Of all the roles a head coach in the NBA plays over the course of a season, none may be as important as matchmaker.
Ask Tyrone Corbin.
The Jazz coach analyzes his 15 players, searching for traits in one that complement those of another. It’s been a challenge. The Jazz have started 14 different lineups this season. On Monday, GordonHayward remained in the starting lineup alongside MoWilliams, PaulMillsap, AlJefferson and RandyFoye.
After that group beat the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, might this be the group Corbin rides out the season with?
The third-year coach, to borrow another cliché from the dating world, isn’t ready to commit.
"Right now," he said, "we’re just trying to get a great feeling for everybody and they’re getting a great feeling for each other."
The Jazz are still trying to work their way through a dreadful shooting slump by Foye, and Corbin has shown more of a willingness to go to a big lineup that features DerrickFavors playing alongside Millsap and Jefferson.
"I would love to have the luxury of having five guys that we start from day one and run through the season with that five and the rotation who’s coming off the bench. But we’ve had guys in and out of the lineup, we’ve had guys out for an extended period of time."
But if the Jazz had to bank on a lineup to give them a shot at the playoffs, at least one player thinks this is the winning combination. Foye said starting with Hayward and Mo Williams takes pressure off of him as a shooter.
"It feels good to have them out there," he said. "That’s not taking away anything from anyone else, it’s just we have three shooters on the perimeter and I say, ‘Pick your poison.’ It’s good. It’s cool to be out there with it. I think it’s deadly, truthfully."
March is on
Nine Utah Jazz players may find themselves watching basketball for fun this week. That’s how many whose alma maters received berths to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which starts with first round games Tuesday.
"There’s nothing like it," said forward JeremyEvans, who reached the Sweet 16 with Western Kentucky in 2008. "[I] had a lot of fun and just tried to enjoy the moment."
Evans’ Hilltoppers received a No. 16 seed in the South Regional and will play top-seeded Kansas. They are a No. 16 seed. Hayward (Butler), Millsap (Louisiana Tech), Foye (Villanova), Alec Burks (Colorado), DeMarre Carroll (Missouri), Jamaal Tinsley (Iowa State), Earl Watson (UCLA) and Marvin Williams (North Carolina) will also have cheering interests.
Watson’s Bruins received only a No. 6 seed after falling last week to Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game. The Jazz point guard didn’t have much sympathy for the regular season Pac-12 champions.
"They should have won the tournament," he said.
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