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The Downbeat #1333- Big Decision Leading to Bigger Decisions

The Jazz are conducting a very rare coaching search. Let's discuss.

Ethan Miller

We all know that Tyrone Corbin and his coaching staff were informed that they would not be coming back to the Utah Jazz in their current positions.  You can read the press release here and I recommend you watch the lengthy interview with Dennis Lindsey.  There are also numerous articles and opinions on the front page of this here website that are worth your time.

Twitter was certainly ablaze with discussion and votes of confidence yesterday as we all waited for the news.  Here are a few tweets that I found especially insightful or appropriate.






As Brian and Paul point out, Ty Corbin is a good guy, who gave his best effort and you can't fault that.  You can't argue that he was a great coach while here with the Jazz, but it wasn't due to a lack of effort or commitment.  As @carty64 mentions, Ty Corbin's release is sort of like a new chapter in Jazz life.  It feels good and cathartic to move on and sort of put the past few years behind us.  But Andy and Matt's tweets get to the heart of the matter: finding the right coach to move the Jazz forward.

Dennis Lindsey's guy

I think the biggest thing to consider is that the coach Dennis Lindsey chooses will in many ways define what type of GM Dennis Lindsey is.  General Managers are sort of coupled to the head coach they help select for better or for worse.  From what we know about Dennis Lindsey and from what he said in yesterday's interview, he won't want to hire a "yes man" by any means, but he will want to hire someone who shares a similar philosophy (emphasis on defense, offensive creativity, ability to think on his feet, communication, team player, ability to teach and develop, etc.)  The fact that Dennis Lindsey didn't hire Ty Corbin was probably the biggest thing Coach Corbin had going against him.  This will be Dennis Lindsey's hire and he will need to get it right to do his job effectively.


Last season a ridiculous 12 head coaches were informed or announced that they would not be returning as a head coach the following season.  These decisions were announced between April 18 (Byron Scott, Lawrence Frank, Doug Collins) and June 10 (Lionel Hollins).

It took the teams an average of 34 days to fill their vacant coaching position, with most teams taking 18-36 days to conduct a search.  The 76ers took nearly 4 months and the Cavs and the Kings took only a handful of days.  Some teams had someone lined up immediately (Mike Brown, Mike Malone) and other teams had surprise candidates surface to sort of steal the position (Jason Kidd, Jeff Hornacek).  Potential names for the Jazz have already swirled around the internet, but I would expect the Jazz to conduct a thorough search and make the decision around the end of May.  Just a guess.  It also appears that the length of time it takes to find a coach, has no indication of how that coach will perform.  The Pistons took nearly 2 months to decide on Mo Cheeks and we all know he was the first coaching casualty of 2014.

So let's talk about possible coaching candidates and to do that, I have broken up the types of coaches available into the remaining three points left.

Veteran NBA coaches

Stan Van Gundy

Jeff Van Gundy

Lionel Hollins

George Karl

These guys are popular choices among many Jazz fans.  For one, they are good coaches who have had success.  There are two things working here however.  For one, do any of these guys even want to coach the Jazz?  And if so, does Dennis Lindsey want them coaching the Jazz?  I would put the chances of the next Jazz coach coming from this group at almost zero, because of these two questions.  Even if any of these guys are interested, Dennis Lindsey is automatically going to lose some authority in the decision making process, especially when each of these candidates have history with public discord with previous front office management types.  These are the types of coaches you hire, if you just want to sit back and watch them work, not when you have a clear vision for the direction of the franchise, like I believe Dennis Lindsey has.

The savvy assistant coach, who needs a shot at head coaching (Erik Spoelstra, Frank Vogel, Jeff Hornacek).

This coach is probably a coach who Dennis Lindsey knows and is comfortable with.  Maybe they come from San Antonio or Houston, where Dennis has a history.  Peter tabbed such a candidate early on in Mike Longabardi in Phoenix.  But as multiple sources mentioned yesterday, ex-Utah Utes head coach, Jim Boylen, is apparently very high on Dennis Lindsey's wishlist.  Utah's own Alex Jensen has also had some head coach pub in the past.

Jim Boylen

Mike Longabardi

Alex Jensen

I am not a Running Utes basketball fan, so I am somewhat naive to Boylen's history in Utah, which judging by the tweets, was not good.  So I took to twitter to find out some more yesterday.


This got almost no responses and I'm not sure why. I thought more people would have strong opinions on com aunts. But seriously, Ute fans.  What did Boylen do that was so bad?  Give me some constructive criticism.  He seems like an entertaining guy.

If I were a betting man, I would put the money on the next Utah Jazz head coach coming from this group.  Even if it isn't Boylen or Longabardi, this type of opportunity makes the most sense for the young Jazz team and young general manager.

The Veteran Overseas Coach


Ettore Messina

David Blatt

I know quite a bit about both of these guys, but I'd have a really hard time explaining their coaching philosophies.  They are both very intelligent men who have American or NBA ties.  Messina just recently was an assistant coach with the Lakers and Blatt played college ball at Princeton University.  Both coaches have ties to coaching Russian squads and Blatt coached Andrei Kirilenko and Team Russia to a bronze medal in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.  He drew up brilliant plays out of time outs with regularity.

If you would like to learn more about Ettore Messina, here are some more videos:

Ettore Messina Philosophies

More EM Philosophies

While I think hiring an established European coach is a long shot for the Jazz, it would parallel their expansion into increased European and overseas scouting in general.  Some franchises have a better grasp on overseas basketball and the Jazz may be or become one of those in the near future.