I've just came out as a Jazz fan, here's my introduction! What finally prompted me to post is my views on the Jazz coaching future. I'd like to share my thoughts on Corbin, and where to find possible candidates if Jazz was to replace him.
I'll be frank. Last off-season, I thought we should keep Corbin for two reasons:
1) My philosophy - Don't replace something unless I know it is a definite, tangible improvement. In 2013, I considered Corbin a good, but not great, head coach. In 2013, Jazz had a winning record in the Western Conference, and a better record than Dallas and Portland (see here). In 2013, there many, many bad head coaches (remember, there was a record amount of coaching changes), keeping Corbin while doing research and re-evaluate is maybe uninspired, but a pretty solid move. I would've supported promoting Hornacek, but like most Jazz fans, I didn't know that was an option.
2) I don't want just any coach, I want a coach who knows the Utah system... I want Jazz Basketball!! Utah Jazz always had an identity, and Deron proved that identity can still work in the new NBA. There's simply a lack of supply from the Sloan coaching tree, and Corbin is one of the few. Again, had I known Hornacek was interested and ready to take a head coaching job...
As an aside, I'm so happy for Hornacek in Phoenix. He is running an inspired remix of D'Anthoni offense, with some distinct Jazz flavour in the half-court. Imagine if he had the chance to implemented that with our... Okay I'll stop before we start crying again.
My position on 1) had changed. Rookie head coaches have performed well above expectations, and increased my confidence. I want to highlight Steve Clifford and Mike Budenholzer, who seemed to have gotten more out of Big Al and Millsap as the featured player on their respective teams. Comparatively, Corbin is an average coach; and one that seems to act contrary to the goal of the team this season (Develop and Discovery).
That leaves us with requirement 2); who can run the Utah system? I don't know any possibility inside the Jazz family, we may be looking for an outsider. Considering Dennis Lindsey's Spurs connection, I think a Popovich assistant is a possibility. However, the Pop coaching tree was picked clean last season (Mike Budenholzer and Brett Brown), is there anybody left? Another possibility is finding a successful college coach, preferably one who runs the flex offense. In all likelihood, we may have to compromise, and see a new coach who bring in a new identity.
I would expect a coaching change in the 2014 off-season. Dennis Lindsey have made no commitment to Corbin, and in recent history this always signals coaching change. This explain Corbin strategy this year; is this why he is coaching for his own future instead of coaching for the team's future?
Past this point is pure speculation, so please stop reading if you don't like tin-foil hats
I just had a crazy thought. By all indications, Corbin is a lame-duck coach waiting out his contract, and he knows it. If Jazz FO's plan is to get rid of Corbin all along, why did they pass on Hornacek? Conversely, if Hornacek think there's a possibility of taking a position for the Jazz, why wouldn't he talk to Jazz FO? Remember, in the beginning of the year, everybody thought Phoenix was tanking it like Operation Barbarossa. Why wouldn't Hornacek wait a year for the possibility of taking over Jazz roster with the F5 + 2014 pick in place? Instead of going to Phoenix who (at the time) looks like it is just starting the rebuild process?
I came to the conclusion, that Dennis Lindsey already have a replacement candidate in mind, so Horny knows he definitely won't get the position.
Could it be a Spurs assistant?
Could it be somebody who actually knows the Jazz system? Who got the most of the system for 19 years?
Can the fans hope?