Raptors 115, Jazz 91
I could go over the defensive breakdowns that allowed the Raptors to score 30, 32, and 29 points in the first three quarters, respectively. I could go over the halfcourt offense that resulted in nearly as many turnovers (13) as field goals (14) in a dismal 36-point first-half. I could go over the energy and effort issues against a Raptors team that like the Jazz – were playing their 4th game in 6 nights.
However I’ve touched on all of those before, and very little has changed or improved. I will say I liked how Derrick Favors started the game offensively (15 pts on 5-11 shooting through three-quarters – showing more confidence in his scoring ability) and Gordon Hayward finished (18 pts on 8-12 shooting in the second-half). I liked how Jamaal Tinsley refused to take a hard bump from Dwight Buycks – shoving him in the chest resulting in the first technical foul by a Jazz player this season. Other than that, the Jazz looked like a lost and beaten down team merely going through the motions – particularly disconcerting given that it’s still early-November.
Others have pointed out that they are still very early in the season – which at 9% through is true – but the team has regressed over their first 7 games and the facts speak for themselves:
- At 0-7, the Jazz are off to their worst-start since 1974-75 when they were an expansion team.
- The Jazz have now lost 5 consecutive games by double-digits.
- The Jazz have lost 2 consecutive games by 24-points for the first time in nearly 11 years.
- The Jazz have not led in their last 130 minutes and 23 seconds of basketball, spanning all of the Toronto, Chicago, and nearly 3/4’s of the Boston game.
- Utah also never held the lead in the Brooklyn game, meaning on their 4-game road trip the Jazz held the lead for all of 12 minutes and 53 seconds (all in the opening 14 minutes of their game in Boston) out of 192 total minutes – or 6.7% of the four game trip.
No matter the youth (used to describe 3rd and 4th year players), injuries and scheduling issues – those are simply inexcusable results for a collection of professional basketball players and coaches.
Professional sports are obviously an entirely different environment than the corporate world – but while watching last night’s game the opening of an article written by Peter Guber on LinkedIn a few months ago about ran through my mind. Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment and co-owner of both the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Dodgers, wrote an interesting piece on “Managing Up” – in which he identified positive methods to deal with a difficult boss. Watching the demeanor and body language of the Jazz last night, I was reminded of the first few paragraphs:
“Do you love your job, but dislike your boss?
If you don’t manage your relationship with your boss, it will manage you…out!!!
Unfortunately, many employees face this problem and might even quit their jobs despite the fact that they may really love the companies they work for and the positions they hold. This dilemma prevents them from realizing their full potential, contributing value to their organizations, and most importantly, looking forward to getting up each morning.”
Professionally you not only gain or lose respect for someone based upon their authority, character, intelligence, and work ethic – but also for their success. Not only is self-doubt a common side effect of consistent failures, so is large-scale doubt. Whether it’s merited or not, when experiencing struggles of this magnitude it’s only natural to lose confidence in those around you – particularly those who are in charge. You begin to question the “boss,” the plan, and the methodology.
To clarify, I don’t know what the dynamics are in the Jazz locker room. It’s possible the team loves playing for Ty Corbin, they still fully believe in what he’s teaching and they feel just as badly that they can’t win a game for him as they do for their own personal defeat. With that said, these are still human beings – many of whom are in their early 20’s.
What I do know is the Jazz’s current woes go far beyond simply “not having enough talent.” A lot of things can factor into their disastrous underachievement – and after their recent efforts I think it’s worth exploring both the tangible and intangible ones.
With a three-game homestand coming up, the Jazz have an opportunity to somewhat right the ship. For a young and discombobulated team, a single win could do wonders in terms of momentum and confidence. There’s still that glimmer of hope, but until it comes to fruition I feel it is more than fair to ask and speculate as to why the Jazz are playing by far the worst basketball in the NBA.