The Spurs continue their playoff journey wednesday, but what will be a running, series long dialogue between Amar and I continued today. To get things started, I asked him a few questions, and his first answers are here. His first questions for me and my answers can be found here. Below is round two of his answers to my questions, and round two of my answers can be found over here.
What are the general feelings of Jazz fans right now? Was game one encouraging or a let down?
The Jazz fans seem to have mixed feelings about what happened in Game 1. First, there appears to be a general unease about the rotations that head coach Tyrone Corbin used; no rotation elicited more concern from Jazz fans than starting rotation. Ty's decision to start an extremely cold Josh Howard received a lot of negative criticism from our fan base. The second group looks at the silver lining of the game, in that the players who appeared to make an impact figure to be players who form our core group for the future. Yet a third group seemed to be upset at the loss, despite being mentally prepared for it. In a way, some Jazz fans wanted the Jazz to ‘lose', but ‘in the right way'.
There's honestly no comparison between the two teams. You guys got exactly what you wanted and many, many Jazz fans have come out to say very good things about the Spurs. We may not like you, but we greatly admire what you've built, developed, and maintained for so long. In fact, a number of us on twitter were especially impressed with how your team runs the same sets, and there really is no drop off, regardless of who is in the game. Pop mixed in a lot of different ingredients together in game 1, and managed experienced players with novices, age with youth, and starters and bench guys. If anything, this was an upfront education for not only our players but our coaches as well.
Personally, I'm encouraged by Game 1. The goals for this young Jazz team in the 2012 Playoffs is less about winning the title, and more about getting experience in the playoffs and identifying what parts need to be kept, and which parts need to go. If Game 1 is any indication of what the Jazz will learn about themselves in the next few games, then the rest of this series is going to make this identification process very easy for General Manager Kevin O'Connor. And that is encouraging. It would have been a let down if the Jazz were leading late and lost. Being taught how you have to keep the foot on the gas pedal in the playoffs by a model franchise is a lesson all future contenders need to learn. (Looks at Memphis...)
So, thank you Sir! May I have another?
What is something you think the Jazz should have done differently, or what aspect of the game plan do you think should change? Basically, going in to game two, what adjustments do you think Corbin and co will make?
I think the number one thing is that Corbin has to try to put out more balanced lineups on the floor at all stages of the game. The Spurs did not take a breather during the normal flow of the game. The gameflows at popcornmachine.net do a great job of pointing this out. Even when Tiago Splitter had to leave the game, DeJuan Blair stepped up and fit right in with what you guys were doing. Utah needs to find that level of synchronicity in their lineups. And Corbin needs to add more overlap to the lineups. He makes wholesale line shifts, like this was the NHL. During most of the game Gregg Popovich always had an All-NBA player type on the floor (Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, or Manu Ginobili). That makes life so much easier for the rest of the guys who are playing with that star. Throwing Alec Burks, Enes Kanter (two rookies who did not play much this year, mind you), out there with Jamaal Tinsley and DeMarre Carroll isn't really a well balanced roster - unless they are paired up with Wilt Chamberlain. This is the biggest problem. Balanced rotations. Ty needs to take a few pages out of Pop's book. And I think as this series goes on, and as he continues to look at what's happening this series, he'll learn. And again, as a young coach who has only coached 95 games in his career I'm find with that.
Also Josh Howard need to come off the bench. If you are going to go with a bench unit, that unit needs some punch to it. Josh doesn't need to be taking shots away from Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap as a starter.
Of course, these are the adjustments I would suggest he make. I think Ty will instead try to mix up coverage in your primary ball handler instead, while avoiding the floor balance issues.