed" Ty last season. While I think that Ty did have a rough start to his head coaching career, I don't think that's an unusual scenario in this day and age of the NBA. Now to be fair usually head coaches aren't following HOF coaches and especially not following one that had been head coach for the team for nearly 23 years.
If things were as uneventful and amicable as the Jazz say things ended with Sloan, that Sloan was just "tired", then replacing a HOF coach shouldn't be so eventful. If things ended uneventful and knowing how disciplined Sloan was with this team for over 20 years you almost think Ty would have an advantage over other new coaches. If last year was just like any year but Sloan got tired Ty would be inheriting a traditionally well disciplined, playoff team. Whereas most new coaches are going to situations were the team has been in the lottery for years and years.
Now of course I am not naive enough to believe that things went down as the Jazz have said it went down. I know there was a reason Jerry was so "tired" and I would not want to have to deal with that if I were Ty.
Ty does and did as a rookie coach have the stability of a franchise with the unbelievably strong backing of the owner and front office. Not many rookie coaches can say they have that much support.
Earn your Stripes
I never felt like Jerry truly felt comfortable with his job security. I think that is what made Jerry, Jerry. It is hilarious to me, an outsider, that the longest tenure coach of any pro-team in North America would not feel that security. I do imagine when Larry hired Jerry that there was NOT an agreement that hey Jerry do want you want, we'll never criticize you, here sign on the dotted line, this contract is good for 23 years.
I know that the Jazz want to keep things stable and to prove that things have not changed just because Jerry and Larry are gone. I totally get that and has a fan I appreciate it. At the same time I have to wonder how that hurts our success with Ty as a head coach.
If Ty feels that "Jerry security" I don't think that is a good thing for the Jazz. I think Jerry earned that right to stay with the team until he chose to leave . Jerry missed the playoffs only three years in his incredible tenure with the Jazz. That is pretty remarkable considering we had John, Karl and well misfits for the most part. Its incredible that we went to the Finals with the team that we had. (yes we did have Horny for the latter part of John and Karl's career)
Jerry and Larry (with Stockton and Malone) took a small market team and built it into one of the most successful, most consistent of NBA franchises.
I am not into changing coaches every season, I hate that but I don't think every coach should get the Jerry Sloan treatment either. Yes its the coaches team and we don't change coaches because some player just doesn't like the coach but lets not assume that every coach deserves to head the team for 20+ years.
We don't know if Ty will be a HOF coach, we don't know if he is the next Jerry, Phil Jackson or Coach Pop. We also don't know if he is the next Sam Mitchell, Vinny Del Negro, or Tom Nissalke. The thing is we that we don't know so lets not dump him nor promote him until we know.
All I have heard since the Jazz made the playoffs was how incredible Ty was for getting this team to the playoffs and what a jump they have taken since last year. Yes congrats to Ty it is great to have a team in the lottery one year and the playoffs the next.
I really tired of hearing how "oh, everyone picked us to be last in the conference, so wow look at what we did" Why dwell on how people expected us to be so horrible so yay for us for being 8th in the West. Well here (thanks to Moni) are some of the preseason predictions about the Jazz:
[Amar here: I'm putting this into a table form. It's not you. It's me. I'm a visual spatial learner. I just had to do it. I also found an earlier CBS prediction . . .]
|Prediction||2011-12 Preseason Prediction|
|NBA.com||John Schuhmann||Dec||2||2011||.||23||/ 30||13||/ 15||4||/5|
|CBS.com||Ben Golliver||Dec||19||2011||.||-||/ 30||-||/ 15||4||/5|
|FoxSports.com||Sam Amico||Dec||20||2011||.||18||/ 30||8||/ 15||3||/5|
|SI.com||Britt Robson||Dec||20||2011||.||26||/ 30||15||/ 15||5||/5|
|ESPN.com||Marc Stein||Dec||23||2011||.||23||/ 30||13||/ 15||5||/5|
|SBNation.com||Tom Ziller||Jan||9||2012||.||17||/ 30||10||/ 15||5||/5|
|CBS.com||Matt Moore||Feb||21||2012||.||20||/ 30||/ 15||/5|
I liked that the Jazz were telling us all season that they were a playoff team because I predicted them before the season began to make the playoffs. And as a fan i don't like losing and hope my franchise doesn't either. So if you say all season you're going to make it don't act like Ty was just the best coach ever for doing exactly what you said the team was capable of doing.
Rotations and Such
We have a lot of young talent on this team. I wonder if Ty has worked with more lottery picks in his one year as head coach than Jerry had his entire time with the team.
I think Ty did a great job for the most part keeping players fresh during a shorten lockout season. I do tend to wonder though if we had not had all our veteran wing players get injured if Ty would have ever "rediscovered" the Big lineup, if Al's grandma hadn't passed away if Kanter, Favors and Burks would have dominated the Lakers in the Staples Center. It seems to me that much of Ty's greatness of playing the young guys and discovering rotations came because of circumstances and not because of choice.
I do like that Ty tended to stick with a lineup once he discovered it was a good lineup but then in the playoffs that all went away.
Ty is a rookie we can expect rookie mistakes. Going up against Pop was in no way fair to Ty. Nor should we judge him for not getting a win against the Spurs. It was very similar to the Jazz without two of their starters and being a lower seed beating the Denver Nuggets because we had Jerry and they had Adrian Dantley. Experience in coaching matters, especially in the playoffs.
I know that Ty will learn about rotations, clock management and play calling. I do not expect him to be at Jerry's level of that greatness (think Sundiata Gaines beating Cleveland, just amazing with timeouts etc) but I don't think its always ok to say well he is just a rookie coach or there was a lockout so there are no expectations for Ty.
I don't think there is anything wrong with being upset with Ty when he reinserts Josh after things were going well with DeMarre. That wasn't fair to the team nor to Josh. I don't think there is anything wrong when you say Raja Bell getting 30 mpg at the beginning of the year was probably a dumb decision, and seeing Burks get DNP-CDs. I also think its ok to not like when all our offense does for the entire 4th quarter is dump it into Al and lets everyone else stand around and watch. Its OK to critique some of Ty's moves just like fans did to Jerry for years.
I look at Frank Vogel, who is in his first season as head coach, I look back to Thibs, there can be greatness in the first year. Ty can be there too with young coaches.
I am very excited to see where this team can go. We have a lot of special talent, talent that we haven't had for a long time and some talent that we've never had. I think its good to have high expectations considering we have 4 lottery players in their first two seasons. We have assets and we have talent. We should expect more than a first round playoff exit from now on with this team.
I hope Ty is the guy and can use this talent wisely.