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It's Time For Straight Talk and a Little Heart to Heart - The Downbeat #880

Let's talk about the Jazz.


Let's just get to brass tacks and talk about the Alec Burks situation. I would like to do this in 5 quick points.

a. Coaches have to find a way to get their best 8-9 players minutes

b. Alec Burks is one of the best 8 or 9 players on the Jazz. Demarre Carroll and Jamal Tinsley are not.

c. Randy Foye is also a top 8 or 9 player on the team, so he should play just like Alec Burks should.

d. Even though Alec Burks deserves to play, he is the least developed of the 4 young guys. Still some questions on him he needs to answer.

e. The Coaching staff will figure it out. They need some time and in 10-15 games, I think the right guys will be playing.

We good? Let me know if you disagree with any of these points.

Speaking of the coaching staff, Coach Tyrone Corbin gets a lot of blame/flak/guff from Jazz fans. I will admit that some of his decision making and rotations have been suspect for the last year or so. But we don't often talk about the good things he brings as a coach and we often gloss over the fact that he has helped the Jazz win games. He gets his team to play hard. The players seem to really like him. He overcame the whole Raja Bell situation.

I will say one thing. He is not free from criticism. We don't have to kill him or be mean, but it also doesn't mean you are a bad fan if you question his decision making from time to time. I don't like the argument that fans aren't as good of coaches as a guy like Corbin so they should be quiet. Doctors are professionals and they are the ones making final decisions, or performing the surgery. But it doesn't mean they don't make poor medical decisions. And it certainly doesn't mean that advice from other people with a different point of view might not be right or helpful. Trust me. I work in healthcare and less qualified people have better grasps on the situation on occasion. Maybe that analogy didn't work, but you get the point. It is possible that a Jazz fan could have a better idea than a head coach. It's possible. Especially Clippers fans.

What I wonder is "how good of a coach is Tyrone Corbin?" If you ranked him among all of the coaches, where would he land? I looked at every coach in the league and I have him ranked as the 16th best coach in the NBA. There are about 11 guys I would definitely prefer to be coaching the Jazz. And there are about 7 or 8 coaches I would definitely prefer Corbin over. And then there are about 10 coaches that fall in the middle and Corbin is among them.

Coach Corbin is average. Is that bad? No. It's probably pretty good. Especially if he improves in areas where he lacks and improves. But let's be fair to the guy. We shouldn't compare him to Gregg Popovich when pointing out his flaws. At least he isn't Vinny Del Negro or Mark Jackson.

I don't know if any of you felt the same way as I did, but I felt some serious relief when I read this quote from new GM Dennis Lindsey:

"Being championship caliber day-to-day. Now, will we be in the final four or final two or be the last team standing? I think all of us know we're many steps away from that goal."

I loved the straightforward honesty in this statement. We aren't close to contending for a championship. But the fact that Dennis Lindsey could admit that, makes me think that he wants it to be a goal. He knows where we are at and where we need to be. He also talked about how the Jazz need to have a championship-like attitude and behavior, even if they don't have the team to match it. I love it. I continue to be super optimistic about Dennis Lindsey with the Jazz.

One of the things that keeps us from being a championship type team is our defense. Basically, we have a top 5 offense and a bottom 10 defense in the first 3 games. Does that sound familiar? Obviously, 3 games isn't enough time to make any conclusions, but I think that if the rotations stay similarly, that this will be a top 10 offense and a bottom 10 defense- type team, just like last year.

The goal then is to improve the defense by switching lineups or game plans, while still maintaining a potent offense. I have theories on how to do that, but you have all heard it before. But for me the conversation on what the Jazz need to do to improve the team goes like this:

Jazz fan 1: What do we need to do to improve above all else?

Jazz fan 2: Improve our defense.

Jazz fan 1: Then we should start and play Derrick Favors.

Jazz fan 2: But our offense will suffer.

Jazz fan 1: If you really want to improve the defense then nothing else matters. Start and play Favors and figure it out from there.

(End scene)

That is, if you are really genuinely, serious about improving the defense. If you aren't, then start Millsap and Jefferson at the two big spots.

I just thought I would end this downbeat with a little heart to heart with my fellow Jazz fans. I love the Utah Jazz. I don't love everything about them. I don't love all of the players on the team. I don't love that we won't be a legit contender this season. But I love the Utah Jazz. They've provided me with a lot of memories and they will provide me with a lot more great games and playoff struggles and championship aspirations. Like many of you, I have given up way too much time, emotional investment and money to the Utah Jazz, but I wouldn't take it back.

I love When I first started writing on this site about 4 years ago, probably only 10-20 of you were here. At least of the guys I know. Amar wasn't a part of this blog, I don't think. Yuccaman hadn't found this site. Diana and Andy were probably writing for the Utah Jazzbots page. It was basically just me, Basketball John, The Shums, Utesfan, RxMike, BC7 and some crazy girl who was obsessed with Kyle Korver at an unhealthy level. There were plenty of others and I remember all of you. Over the years, this site has really grown and developed and evolved. We get a lot more traffic. We have a lot more opinions and posts in general. There are way more fanposts from readers. The discussion has become vibrant and passionate and fun and sometimes on the edge of inappropriate. But it's the Jazz community, and you the readers, that helps to make the Utah Jazz fan base so great.

All we ask is that everyone is courteous to others and that we have discussions rather than attacks and arguments. On the other hand, be sure to back your ideas and feelings with evidence and data. Let's foster well thought out discussion. For the most part I think we do this really, really well. This is a very smart and passionate group of readers on this blog.

I'm not going to tell any Jazz fan how to be a fan or how to enjoy watching basketball. I'm not the guy to say that. I'm not a perfect fan. And I don't want to come off sounding like a real douche. But let me suggest that continually being unsatisfied and unhappy with the Jazz, will never allow you to enjoy the experience. You don't have to be happy and upbeat about everything. You have every right to be upset when the Jazz don't play defense. Or when the coaches don't give minutes to your favorite player. Or when they sign average veterans to "win now." But don't let it keep you from enjoying the Jazz.

Because one day, the Jazz will lift the Larry O'Brien Trophy. And you will want to be there and be able to say that you stuck with the Jazz through everything. Even the Al Jefferson era. (Sorry, I had to. It was getting a little too serious in here.)

Go Jazz! Game tonight @Memphis. 8pm. See you on the gamethread or on twitter.