The Utah Jazz are hiring.
With the announcement Monday that Tyrone Corbin would not be coming back next season, the team is in its first full-fledged coaching search since moving to Utah in the late 1970s.
At the moment, the franchise is in the first stages of a process with no hard timeline. General manager Dennis Lindsey isn’t sharing his short list. In fact, he says he doesn’t even have one yet.
“Literally we haven’t had one conversation with regard to names and criteria.”
But in his quest to find the person to lead the Jazz into the next step of their rebuilding, Lindsey is in search of someone with a number of characteristics.
“Personal character. There’s work ethic. There’s competitive DNA. There’s coaching acumen. Strategy.”
“Ability to think on your feet. There are so many things that go into that job and it’s a very tough job in so many ways. I think NBA players want honest and the truth as soon as you know it. I think they want somebody that gives them a good game plan that they can rally behind,” Lindsey said this week, listing off what he’d like to see in the team’s next coach.
But there are a few other things to consider in that help-wanted ad.
1. A commitment to defense
Coming into the season, Lindsey and the Jazz preached the importance of getting stops. But on the court, Corbin’s crew couldn’t deliver. The Jazz finished the season ranked last in defense and saw a substantial drop-off in effectiveness the last two months.
In Lindsey’s own words: “Being a defensive program going forward is very important to who we are and what we want to be. We want to establish that foundation.”
2. An ability to develop youth
At Monday’s news conference, Lindsey defended the team’s outgoing coach for his handling of the team’s youngsters, saying that more often than not criticisms about playing time and rotations were “off the mark.”
But the next guy will have to be at least that good and better.
The Jazz closed out the year starting five players who were 24 or younger. And the team could add three more young draft picks this summer if the front office elects to keep all of its picks in June.
3. A propensity for analytics
There were times throughout the season Corbin publicly discounted the numbers game that has become so prevalent in today’s NBA. While there’s certainly more to playing well than statistics, the numbers are important — especially to Lindsey and the new era of Jazz management.
4. A gift for public relations
One of the great benefits of a coaching change is the goodwill that often comes with it. It’s a fresh start, and after a 25-57 season Jazz fans wouldn’t mind putting this year out of mind entirely.
Of course, the best way to do that is to win.