Q&A with new Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder (Updated)
What would you say to people that have questions about your professional and personal past?
Well, I think, you know, I’ve faced some challenges in my life. Those challenges have helped me. You know, I’ve been through some adversity and that adversity has made me a better coach, and it’s made me a better person.
So, I feel like I’ve persevered through some things, and just tried to work hard, and have been fortunate to have support from a lot of good people. And you know, hopefully this is the result of a lot of that hard work.
What is your assessment of the current roster?
Well, I think there’s an excellent foundation…It’s just another positive for me on the ledger, as far as making this job such a good opportunity, is you get a chance to work with these young players and hopefully help them get better.
What will be your approach in turning around what was the league’s worst defense last year?
It really starts with habits, and we’d like to instill in our guys, you know, good habits. Secondly, there’s an emphasis that hopefully I’ll place and we’ll place as a staff, you know, on defending.
And I just think it’s hard to be good at everything right away, and that’s an area that, you know, your team can connect on the defensive end, you gotta have each other’s back. And to me, just philosophically, it’s a good place to have your emphasis as a coach and to help players understand how to help each other.
What have you taken from Gregg Popovich and Mike Krzyzewski that you can use as a head coach?
I think the ability to communicate. It sounds simple, but it really requires you as a person, as a coach, to see into individual players. You know, we’re all different. And I think to be able to adapt to those people and those players to a place where you can really connect with them.
We talked about trust earlier. You know, I think hopefully that type of communication, you know, coach Pop and coach K, from what I’ve seen, more than any X’s and O’s and other stuff that they’re great at, that would be the thing, for me, that I would take away.
What did you learn from your time with CSKA Moscow and how do you plan to incorporate foreign players into your program?
You know, the game is the same throughout the world, but it’s also a little bit different. And one of the reasons that I went to Moscow and wanted to participate as a coach in the Euroleague was to hopefully take some of that with me. And you really develop an appreciation for the game.
In the Euroleague, you play one game a week, so the level of preparation that goes into that game is much more like an NFL game, or certainly an NBA playoff game. So you’re able, as a coach, to really game-plan on a different level.
You can put a scout team in and run what the other team runs, and all kinds of creative things defensively to do. And at the same time, someone does that to you. Tactically, you know, you need to have a way to respond, whether it’s a matchup situation, which are very, very common to exploit a matchup. So those things, I think, were big.
And really, seeing international players and getting an idea of where the fit is and the respect that you develop for players overseas, and their abi–I mean, their ability to play in the NBA, you know, is great for me to see that and to continue to give me even more perspective.
What are your thoughts on the role of advanced analytics and statistics, especially with regards to coaching?
It’s part of the game that I’ve began to understand more and more. It’s something that I look forward to having the chance to learn from, from the people here in management and on the, our scouting side. There’s an advantage to be gained, and any way you can gain a competitive advantage, you wanna try to do it.
You know, you filter though, I think, not, there’s a lotta data. Some of it’s applicable. Some of it’s not. You know, I think that there’s people other than me that can do that. Hopefully, they’ll reduce it to me and help me with it, but I’m, I think it’s an important part of the game in a way to be better.
What was the interview process like with Quin?
Greg Miller: There were a couple things that really aligned with Quin and our organizational and family philosophy. For example, we focus a lot in our organization about personal growth and development of our employees.
And one of the things that came out of our research and conversation with Quin is how willing he was to spend time one-on-one helping players develop, even if that particular player may not have shown promise to ever be an NBA-level player. And so, his willingness to invest to that personal level was very important.
And then aside from that, I think it was his focus on defense. Obviously, we got a lot of work to do on the defensive side. But it’s easy, I think, for any coach who’s interviewing for a job to say, “We gotta do better on defense. We gotta be better on offense.”
But it went far beyond that [with Quin], and he said that when a team plays defense together well, it’s an indication that they trust each other. And when a team trusts each other, then amazing things can happen. Not only defensively, but of course that’s a great way to create offense. And the, that really resonated with me.
And I think, that, the only other thing I would say on defense is that he did say that he thinks defense is important enough that it’s something he wasn’t gonna delegate the responsibility for. That was gonna have his full attention. And so, it was a combination of those things and many others that really convinced me that he was the right candidate for the job.
** Dennis Lindsey on when he knew Quin was the one
We had some diligence to do yesterday. So, and there’s always a negotiation. So, we felt fairly confident–Randy [Rigby] did, Randy led the negotiation team–we felt fairly confident midday yesterday that there was a potential marriage.
** Lindsey on player development
The [player] development issue, everyone, was really central to our decision. … Our team is really young, and so to embrace that, is really key, now, in going forward.
** Lindsey on player development, some more
Richard Smith is working really hard in our player development…It was a charge and a mission that Greg put to us, that he wants to be the best in the league at that.
** Snyder, asked if he’s talked to Jerry Sloan
I have not talked to Coach Sloan. You know, like everyone, I have tremendous, tremendous respect for him, and you know, would welcome anything, any input or any part of our program that he would have an interest in [participating in].
** Snyder on the draft
I’ll have an opportunity to hopefully get updated and get to watch some tape and participate in the process.
** Snyder and his wife, Amy, arrived in Salt Lake City at 4 a.m.
** DeMarre Carroll asked Snyder to say hi to all his fans in Utah.
** No news yet on whether Snyder will coach summer league or when he will have a coaching staff in place.
** Snyder underwent a hip replacement three weeks ago and will be back and forth between Utah and Atlanta for the next few weeks.
Press Conference Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines (UDQM)
** Lindsey on summer league: Quin may be able to apply a little pressure to some of our young vets to participate in some ways as well.
** Snyder on the people he’s been fortunate enough to work with: I just keep nailing the people I’ve had the opportunity to work with.
** Greg Miller on the interview process: It was a great experience for us as a family. My mom and my brother Steve and I interviewed Quin, and the other candidates, at my house. It was 3-on-1.
** Rigby: As I looked across this group, I’ve never seen this group look so good this early in the morning. And that’s remarkable.
** Snyder on his planned first talk with players: I don’t think you can just kind of lay it all out…To me, I hope that our team will know me at least by how, by our actions, by what we do. So, I think to get a chance to meet and see, and for them to kind of get a chance to, you know, to be around me and we can start that relationship, would be good. But that, like anything, you know, takes time, and it’ll definitely happen.
** Snyder on how he rediscovered his love for the game after Missouri: When I got back in the D-League, I really began to feel what my hunch was, in that this was something I wanted to keep doing, and it really didn’t matter, you know, where I was doing it. I really liked it.
** Snyder on whether he shares Lindsey’s philosophy on analytics and metrics: I don’t have the command for it that I would like to have. Hopefully, that’ll be something, as he exposes me to that, and his staff,* that I’ll have a greater appreciation for it.
* “and his staff” … Lol.