The Triple Team: Three Thoughts on Jazz vs. Lakers 4/14/2014

April 14th, 2014 | by Andy Larsen
 (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

1. The Jazz had two big stretches in which they just couldn’t score that cost them the game.

The first was a 19-2 Lakers run at the end of the first half in just 3:40 of game time. Their offensive performance in those minutes, in sequence:

Miss, miss, miss, miss, turnover, make, turnover, miss, turnover, miss, turnover, miss, miss.

This gave the Lakers a 6 point lead going into half, but the Jazz somewhat valiantly fought back in the 3rd quarter to fight back to tie the game. Then, in the opening 7 minutes of the fourth quarter, the Jazz’s offensive sequence went like this:

Miss, turnover, miss, miss, turnover, miss, turnover, miss, FT make, FT miss, miss, miss, miss, miss.

That’s very bad offensive performance in stretches against a terrible defensive team, and it’s absolutely worrying. The first half slide might be the most troublesome, as it happened for the most part against the core group of young players that Jazz fans are so excited about: Burke/Burks/Hayward/Favors/Kanter. 1 It was as if those players had never played together, and while they haven’t played much as a unit this season, they’ve played together in at least large 4-man groups: those are 5 of the 6 players with the most minutes as a team.

Interestingly, beside those stretches, the Jazz shot really well: 65% from the field is really quite good. The difference might be indicative of the Jazz’s biggest offensive problem: they have no one who they can trust with the ball who can get points semi-reliably.

Yes, this game was largely about tank race, and Ty Corbin thought it affected the players on the floor, saying “We gave into the talk tonight, but we can’t concede to what others say.” It was a worrying game for the state of the team as currently constructed, pre-draft pick.

2. But! The loss sure does help the Jazz with lottery odds.

The loss assures them of, at worst, a tie for 4th going into the NBA’s draft lottery on May 20th. If the Jazz had won tonight, they could have fallen to as low as the 6th spot. This is a big deal: most observers think that this draft contains a very excellent group of 5 players.2

While the odds of getting the top pick in the NBA draft are not incredibly different between the 4th and 6th slots (11.9% to 6.3%) the odds of getting a top 5 pick are extremely different: the chances of getting a top 5 pick are 82.8% for the 4th slot, and just 21.5% for the 6th slot. 3

It’s a real quandary, though: the current players looked really terrible at times tonight. They looked to have even regressed from game 1 of the season, in which they lost by only 3 in a fight with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Was the pick worth it? We’ll probably find out on May 20th.

3. Ty Corbin was introspective tonight.

This was probably the most deflated I’ve ever seen Ty Corbin this season: he, quite frankly, looked like a man out of answers. He’s tried the new starting lineup, using the youth all together as a unit, and it hasn’t really worked. A loss against the Lakers, as they’re currently constructed, is embarrassing. The most telling exchange was probably this one, at the end of the post-game press conference:

Tony Parks: “As a coach, what do you want to take from this year, specifically, as you go forward?”

Corbin: “I don’t know if that’s a good question right now. It’s a question to be asked, it’s a question I have to ask myself, it’s a question I have to accept, figure out where I go from here, for me. It’s been an interesting year. I have a lot of evaluating to do that I want to do for myself, and figure out what’s my next step.”

Corbin has always been strong in his press conferences, staying strong to the “We gotta work hard to get better” mantra. Honestly, it’s a good mantra, and it certainly helps a team to see strength and resilience in its leader. But tonight was the first time Corbin’s been open about his uncertain future, and he didn’t seem particularly optimistic.

Andy Larsen

Andy Larsen

Andy Larsen is the Managing Editor of Salt City Hoops, the ESPN TrueHoop affiliate for the Utah Jazz. He also hosts a radio show and podcast every week on ESPN700 AM in Salt Lake City.
Andy Larsen

8 Comments

  1. Sel says:

    Andy,

    Poor stretches of play and lack of concentration during parts of the game is a perfect example of a young group growing and figuring out there own game as well as there teammates

    Seriously excited about this starting group if we stick with them and add parts ( draft)

    I read too much fear in your comments or lack of understanding about the young athletes. There are exciting times ahead if we are patient. Kanter and favours bodies will be harder and bigger next year. Trey and Alec are for the first time going to have a full preseason. Add a top 5 draft pick
    Get excited

    • JT McKenna says:

      That’s a very optimistic outlook, Andy.

      From one perspective, our youngs got a lot of experience and we’ve landed right where we wanted to for this loaded draft.

      From another perspective, I’m not convinced that we have a future perennial all-star on this team. That’s not good considering that we already have a young core of lottery picks. It means we missed on our picks to a point. I think that they are all solid rotation players, but we’re still 2 stars away from being a contender, and if we get one in this draft, it will likely be 2 or 3 years before he really starts to contribute.

      I have great faith in Dennis Lindsey moving forward though. I believe that he is an elite general manager, where KOC was just average. A better head coach and a star in this draft would go a long way.

  2. eaton53 says:

    Ty shouldn’t be optimistic. He’s about to be fired!
    That picture is so appropriate.
    A single image that sums up the Ty Corbin Era.

  3. Jake D says:

    The game 1 comparison was on the money. So many errant passes it almost looked intentional. I’m not saying it was but steals leading to fast break points for the other team hurt an individual’s stats less than missed shots. The difference between picking 4th and 6th is too huge and this was a great result for the team.

    • eaton53 says:

      Absolutely.

      I was afraid they might actually win this game, which would be an even worse result than making the playoffs few years back only to get creamed by the Spurs.

      There was much more at stake this time and the guys came through.

  4. The Monk says:

    I feel badly for Ty. He is a good guy, maybe a good head coach for the right group of players (loaded with Vets – i.e. I think he’d have been great with a guy like DWill running the team). That being said he’s also been stubborn as a mule and I’m looking forward to new things. But I do hope Ty lands on his feet somewhere he can be happy. Thanks to him and all his years contributing the organization. “Got Milk”.

  5. Trollificus says:

    *sigh* Now I have to feel semi-bad for all the mean things I said about Corbin all year (2 years…3 years…). Not that any of the criticism was untrue. Just that he’s had a tough sequence of situations to deal with, never really a “good deal” dealt him.

    BUT.

    If Corbin had grown to become a + coach, either in-game or schemewise, I firmly believe that the Jazz would have taken a whole different direction last year. It didn’t happen, though. Ty’s “undersized, underathletic, underappreciated, blue collar” approach to the game was necessary for HIM to be successful but it’s not necessarily the way you coach more talented players.

    I wish him well, but I’m glad to see him gone.

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