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Monson: Expectations for the Jazz now different
NBA » New plan calls for short-term pain to get long-term gain

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If the Jazz’s youngsters don’t compete, if they don’t improve, if they don’t bust it playing tough defense, if they don’t dive for loose balls, if they don’t run the floor, if they don’t run the right sets at the offensive end, if they don’t take two steps up for every one step back, or at least one step up for every two steps back, Corbin will be held accountable.

If they do accomplish that much, and still end up on the losing end a lot of nights, it will be OK.

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That’s the next part of the plan: Landing in an advantageous position in next year’s talent-rich draft. The Jazz aren’t quick to admit this, but there are only two ways they will ever gain an authentic star player, a true difference-maker: 1) draft him and/or 2) develop him. They have to either trade for those picks or lose for them, all while they’re assembling and growing the rest of the roster. Under the rules of the new collective-bargaining agreement, and the punitive taxes it exacts from big spenders, the Jazz will be able to get some quality free agents, or talk trade with clubs who want to off load good players with heavy contracts. That’s the benefit of the aforementioned financial flexibility the Jazz have created and preserved.

But superstars can come here only through the draft.

Jazz general Manager Dennis Lindsey learned his craft, in part, in San Antonio. As well run as the Spurs have been, where would that franchise be now had it not been in a position all those years ago to draft Tim Duncan?

Unless the Jazz are setting him up as a scapegoat, Corbin won’t be let loose for losing too many games in 2013-14 and — horrors — putting the Jazz in a position to get Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. His fate lies in teaching and motivating his young crew — on nights when they surprise and on nights when they get their heads kicked in.

If the Jazz don’t show reasonable progress, given their new opportunity, if they don’t play defense, they’ll be playing for either a new team or a new coach next year.

That’s the simple and complex answer to the Corbin question.

GORDON MONSON hosts "The Big Show" with Spence Checketts weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM/1280 and 960 AM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.

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