Utah Sports Ruckus: Jazz blowing it; the Utes are the best team in the state

Published: Monday, March 10 2014 2:44 p.m. MDT

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After the Jazz made an 11-47 team look like a 47-11 team last Monday night, I heard some troubling commentary the following day.

I heard local media guys (owned by the Jazz) chastising Jazz fans that were disturbed by the 26-point loss to one of the worst NBA teams in recent memory; using the logic that if you are cheering for the Jazz to lose this season (to get a better draft pick) then you cannot turn around and make negative comments when they do lose — regardless of how pathetic they look in the process.

That commentary is false.

Even the logical Jazz fans that are happy to see the team lose this season still realize that if the Jazz are to contend in the future, several of the young players on this year’s team will need to step up and be major contributors on those future teams. The Jazz are not the Lakers — a team with a bunch of non-foundational players that needs to start completely over from scratch.

The Jazz are a franchise with a young foundation made up of two No. 3 overall picks (Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter), two No. 9 overall picks (Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward) and a No. 12 overall pick (Alec Burks). The Jazz are heavily invested in these players; and their performance, development and confidence matter a great deal in the Jazz’s plan for long-term success.

Jazz management had one simple overriding job this season — give their young core lottery picks 36 minutes per game, allow them to make mistakes and develop, and let the chips (standings) fall where they may.

If, under these circumstances, the Jazz had a winning season, then team management would know they were well on their way with this young core and could merely seek to retain these players and add or maintain complementary pieces around them in the years to come.

If, on the other hand, the team finished last in the NBA by playing those guys 36 minutes per game, then management would know they still needed to add at least one other foundational piece, and would have a phenomenal asset to do just that — a top-3 pick in a draft loaded at the top with players widely believed to be franchise, game-changing players.

Jazz leadership, from top to bottom, has blown it this season.

Team executives blew it big-time right from the start by being noncommittal about their coaching situation. There is no excuse for management not knowing prior to the season whether Tyrone Corbin was the man they wanted leading the franchise long-term or not. Corbin had been the Jazz’s head coach since February 2011 and had been an assistant coach with the franchise since 2004.

You’re telling us, Jazz management, that you couldn’t sufficiently analyze Corbin’s coaching ability in nearly a decade with him before the start of the season? Instead you had to leave him in limbo to coach out this season — an extremely critical season in the Jazz’s progression — in uncertainty? You should have either extended his contract or cut him loose before the season. More time for evaluation should not have been necessary.

No wonder Corbin is passing that uncertainty on in his minute distribution and coaching to the players.

Against Milwaukee last Monday, former No. 3 overall pick Enes Kanter, whose minutes have been wildly inconsistent all season, scored 27 points on 16 shot attempts and had 14 rebounds in 35 minutes. In the 13 minutes Kanter was not on the court vs. the Bucks, the Jazz were outscored by 21 of the 26 points they ultimately lost by. Kanter was the most effective player on the court that night for the Jazz — by a mile.

How was the 21-year-old, third-year player rewarded for his efforts and performance? By averaging just 25 minutes in three games the rest of the week, despite continuing to outperform most other players on the team.

The team has been riddled with inconsistent, irrational minute distribution all season across nearly the entire roster. Is it that difficult to just identify your core guys and give them starter's minutes each game? If there was ever a season for an NBA team to do exactly that, regardless of the outcomes of the games, it was this season for the Jazz.

NBA executives, like many business professionals, want/need others to believe that their jobs are much more difficult and complicated than they seem. They are prone to speak with veiled superiority and essentially tell fans that they don’t get how hard it is.

Don’t buy it, Jazz fans.

Jazz management has seriously botched this season

NEXT: March Madness firing up as best men’s team in Utah falls, BYU wins

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Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

In addition to making BYU look like a Division II program when they played head-to-head, the Utes have more impressive wins and fewer bad losses overall than the Cougars. If BYU had played in the Pac-12 this season, the Cougs likely would have finished with a sub-.500 conference record and be fighting for a spot in the NIT.

LOL repeated ten times!

Cougar Nation #1
Provo, UT

Didn't BYU beat Stanford at Stanford and didn't they almost beat Oregon at Oregon? BYU easily could've been the third or fourth best team this year in the pac-10.

Salt Lake City, UT

I'm sorry, but Ute fans can't criticize BYU fans for using the "we almost won" logic in football, and then turn around and do the same for their basketball squad. BYU got the job done at Stanford, the Utes could not. If BYU plays Utah at a neutral court, the Cougars win. Utah is very stellar at home this year, and only at home. BYU is clearly the best team in the state.

Bottom line, BYU will be dancing, and Utah will once again be left out. CIT maybe?

Two For Flinching
Salt Lake City, UT

@ BYU_Aggie

Talk is cheap. Utah outclassed BYU in every facet of the game back in December. Also, Utah is a lock for the NIT.

West Jordan, Utah

"The Utes have just one game the entire season (at UCLA) where they have not been ahead or at least within four points inside the last six minutes of the game. Eight of the Utes’ 10 losses have been by a combined 22 points — an average of 2.75 points — with three of the losses coming in overtime."

The quote above is a byproduct of a young team. I do think Utah is better than BYU. But how Utah would fare in the WCC and BYU in the PAC 12 is just speculation. Utah did beat BYU head to head and to me that is about the best indicator of the two teams. Still, it's not that much of an indicator since it's just one game and Utah was at home.

Bottom line, I am happy Utah is in the PAC 12, and that means I have to stomach BYU fans claiming superiority when the make a bowl, go dancing, or have a better overall record. That will happen when the schedules are so far apart.

Look at BYU's football schedule next year. 10 wins is very realistic. And that will have them saying how good they are with 80% of their schedule against total patsies.

West Jordan, Utah

Back to the close losses though. Utah failed to win just one or maybe two of those, which is why they won't get an at large bid. The loss to Stanford was the back breaker as Utah, if they even win the first game of the conference tourney, will be forced to play Arizona in the second round. So, unless 'magic happens' (pun intended), Utah will have to play in the NIT. It is what it is, or might be. Hold out March Madness hope.

Cedar Hills, Utah

2 wins away from home is all you need to know about the Utes.

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