The morning of the NBA trade deadline, the Utah Jazz held a five game lead over the Los Angeles Lakers and were comfortably in the seventh seed in the West. Now almost a month later, the Jazz are on the outside of the top eight seeds looking in and appear to be falling further away from qualifying for the postseason.
The Jazz were 31-24 a month ago but won only three of their last 14 games, dropping them below .500 for the first time since January 2nd, when they were 16-16. A number of factors have contributed to the Jazz’s collapse; lack of a true star, a roster with eight pending free agents, and of course the Lakers’ improved play has played a role in the standings, but the Jazz are to blame the most for their current position.
There is only so much head coach Ty Corbin can do with a roster that has seemed to give up. Sure, making the playoffs would typically be a motivator in itself, but with eight players thinking more about where they may or may not be playing the following season, Corbin is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
As the losses continue to mount up for the Jazz — and they will, given their tough remaining schedule — Corbin should play the young players on the roster more to evaluate what he has going forward. The Jazz are going to miss the playoff, so Corbin can get a head start on the 2013-2014 season and find out if the youth on the team is good enough to build a new roster around.