SALT LAKE CITY — His Utah Jazz have long been on an extended summer vacation, but Tyrone Corbin is as eager for the NBA Finals to tip off tonight as anyone this side of Dallas, Miami or ABC.
"I'm just excited," the Jazz coach said, "to see the series start and see the battle and see which will takes over on the other guy."
Corbin didn't offer a prediction — heck, he said momentum in this one will likely change from quarter to quarter, let alone from game to game.
But he called the star-studded Heat and uber-deep Mavericks "two good teams" and expects a doozy of a championship bout.
"You look at Miami and they've got those three guys," Corbin said, "and you've got veterans around them that just know how to win."
Those three guys he was referring to were not, of course, Dexter Pittman, Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony. And, yes, Corbin is well aware of the dangers that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh present to Dallas.
"You have three guys that at any point in the game can take the game over and especially in the fourth quarter," he said. "So they're never really out of a game. ... Their veteran superstar guys just give you a chance to do that every night you step on the floor. And the other team knows it, too."
Miami's use of the Big Three, Corbin noted, might help the Heat counter the Mavericks' loaded bench.
"Where Dallas maybe have had an advantage with other teams, they won't have as much with Miami because they don't sub all three of those guys at the same time," Corbin said. "And they may play, and they're young enough to play extended minutes and still be effective."
That's not to say Corbin is counting out Dirk Nowitzki & Co. from avenging their previous Finals mishap against Miami.
"With Dallas, they're a veteran club. They're a very deep, deep club," he said. "Coming off the bench, their second group is just as good if not better than the first group. They can score a lot of points, and they all know that at some point you're going to have to make stops, so they try and put value in (defense). ...
"As a group, they have to do it (play defense together), because individually they may not be the best defenders in the league."
NEXT GENERATION: So long, Generation X. See ya later, Generation Y. Generation AAU is taking over the NBA.
Corbin believes the club basketball program played a role in last summer's decision to bring James, Bosh and Wade together in Miami.
And the ex-Jazz forward and current head coach called it "different" to see superstars scheme to join forces — something in contradiction to what he saw during his 16 seasons as a player in the NBA.
"Just thinking back in the day when I was younger in the league, superstar guys wanted to have their own show. It's changed," Corbin said. "These kids they grew up in AAU, being on all-star teams, and they're used to playing with superstar guys. And they want that kind of team because ... they have a chance to win big every night. They want to win championships and not have to be the only guy getting it done."
Added Corbin: "I think it's a change for this new generation of kid who's used to being on these superstar teams from the AAU thing."
That, Corbin admitted, makes it hard on small-market franchises, like Utah, that don't have the drawing power to lure superstars.
"It makes our job a little tougher because the guys we get we have to get the most out of them," Corbin said.11 comments on this story
"If you can't get those superstar guys and you're going against a team every night that has two or three of those guys, it's going to be difficult for you."
TRADE TALK: Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor took a break from saying "no comment" while recently addressing reporters.
Instead, he offered this clever no-comment-like comment when asked about Utah potentially making a draft-day trade:
"We made a trade that night," he said, referring to the lottery. "We traded six for three."