Though Corbin wants all of his players back and healthy — from Burke to Jeremy Evans, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush — the Jazz coach is trying to teach his players that they need to do this for themselves. They have to dig deep, retain information the coaching staff has gone over and over, rise to the new playing opportunities and fight their way through this funk.
Corbin has been telling players that this slump is like life — they’ve just got to work out of the bad spot. Utah has home games against Denver, New Orleans and San Antonio to do that.
“That’s my message to them, ‘Look, you can’t keep looking around. Nobody else is going to show up. This is it,'" Corbin said. “We’ve got to do it with this group. We’ve got a couple of guys out, but we’ve got to play with more energy.”
Learning to fight — and sustain that drive — might be the biggest thing the young Jazz has to learn this season.
“This is the NBA. Everybody goes through it. You can’t get around it,” Corbin said. “They’re not going to wait for you to get healthy. They’re not going to wait for you to play better. You have to go out and make it happen.”
To that point, Corbin doesn’t want his team to think things are going to change just because they’re playing in front of their own fans. That was another message he delivered in a locker room full of frazzled Jazz employees.
“Just because we’re going home it’s not going to just get better. We’ve got to make it get better. We’ve got to come back and play and fight and compete,” Corbin said. “If we lose games playing and fighting and competing, we can deal with that. We don’t want to come in and just show up and think it’s going to happen. We’ve got to make it happen.”
Hayward, in his new leadership role, said the team might have to have yet another players-only meeting to work things out. He sees it as his job to make sure his teammates don’t get too down on themselves.
“We’ve got to pick ourselves up and move on,” he said. “We’ve got to do something because they (coaches) can only do so much for us. We’re the guys out there on the court.”
Veteran John Lucas III also indicated another heart-to-heart — lay it all out on the line discussion — might be in order for the players.
“We’ve got to figure out who we are. That’s our thing. We’ve got to figure out who we are,” Lucas said. “From myself to everybody else, we’ve got to look at ourselves in the mirror because this ain’t cool. I know we’re seven games in, but still.
“I don’t want anyone to get used to this. I don’t care what’s being said in the media about us, but we’ve got to hold ourselves accountable for what we’re doing out there.”
Giving fans who help pay for the players' high salaries something to cheer for would be an added bonus.
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