The biggest improvement, Corbin pointed out, needs to be in simple consistency.
The Jazz have shown they can execute well and push the ball in a preferred up-tempo style while setting the pace.
Utah players have also shown they can clamp down and play defense, even putting together their stingiest showing in Wednesday’s 87-81 win over Orlando.
They just haven’t done it in enough extended situations.
“We want to do it for a complete game. That’s where we have to grow,” Corbin said. “On defense, we’ve got to make sure we’re getting back and stopping transition baskets. We have to get sequences where we get a sequence of stops while we’re scoring to get those gaps and make those runs longer. We want three, four, five stops in a row. More than just once or twice a game.”
Corbin envisions having a team that pounces on opponents from the tipoff instead of one that often requires a jumpstart. A team that finishes strong instead of falling apart as has been the case lately would be nice, too.
“That’s when you’re growing on the defensive end,” he added, “when you’re consistently getting stops and (going on) runs.”
Millsap said the Jazz have stayed together and haven’t let unspecified “off-the-court issues bother us,” so that’s a positive.
But he’s cognizant it hasn’t jelled with the new guys, young guys, returning veterans like planned, so that’s a negative.
“We’re a much better team than we put off, I guess,” Millsap said. “A couple of games we know we should have won, we just didn’t pull it off. Whatever the case may be, we should be a lot better.”
With 62 games remaining, there’s still plenty of time for that to happen.
“Everybody’s been on the same page so far,” he said, “and that’s how we’ve got to keep it.”
And hope it translates into more W's than L's. After all, 10-10 is as equally good and bad as it gets. It’s mediocre. The definition of a C grade, isn’t it?
Professor Corbin was hesitant to put a letter grade on the Jazz through the first quarter.
“To say that we’re A, B or C I would say that we’re growing and we’re growing in the right ways on both ends of the floor,” he said. “I don’t want to put a grade on that just yet.”
Williams was willing to cut his new team some slack.
“We’re still in the top eight in the West, so obviously you’re in a pretty good position,” he said. “So, I’d say B- maybe.”
When your hopes are at the A level, that’s certainly underachieving but OK.
"First thing, you have to be in the picture, and we’re in the picture now," Corbin said. "Now we’re trying to jockey (for position) and see how high and where you finish in those top eight teams."
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