ESPN Panel doesn't think much of the Utah Jazz, in other breaking news, water is wet

Steve Dykes

ESPN Forecast is a fun way to make much ado about mathematically nothing.

We all knew this was coming. For years we've suffered the slings and arrows of ESPN not respecting the Utah Jazz in their #PlayerRanking yearly fiascos. We also get their analysts thinking Gordon Hayward averages one block per career. As Jazz fans (and yes, SLC Dunk readers are still Jazz fans) are concerned, there's a significant reason for an "us versus them" ideology when the 'them' think of us in the ways they do.

Or more specifically, don't think about us.

There are flaws here for sure. First of all, there is a panel of people who rank each team (30 teams, mind you) in some specific order on three different things: team ownership, front office, and coaching. Excuse me, but I don't think a random fan in NBA City X knows enough about the Jazz organizational structure to be able to accurately compare it with the ownership group of NBA City Y. This is inherently pointless because the ESPN experts panel are not all experts. They claim over 200 experts here, but you can see for yourself that this list hasn't been updated in a while. (After all, there are a few people there on the list who a) don't even write for ESPN anymore, and b) some write for completely different networks right now -- 8 pts 9 seconds decided to leave TrueHoop this year as an example). Also, and most meaningfully, there's no way everyone ranked every team -- because if you crunch the numbers there are rounding errors and non-uniform weights to each section. (As it stands the presented by ESPN values only work (as in are only +/- 0.2 off) for 6 of the 30 NBA teams.)

Still, we care, because we are Jazz fans and need to react to every slight, real or imagined.

And this is a biggie. Why? Because they ranked the Jazz head coach pretty low. Lower than us arm chair people expected. Tyrone Corbin, the guy some fans who don't visit here think is amazing, is the 4th worst coach in the NBA according to this flawed ranking system.

I don't even know what to be upset at here more: a) ESPN's legendary slights to the Jazz (like Karl Malone in a Lakers uniform as the Karl Malone picture), b) the shoddy method for calculating these ranks, or c) ESPN for confirming what most smart fans already knew about our head coach.

Anyway, here's the big list:

Espn_rank_front_offices_2014_april

And here's the short list:

Team Overall Rank Owner Rank Front Office Rank Coach Rank
1 Spurs 9.45 1 9.16 1 9.60 1 9.70 1
2 Heat 8.56 2 8.43 3 8.98 2 8.38 4
3 Mavericks 7.96 3 8.48 2 6.90 8 8.18 6
4 Pacers 7.82 4 7.18 6 8.33 4 8.18 5
5 Bulls 7.33 5 6.52 9 6.31 14 9.12 2
6 Celtics 7.30 6 7.75 4 7.74 6 6.40 11
7 Rockets 7.10 7 7.41 5 7.98 5 6.04 13
8 Thunder 6.93 8 6.23 11 8.52 3 6.52 10
9 Trail Blazers 6.65 9 6.41 10 6.93 7 6.72 8
10 Warriors 6.21 10 6.66 7 6.48 12 5.46 16
11 Grizzlies 6.01 11 6.09 12 6.33 13 5.66 15
12 Suns 5.99 12 4.36 23 6.57 11 7.50 7
13 Raptors 5.97 13 5.11 17 6.76 9 6.38 12
14 Clippers 5.96 14 3.36 29 6.64 10 8.56 3
15 Nets 5.39 15 6.61 8 3.81 28 5.18 18
16 Lakers 5.33 16 5.45 14 5.79 16 4.82 20
17 Hawks 5.23 17 4.43 22 5.71 17 5.82 14
18 Magic 5.22 18 5.34 16 5.86 15 4.56 22
19 Jazz 4.95 19 5.77 13 5.43 18 3.56 27
20 Pelicans 4.92 20 5.11 18 4.67 20 4.90 19
21 Kings 4.89 21 5.36 15 4.52 22 4.60 21
22 Bobcats 4.71 22 3.41 28 4.24 25 6.66 9
23 Nuggets 4.62 23 5.09 19 4.24 24 4.34 23
24 76ers 4.59 24 4.57 21 5.17 19 4.16 25
25 Timberwolves 4.54 25 3.98 25 4.48 23 5.28 17
26 Wizards 4.35 26 4.73 20 3.90 26 4.24 24
27 Cavaliers 3.75 27 3.82 27 3.86 27 3.58 26
28 Pistons 3.56 28 4.36 24 2.95 30 3.08 30
29 Bucks 3.54 29 3.95 26 3.48 29 3.10 29
30 Knicks 3.21 30 2.14 30 4.67 21 3.36 28

And here's the list with Coaching ranks:

Coaching
Coach Score Rank
Gregg Popovich 9.70 1
Tom Thibodeau 9.12 2
Doc Rivers 8.56 3
Erik Spoelstra 8.38 4
Frank Vogel 8.18 5
Rick Carlisle 8.18 6
Jeff Hornacek 7.50 7
Terry Stotts 6.72 8
Steve Clifford 6.66 9
Scottie Brooks 6.52 10
Brad Stevens 6.40 11
Dwane Casey 6.38 12
Kevin McHale 6.04 13
Mike Budenholzer 5.82 14
David Joerger 5.66 15
Mark Jackson 5.46 16
Rick Adelman 5.28 17
Jason Kidd 5.18 18
Monty Williams 4.90 19
Mike D'Antoni 4.82 20
Mike Malone 4.60 21
Jacque Vaughn 4.56 22
Brian Shaw 4.34 23
Randy Wittman 4.24 24
Brett Brown 4.16 25
Mike Brown 3.58 26
Tyrone Corbin 3.56 27
Mike Woodson 3.36 28
Larry Drew 3.10 29
John Loyer 3.08 30

And yeah. T-Dogg is pretty low here. Jeff Hornacek is #7th best. Or at least, perceived well. ESPN even admits the sliding scale used here. "For the most part, [Hornacek, and the other rookie coaches] were ranked based on how their teams have performed relative to expectations." - Kevin Arnovitz, 2014.

So what about the rest of the head coaches? Based on something else. It is interesting to see that two of the Top 5 coaches started their head coaching career at the NBA level in the same season Ty did. It's also fun to see that of the Top 5 coaches, only one is a former player. Playing at the NBA level isn't necessary to be a good head coach. And the opposite is also true, playing in the NBA doesn't help you be a good head coach.

Bottom line? ESPN still hates us. The method was flawed. But the general consensus is that Corbin isn't that great. Of all the rankings the one for the coaches probably is the most valid, you can't ask people to rank owners they've never read about. But you see what a coach does on the floor 82 times a game, per season. I think ESPN got it right here. So I now expect 200+ people to be asked to go into the principals office at 1280 and be on the air while they get ambushed by David Locke.

It's sad when so many people from all over the USA have an Anti-Ty agenda!

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