A saying that makes rounds in sports is “Winning cures all problems.”
The Jazz are discovering the opposite is true too.
The Jazz are in the middle of such a big slump they now sit outside of playoff contention. Just a few weeks ago Utah was contending for a high seed. Now, the team is in disarray, losing nine of its last 12 games.
Seemingly every move the Jazz make, both by the front office and by the coaching staff on game days, explodes in their face. They held off trading for a point guard in part because Mo Williams was returning, but he has yet to find his form after being out 32 games and coming back noticeably heavier.
They tried several different units, looking for the one unit which will start the game off with some energy. Even with the many changes, the team still starts out flat, being outscored in the first quarter 24.4 to 23.1 on the season. In their last nine losses, the Jazz had the lead after the first quarter only once, an overtime loss at Milwaukee. In all three of their wins, they had the lead after the first period.
It appears the main culprit killing the Jazz is lack of desire. Since the Jazz come out with such little energy, with whom does the responsibility fall to get the team moving in the right direction, especially since the Jazz have only 14 games left in the season.
Who does the bulk of the responsibility fall on when there is an obvious lack of motivation? What share does the coach and front office shoulder in relation to the players? Is the problem fixable, or does there need to be a change of some sort before the Jazz return to the correct course?
There is enough blame to go around to fill several columns, so this column will look into how much the front office is to blame.
If the Jazz were a Fortune 500 company traded on a stock exchange, everyone would be selling their shares left and right. But instead of finding opportunity to win those fans back, the front office is intent on staying a course that is proven treacherous. In the process of following course, they have alienated their fan base. While fans may not have financial shares in the Jazz, their emotional investment is just as important for the Jazz to understand.
With how tight lipped the Jazz are, it is impossible to gage just how much they relate to their customer base. Head Coach Ty Corbin went on a small tirade after one of the losses, saying how he and the team do not respond to criticisms outside of the organization, saying he told the players that no one outside of the Jazz has ever been to this level and doesn’t know what they are talking about.
This small tidbit that snuck through the Jazz filters shows how little the organization cares for and regards its fans. It may have been in response to an article written by ESPN affiliate grantland.com, or any of the many words written making suggestions on what the team needs.
But what it did was create an us against the world mentality, which is not necessarily bad. But with this statement the Jazz added their fans to the world. They effectively alienated their customer base, resulting in poor attendance and lower ticket sales.
They also failed at motivating their players to perform to their best abilities. It is one thing to lose a close game, but to lose by 20-plus points because you did not show up is another. Or to lose to a team playing primarily backups because they are without two all-stars and Olympians like New York, Monday night, also proves a lack of motivation.
In any other business, if a manager cannot motivate his or her employees to reach company goals, that person is removed and someone else is brought in.
That is where the axe probably should fall, but usually it is the coach who is first to go. But the mess the front office left Corbin to deal with shows it is not just Corbin here to blame.
Until this is fixed, there will be no chance the Jazz make the playoffs.