When Utah Jazz management decided the 2013-14 season would be one of reorganizing and rebuilding, coach Tyrone Corbin took a deep breath and forged ahead.
Without a contract extension and faced with the prospect of going into battle with unproven players, Corbin realized months ago his situation was precarious.
“I would have liked things to be handled differently, but they weren’t,” he said Thursday. “So it is what it is. We’ll see where things go and move on.”
Interesting choice of words.
Corbin could be moving on after his team’s just-completed 25-57 season.
“The guys, I’m proud of,” he said. “They made some great strides this year and I like the character on this team. Through all the adversity we’ve been through, they stayed positive.”
In Corbin’s third full year as head coach, the Jazz got off to a 1-14 start, gathered themselves slightly at midseason but struggled again during the final two months.
Utah eventually tied Boston for the fourth-worst record in the NBA, which helps its position in the upcoming draft lottery but doesn’t do much for a coach’s long-term prospects.
After Thursday’s end-of-the-season meeting at EnergySolutions Arena, general manager Dennis Lindsey said a decision of Corbin’s future with the team will be made “in short order.”
Given the circumstances of the season, Corbin’s players believe Corbin did a good job.
“He was in a tough spot — a ‘free agent’ asked to develop younger guys,” Gordon Hayward said. “When you do that, a lot of times, the wins and losses aren’t going to be in your favor.”
Hayward continued: “I thought he did a tremendous job. He didn’t give up on us. He worked hard. Kept us working hard. So hats off to him, even though I’m sure it was frustrating because nobody likes losing.”
According to Derrick Favors, Corbin’s situation was not discussed among the players during the difficult season.
“We didn’t talk about,” he said. “We knew what it was but we didn’t talk about it. We didn’t want that to be a distraction the team or others. So we just kind of stayed away from it.”
Asked if he’d like to keep playing for Corbin, Favors said, “I [wouldn’t] mind. I think Ty is a great coach and a great person.”
It could be argued that Corbin never sat at the poker table with the full stack of chips.
He took over as head coach midway through the 2010-11 season amid the turmoil of Jerry Sloan’s abrupt departure and the trade of All-Star Deron Williams. The Jazz won only eight of their final 28 games.
A 66-game lockout season — without a true training camp — followed in 2011-12. Utah surged down the stretch to make the playoffs for the only time in Corbin’s tenure, but they were swept by San Antonio in the first round. In 2012-13, Corbin’s core players were in the final year of their contract and weren’t coming back: Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Mo Williams, Randy Foye, Earl Watson, Jamaal Tinsley and DeMarre Carroll. Still, the Jazz stayed in the playoff race until the final night of the regular season, before finishing 43-39.
Corbin’s record as head coach of the Utah Jazz:
Season W-L Pct. Result
2010-11 8-20 .266 Missed playoffs
2011-12 36-30 .545 Playoffs, first round
2012-13 43-39 .524 Missed playoffs
2013-14 25-57 .305 Missed playoffs
Totals 112-146 .434