Potential Utah Jazz Coaching Candidates with Which to Replace Ty Corbin

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2014

Who will replace Tyrone Corbin on Utah's sideline?
Who will replace Tyrone Corbin on Utah's sideline?Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

The Utah Jazz is a team in flux.

This past offseason, it let every veteran free agent it had walk. It acquired three players on expiring contracts from the Golden State Warriors and didn't extend a single one. Its coach is on the final year of his deal, and there is no talk of a new contract.

Including this season's 10-24 record, Tyrone Corbin is now 97-113 during his time at the helm of the Jazz. It's not an awful record, but it's also not up to Jazz standards.

Utah fans have come to expect a level of competitiveness that Corbin perhaps hasn't been able to reach.

His career winning percentage is .462. The organization's is .541 (and that includes his). 2014 will mark the third time in four years Utah's missed the playoffs under Corbin. Before him, the franchise played in 24 of the past 27 postseasons.

Now obviously, the recent struggles can't be blamed entirely on Corbin. Taking over for Jerry Sloan right around the time superstar Deron Williams was traded would be tough. And no one expected him to do a whole lot with this season's extremely young roster.

Still, for Utah to want to bring Corbin back would likely require some sign that his coaching has gotten more out of these Jazz teams than they could've produced on their own. Such a sign does not exist.

So, the question is: Who replaces Corbin in the 2014-15 season? Or perhaps, who replaces him in the middle of this season?

The second is far less likely given the history of the organization. Utah hasn't fired a coach since it canned Tom Nissalke in 1981. And the franchise has only seen two mid-season coaching changes since then. First when Frank Layden retired in 1989, and second, when Jerry Sloan did so in 2011.

So unless Corbin unexpectedly calls it quits of his own volition, he likely won't be replaced before the summer of 2014.

When the search officially and publicly begins, plenty of names will come up. These three are the best options for quickly and effectively restoring some of the luster that's worn off this organization over the last few years.


Stan Van Gundy

Could Stan Van Gundy develop a system that fits the Jazz?
Could Stan Van Gundy develop a system that fits the Jazz?Fernando Medina/Getty Images

In eight seasons as a head coach for the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, Stan Van Gundy did a whole lot of winning. His career record is 371-208 (.641).

What's perhaps more impressive than the actual number of wins is the way (or rather, ways) in which he got them.

Many coaches like to impose their will, style and system wherever they go, regardless of the personnel that's already in place. Not the case with SVG.

Bleacher Report's transactions guru D.J. Foster recently wrote, "Stan Van Gundy is probably the league's best tactician, and his ability to mold a system to the talent on hand is unparalleled around the league."

Let's look at three different examples, starting with the 2008-09 Orlando Magic.

This was a 59-23 team built around Dwight Howard, a rebounding and defensive monster with significantly less offensive ability than he thinks.

Van Gundy devised a system in which all four of the guys sharing the court with Howard would space the floor.

The 2008-09 Magic were second in both threes attempted and made.
The 2008-09 Magic were second in both threes attempted and made.NBA.com

All the shooting from the likes of Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu and others prevented defenses from leaving the perimeter to double-team the offensively challenged Howard. It also created loads of offensive rebounding opportunities and Howard averaged a career-best 4.3.

The 2008-09 Magic upset LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals that season.

That was just one of three 59-win teams Van Gundy led. Another was the 2004-05 Miami Heat.

This team played a completely different style than that Magic team. It was led by Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal and the name of the game was getting to the rim.

The '08-09 Magic was second in the league in made threes. The '04-05 Heat was second in the league in free throw attempts.

Van Gundy realized this bunch would be most effective working in the paint. He adjusted his gameplan accordingly.

Finally, the last SVG team to look at is the one that most closely resembles the current Utah Jazz.

The 2003-04 Miami Heat overachieved behind two young, up-and-comers: 24-year-old Lamar Odom and 22-year-old rookie Wade.

He allowed Odom to play a lot of point forward, while still giving Wade plenty of opportunities to play on the ball as well. It's a situation that isn't terribly different to what Utah has with point forward Gordon Hayward and point guard Trey Burke.

Van Gundy would identify the strengths and weaknesses of not only those two, but Utah's entire roster. And he would develop a suitable gameplan and system around them.


George Karl

George Karl could bring some excitement to Utah Jazz basketball.
George Karl could bring some excitement to Utah Jazz basketball.Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

George Karl went 57-25 as the coach of the Denver Nuggets in 2012-13. The team led the league in scoring at 106.1 points a game and he was named the NBA's Coach of the Year for his work.

Well, it all amounted to a hill of beans for Denver execs, who fired Karl after losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Golden State Warriors.

Plenty questioned the move, including Karl himself. According to The Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman, Karl reacted to his being fired by telling Denver team president Josh Kroenke, "I think I should tell you, I think it's very stupid."

It might look even more stupid for the Nuggets if Karl were to be hired by Northwest Division rival Utah.

Imagine Karl's exciting, uptempo style thriving with young offensive talent like Hayward, Burke, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter.

Denver fans and management would be beside themselves if the Jazz was suddenly the team in the Western Conference that had the ability to run opponents into the ground and leave them gasping for air at high altitude.

And Utah has the players to do just that. One of the main reasons the 2012-13 Nuggets were successful was the way they relentlessly attacked the paint.

Hayward, Burke and Burks have all shown the ability to get to the rim off the dribble. Derrick Favors attacks it in transition and in the half court. And Kanter has offensive ability in the post that far exceeds his age (it just needs to be uncovered again after Corbin benched him and snuffed out his confidence).


Jerry Sloan

Many fans feel Jerry Sloan belongs on the bench and not in the bleachers.
Many fans feel Jerry Sloan belongs on the bench and not in the bleachers.Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images

Every Jazz fan still has a warm spot in his or her heart for Jerry Sloan and wouldn't mind seeing the legendary coach return.

Sloan is the third winningest coach in NBA history behind Don Nelson and Lenny Wilkins. 1,127 of his 1,221 wins were earned with Utah. The way he left just didn't seem fitting for all he'd accomplished there.

There was a lot of tension between he and point guard Deron Williams. According to the Deseret News' Jody Genessy, Jazz CEO Greg Miller felt a halftime argument between the two was a big part of Sloan's desire to walk away from coaching.

Miller relayed Sloan saying, "I don’t have anything else," after the game in which the fight took place. He stepped down and Williams was traded to the Nets that same season.

The franchise has pretty much been out of whack ever since. But now, there's an opportunity to restore the Utah Jazz back to what it once was and Sloan may be the perfect coach to do so.

Under him, the Jazz dominated for decades with a devastating pick-and-roll game that required a good playmaking guard and a big man with which he could operate.

Its best incarnation came in the form of John Stockton and Karl Malone. Williams and Carlos Boozer weren't so bad themselves.

The current duo of Burke and Favors could be next in line, and they'd be more likely to reach their full potential as a pick-and-roll combo under the tutelage of Sloan.

He's currently with the team as a "senior basketball adviser," but he'd obviously have a much more lasting and significant impact on the bench.

Sloan wouldn't instantly return Utah to its glory days, but he would absolutely make the team competitive right away. Especially when you consider the possibility of adding a superstar talent like Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins in the 2014 Draft.

This team has been drifting for far too long. It's about time someone brings some stability. Any of the three men discussed here have the ability to do just that.


For 140-character pearls of wisdom from Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey, follow him on Twitter: @AndrewDBailey.


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