Will Hardy's message to his player doesn't match his coaching decisions

Will Hardy is saying one thing but doing another when it comes to his players.
Boston Celtics v Utah Jazz
Boston Celtics v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

Will Hardy has not had the best outing this season as the coach of the Utah Jazz. While he got a lot of praise for what he was able to do in 2022-2023 with the likes of Lauri Markkanen, as well as the record they were able to produce prior to that season's trade deadline, he hasn't received the same praise this season. Sure, he had a strong run to start things, and had it not been for some key trades, the Jazz would likely be in playoff contention still.

Yet, the departure of three of the better defenders has sunk the Jazz into a freefall that the time isn't likely to pull out of this season. That's not entirely on him, yet, prior to the trade deadline, a lot of the moves being made by Hardy were being criticized. Examples of guys playing too much, too little, taking too many shots, taking too few shots, poor defensive outings by the same players, and lineups with no chemistry were constantly a point of contention.

He sat on his hands for weeks while guys like Jordan Clarkson and Talen-Horton Tucker stunk up the place as starters. Despite Clarkson being objectively bad this season, he still gets massive minutes. Walker Kessler is constantly showing off when given a chance but often sees himself benched and playing a handful of minutes.

Guys who can help the team win are being downplayed, and while some will say that the team is tanking now, so what would we expect, this wasn't new. Dunn hardly got minutes to start the season. The inconsistency of Hardy's second season has long been a problem and now it seems like he's trying to change the culture of the team, but potentially too late.

Speaking at a recent press conference (via Sports Illustrated), Hardy went off on his players, saying;

“Stats don't mean s***. I don't care about your individual stats. I don't care how many points you score. I don't care what you post on Instagram. … I've said this before, and I'll say it again. There will not be free minutes in this program.”

But there are. Clarkson, John Collins, Horton-Tucker, Keyonte George, and numerous other names have struggled to play winning basketball under Hardy. While it makes sense that George is getting reps now, with the team tanking and no longer caring about winning basketball, the negative traits this team has had all season are not new.

Hardy's allowed this type of thing to go on all season and even all last season. It's rather pointless to kick and scream about players chasing stats now when that's all they have to be playing for. Hardy should turn his venom to Danny Ainge and Justin Zanik if he's mad about the state of the team because those two are at fault.

Hardy has allowed stat-chasing all season, to the detriment of the team, and he didn't seem to mind this much when guys were jacking up bad shots before. Personally, if Hardy wants to redeem himself in the eyes of some, start benching players.

Sit Collins, Clarkson, heck Collin Sexton too if he's part of the problem (and by his apparent benching he may be). Send a message about who's in charge. Maybe then players won't just pull up and take a poor shot without engaging with the offense first.