Bits from Quin Snyder Interviews, 6/10 and 6/12
When was first contact, and how did things unfold from there?
I think it was late May. I was kind of, I think, one of the later people that they talked to. I actually just had my hip replaced, so, I’m a little young for that, but it, I was busy with that for a little while, and Dennis [Lindsey] was good enough to come to Atlanta, and we spoke there at length.
I think the majority of the meeting was just getting a feel for how the chemistry would be, you know, with the two of us working together. We talked a little bit of basketball, and a lot of the stuff was just, you know, sharing various experiences we’ve had in the game, or professionally, and that was the gist of the first interview.
And so, then I waited, hopeful that I would get an opportunity to come back and, knowing this time that if it were more serious, I’d be flying out here. And that happened, myself along with a few other candidates. And at that point, I was able to meet with the Millers, with Steve, Gail and Greg.
And we had a very, very good session, dialogue, about everything, kinda across the board. Everything from, you know, personal philosophy, philosophy on basketball, you know, you name it, I think we touched it in part.* They had some very specific questions about, you know, what we wanted to see the team do, especially about, you know, wanting me to improve on the defensive end, and talked a lot about the Jazz and their management philosophy…
So, I was riding in the car with my wife picking up our daughter from pre-school and Dennis called me. He said, you know, “Can you talk?”
And I said, you know, “Yeah.”
He said, “You, are you sure? If you want to get somewhere where it’s quiet–”
And I was like, “Absolutely not.” I’m, can you imagine waiting for that call? … And you know, at that point, he told me that I was offered the job and obviously, it didn’t take me long to accept.
* Was anyone else picturing a Bachelor/Bachelorette cocktail party during this part?
What kind of offensive system will you be implementing?
Well, I think, and especially with this team, because we’re so young, that offensively we can play a little faster. If the ball gets up and down the floor quicker, maybe we get a chance with some easy baskets, and it really sets the tone for a possession.
I’d like to see our team play with the pass, where the ball’s moving. You know, there’s times when we wanna attack off the dribble. There’s no question we’ll play a lot of pick and roll, but usually to gain an advantage. And then we’d like to see the ball move.
How do you motivate guys to play hard(er) on defense?
Well, I think, you know, the first thing is to teach ‘em certain habits, you know, because I think when you’re confused in anything, really, it’s very difficult to execute. And when you know where you’re supposed to be, and then when it becomes habitual, you can turn it up. You know, you can start moving quicker, moving faster. You begin to anticipate.
So, you know, those habits, I think, will allow us the opportunity to play hard. It’s tough to hold the guys accountable if they’re not sure where they’re supposed to be. So, that’s our job as coaches, is to teach ‘em those habits.
And then really just to, you know, you do it or you don’t play. It’s pretty simple. There’re certain things that we’re gonna call non-negotiables, that our players just gotta do.
The Jazz have lacked toughness and a defensive mindset since Jerry Sloan’s departure. Can mental and physical toughness for defense be developed in players, or do players have to have it already?
When your leaders and some of your better players are, you know, exhibit those qualities, it sets a tone for a team. But you know, I think you have to demand a certain level. …
To me, you know, being tough is being in the right place at the right time…Whatever it is in an execution situation, doing it harder, you know, longer, better, and sustaining effort, takes a lot of mental toughness.
So, it’s, you know, the Jazz with Coach Sloan for years, you know, that, I think that’s in the Jazz DNA, to have a tough, competitive team. And we wanna be competitive…Sometimes you don’t know how fast you can be until you’re pushed, so that’s kinda the direction we’re headed.
Do you feel there are things that have be undone from the previous coaching staff?
We’re starting with this group, and I have a good idea of how we wanna play. And you know, I just wanna move forward and do what we can do right now.
You said at the press conference, “I love developing young players.” Why do you have so much success in this area, and why do you enjoy it so much?
Well, I think part of it is, you know, in order for guys to get better, they gotta trust you, and being able to, you know, to try and connect and really, a lot of it has to do with your staff too. To see people get better, and you know, the people that have helped me get better, you know, just, it’s gratifying to see people improve.
And one of the key things about development that people kinda lose sight of is, development really isn’t just an individual thing. I mean, sometimes we call it development and we think of it as, like, one-on-one or two-on-two, but what we wanna develop here is a way of playing five-on-five.
You know, the culture of our team, you know, having an identity. And those are types of a development as well, that, you know, maybe we don’t think of in a typical definition, but it, to me, it’s really about building a team.
And anytime you get an opportunity to build a team and to be a part of something, you know, that transcends us as individuals, it’s a pretty neat thing, to be able to be a part of a group like that and hopefully accomplish something special.
What separates Gregg Popovich or the best coaches from great coaches?
I think it gets down to kind of intangible things, and there’s a lotta guys out there that are, you know, great tacticians and very, very good coaches. I think, you know, those guys that really transcend have the ability, you know, to build.
And each year, their team’s a little different, and to get the guys on the team to buy into something that’s bigger than all of them. ‘Cause it’s a game that, you know, you’re rewarded for individual stats, for success in that way.
And for guys, it happens a lot when you see guys later in their career. Then they’re able to say “I wanna win a championship.” But to have that happen consistently with a team is, I think, very, very difficult to do.
What was your experience with CSKA Moscow like?
It was a great experience, you know, to, one of the best things about it, you know, we played in the Russian League. So you know, whether it’s Vladivostok, which is right above Korea, or Siberia, I’ve seen some places in the world that make you appreciate being in Salt Lake City or Atlanta.
But we traveled quite a bit in the Euroleague, and got to play against some high-power teams, whether Real Madrid, Barcelona, Milano. As our coach there, Ettore Messina used to say, it, he was great, and just the general experience.
I think Euro–the game slows down a little bit, you know, if you have one Euroleague game a week. I mean, you think about preparing for one game a week. I mean, you can do everything from a scout team, you can think about matchups more. It makes it a more tactical game, and the game’s only 40 minutes.
So there’s some, I always thought the European game is a little bit more like the NBA playoffs, in that you really end up to the point where you know teams very, very well. And you know, from that standpoint, I feel like it was a great experience and I really learned a ton. (KALL, 1320, Jim Rome)