Salt City Hoops » Coaching http://saltcityhoops.com The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:09:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Salt City Hoops no The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Salt City Hoops » Coaching http://saltcityhoops.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://saltcityhoops.com/category/coaching/ Coach Quin Snyder: Communication and Development http://saltcityhoops.com/coach-quin-snyder-communication-and-development/ http://saltcityhoops.com/coach-quin-snyder-communication-and-development/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 20:32:19 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12598 Author information
Laura Thompson
Laura Thompson
I grew up in California, but have been a Jazz fan pretty much since I was in diapers; I went to Karl Malone's basketball camp when I was 11 and I flew up to Utah in 1997 to go to Game 3 of the Finals. After graduating from BYU in 2008, I moved back to California to work in Marketing and have been doing that for the last five years. My favorite things in life are the Utah Jazz, basketball, food (whether cooking or consumption of), reading, church, black Labs, and the beach (though hopefully not in that order).
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QS

Elsa/Getty Images

Listening to this recent interview with Quin Snyder, I came away so impressed with a few things:

  • He’s incredibly articulate. You’d expect that from someone with a J.D./M.B.A., but it’s still wonderfully refreshing to listen to him in an interview. He gives insightful answers to questions, and gives more details and specifics than I’m used to hearing from a coach.
  • He’s put a lot of thought into coaching. Any coach who writes pages upon pages about pick-and-roll defense is something who has spent a lot of time analyzing all possible angles of a play, literally and figuratively.
  • You can tell he places a lot of value on communication and interpersonal relationships. From Gordon Hayward discussing his chats with Coach Q (having nothing to do with basketball, but everything to do with Gordon as a person and his life), to DeMarre Carroll talking about Snyder’s interest in his game’s improvement, and how Snyder was the first coach to really help him develop specific aspects of his game.
  • Development. This is something Jazz fans have been hearing about for years, but it feels like Snyder is a coach who will practice what he preaches. He talked about how, with no disrespect to the college, the NBA game agrees with him a bit more, and part of that is that, if you draft a player, you have him for at least 4-5 years, and potentially longer if offer sheets are matched when the player’s restricted.

I want to especially focus on the last two points: communication, interpersonal relationships, and trust; and development.

Communication, interpersonal relationships, and trust

Snyder was asked, “How do you get guys to trust?” He responded by saying, in part, that it’s going to require faith on the players’ part. He’s going to ask for an opportunity, he’s going to be real, and he’s going to show them who he is. “I think the biggest thing is to try not to force it.” It takes a lot of inner security and confidence within oneself to say that–and mean it.

Where he really impressed me is by saying, “Then it’s up to you, the things you’re going to say and coach them with integrity. And if you make a mistake–and you will–‘Hey, I was wrong.'”

That humility and that willingness to own up to mistakes can be a powerful motivator for the players and can show them how serious Snyder is about developing a relationship of trust with each of the players. Any time someone genuinely apologizes to you for an error on his or her part, it can’t help but provide an opportunity for the relationship to grow stronger or deepen.

Ever since his hire, Snyder has discussed how much coaching is about teaching and how you have to really love teaching in order to be an effective coach.

Development

I’m a bit of a nerd, so I love definitions. Here are some of the Dictionary.com definitions for “develop”:

1.to bring out the capabilities or possibilities of; bring to a more advanced or effective state: to develop natural resources; to develop one’s musical talent.

2. to cause to grow or expand: to develop one’s muscles.

One of the frustrations many Jazz fans have had over the last few years is that we never really got to know exactly what we have in the Core 4 of Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors, and Alec Burks. Whether sporadic playing time, being asked to play a different position, being shuffled in between the starting lineup and coming off the bench, or being stuck behind a veteran a couple years shy of retirement (and a couple years past effectiveness?), we still don’t know what we have.

Enter Snyder. Ideally, given all his talk about love of player development (and DeMarre Carroll’s discussion of Snyder’s effect ON his development), we’ll begin to see the current roster shaped to a more advanced or effective state. We’ll see the capabilities of the players more than we saw before.

Will we see examples those definitions above? Will we see Enes Kanter given the green light–and will he have the range–to shoot threes? Will Alec Burks be more creative on offense–while still working within an offense? Will Gordon Hayward find the offensive load more balanced and spread among teammates so he can be the jack-of-all-trades player at which he excels? Will Derrick Favors be able to develop more of a two-way game, and perhaps a go-to move?

So, Jazz fans, are you feeling a difference in discussion from Quin Snyder? What do you think will be his forte?

Author information

Laura Thompson
Laura Thompson
I grew up in California, but have been a Jazz fan pretty much since I was in diapers; I went to Karl Malone's basketball camp when I was 11 and I flew up to Utah in 1997 to go to Game 3 of the Finals. After graduating from BYU in 2008, I moved back to California to work in Marketing and have been doing that for the last five years. My favorite things in life are the Utah Jazz, basketball, food (whether cooking or consumption of), reading, church, black Labs, and the beach (though hopefully not in that order).
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Creative Off-Court Ideas for a Creative Coach http://saltcityhoops.com/creative-off-court-ideas-for-a-creative-coach/ http://saltcityhoops.com/creative-off-court-ideas-for-a-creative-coach/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 13:47:05 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12442 Author information
Laura Thompson
Laura Thompson
I grew up in California, but have been a Jazz fan pretty much since I was in diapers; I went to Karl Malone's basketball camp when I was 11 and I flew up to Utah in 1997 to go to Game 3 of the Finals. After graduating from BYU in 2008, I moved back to California to work in Marketing and have been doing that for the last five years. My favorite things in life are the Utah Jazz, basketball, food (whether cooking or consumption of), reading, church, black Labs, and the beach (though hopefully not in that order).
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Quin Snyder - Getty Images

We’ve been hearing really great things about Quin Snyder over the past couple of months. Everything from how he was the first coach to work with DeMarre Carroll on footwork, to his intelligence level from Paul Millsap, and how much he cared about the person, not just the player, from Gordon Hayward’s blog. This is what, in particular, has really stood out to me about how Snyder has been engaging the players so far. From Hayward’s blog:

I didn’t know much about our new coach, Quin Snyder, before he was hired. I’d seen him on benches before. I knew he had the reputation of being very tough, but also a player’s coach. And from what I’d heard, he is a really good X and O guy.

I talked to him right after I signed, and it was a really great conversation. We didn’t even talk basketball. He’d heard that I just recently got married, so we talked about the wedding, and things like that.

That really struck me. He seems like someone that players can relate to. It’s comforting when you can meet someone who you’re going to work with, and they know that it’s not all about basketball, and instead just chat with you about life. It helps to strengthen that relationship.

We’ve been hearing about how he has studied the pick-and-roll—and pick-and-roll defense—in depth, writing long reports on the topic. We’ve been hearing about how he’s got all sorts of ideas and an intense passion for coaching and teaching. How he’s open to trying different things and loves to be creative and innovative.

So what other creative ideas could Quin Snyder implement that might make things interesting and could provide better results? I’ve got a few ideas picked up from other teams (and one from a Jazz legend):

1. Diet. There was a fascinating article by Ken Berger at CBS Sports last year on the (brace yourselves) Lakers and their dietary changes. Having spent the last 18 years of my life firmly entrenched in health and nutrition, the article was incredibly interesting to me. Especially the part about how drastically they had to change Dwight Howard’s diet.

When [Cate] Shanahan was introduced to Howard last season, the All-Star center was having a miserable season with the Lakers and going down a terrible path with his diet. Shanahan couldn’t have found a more high-profile test case for her beliefs. If food can improve or damage your genetic code, as her research had shown, then why couldn’t it have the same impact on athletic performance?

“If you don’t feel better in two weeks,” Shanahan told Howard, “then I don’t know what I’m talking about and I’ll quit.”

With Howard, the intervention began where it does with most athletes (and non-athletes, for that matter) who need to change their diets. It began with sugar. It turned out that Howard was consuming the equivalent of 24 Hershey bars a day in the form of candy and soda — not to mention the additional sugar his body was making out of all the empty starches he was eating.

Howard was struggling to return to form after back surgery the previous spring, and was wrestling with the enormous pressure of whether to re-sign with the Lakers as a free agent. Cate Shanahan believed his performance and recovery were being seriously compromised by his poor diet. She saw the telltale signs of sugar addiction — spikes in energy followed by crashes and erratic motor skills that were indicative of nerves misfiring.

We’ve heard stories about how Deron Williams, for example, changed his diet after college and before starting in the NBA. Many NBA players hire chefs to help them out. But if they’ve continually eaten a steady diet of candy, soda, and other junk food while being able to maintain a pretty high level of performance, it makes sense that they wouldn’t have the desire or motivation to change dietary habits. But what if a chance in diet can give them better motor skills or help them recover from injuries more quickly? Some Lakers felt a difference in recovery and soreness after changing their diet.

Nash believes the infusion of healthy fats and oils helped him recover from a broken leg last season, and he’s holding out hope for any edge he can find as he tries to overcome residual nerve damage from that injury this season. Other players report that their joints aren’t as sore and their muscle recovery is better, like Steve Blake, who says his knees haven’t felt this good since he played for the University of Maryland.

“If you really stick to it, it really makes a difference,” Blake said. “Everything they’re telling us, one, it makes sense, and two, [Shanahan] has science to back it up.”

Maybe the Jazz could find an equivalent of a Cate Shanahan or a Grass-Fed Tim (the nickname affectionately given to the Lakers trainer who is Shanahan’s partner in crime) in order to help Jazz players improve their diets and–hopefully–their performance.

2. Sleep Patterns. The Oregonian discussed Nate McMillan’s implementation of a unique schedule after consulting with the head of the Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine, Dr. Charles Czeisler, aka The Sleep Doctor. The article is very intriguing and it must have been quite an adjustment for Nate McMillan to tell his players to stay out late and to start practices at 10pm. But considering the results they saw on east-to-west road trips, you can understand why they were thrilled with the changes. 

And although he has never made a basket, or set any screens, many on the team feel The Sleep Doctor has played a major factor in the Blazers’ drastically improved play on the road this season.

“I think it has done wonders for our team,” Brandon Roy said.

After going 7-14 last season in games played two or more time zones away, the Blazers are 7-2 this season heading into this week’s four-game trip that starts Monday in Chicago and continues through Philadelphia, New Jersey and Charlotte.

“Sleep can provide a tactical advantage, and it is largely unrecognized in sports,” Czeisler said.

With 450 of the best players in the world playing in the NBA, you need every advantage you can get. And if adjusting sleep patterns helps, why not try it?

3. Consider alternative medicine. This might be an unpopular suggestion, but I watched a DVD recently in which John Stockton was interviewed, discussing his experience with chiropractic medicine. At one point, this was up on my screen (yes, I took a picture from my phone because I found it so interesting):

chiro

Maybe the Jazz have a chiropractor on staff. I don’t know. But if they don’t have one on staff, maybe one–or an acupuncturist, a nutritionist, etc.–would be helpful to help give the players an additional advantage. The Jazz started a league-wide trend in utilizing P3 for as many of their players as were interested. Why not see what else that’s out there might be helpful?

Author information

Laura Thompson
Laura Thompson
I grew up in California, but have been a Jazz fan pretty much since I was in diapers; I went to Karl Malone's basketball camp when I was 11 and I flew up to Utah in 1997 to go to Game 3 of the Finals. After graduating from BYU in 2008, I moved back to California to work in Marketing and have been doing that for the last five years. My favorite things in life are the Utah Jazz, basketball, food (whether cooking or consumption of), reading, church, black Labs, and the beach (though hopefully not in that order).
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Water Cooler Conversations: Quin Snyder http://saltcityhoops.com/water-cooler-conversations-quin-snyder/ http://saltcityhoops.com/water-cooler-conversations-quin-snyder/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 18:35:30 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=11887 Author information
Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson is a professional author, writing educator, and editor. In addition to his writing center work at Salt Lake Community College, he designed, coordinates, and teaches in an experimental author residency program for a West Valley City public charter school. A frequent presenter at both writing and educational conferences, he writes about the Jazz as a break from his other writing work.
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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Water Cooler Conversations are glimpses inside Salt City Hoops. These are posted dialogues between staff members and contributors that share what we’re saying among ourselves about Jazz-related topics. The conversation this time: Ben Dowsett and Clint Johnson talk Quin Snyder’s hiring as new head coach of the Jazz.

Clint: Yes!

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!

Obviously, I’m happy. In fact, I’ve daydreamed about Quin Snyder as head coach of the Jazz since last summer. I heard his name mentioned as a possible head coaching candidate for some other job and I thought to myself, “Wow, haven’t heard that name in a long time. I didn’t even know he was still coaching. He was pretty good.”

“Pretty good” kept getting better as I learned more about him, both refreshing what I knew about his Missouri days and filling in the gaps since. There is a ton I like about Snyder, and even more I like about Snyder for the Jazz. But for me, the key selling points come down to two things: teaching and creativity.

I think the central objective of a head coach is to ensure that you maximize the effectiveness of your most important resource – players. The modern NBA is like a giant piggy bank for potential. Too often, teams hoard raw, under-instructed talent and expect it to develop through survival of the fittest. A sadly small fraction of that talent actually approaches anything close to its ceiling. This Jazz team in particular desperately needs development, including individual skill development. That’s Snyder’s calling card.

Also, I much prefer a coach with the creativity and adaptability to proactively adjust to gain advantage. Tyrone Corbin was a traditionalist who believed you make the other guys adapt to you. Snyder coached as both an assistant and head coach in the NCAA, as a head coach in the D-League, and as an assistant for three NBA teams, and then decided to see if he could pick up a few more tricks by barnstorming across Siberia with CSKA Moscow. He’s got to have a huge bag of tactical tricks, and I can’t wait to see them employed on the court.

Ben: This sort of creativity is my initial favorite thing about Snyder from a coaching perspective, as those who follow my X’s and O’s preferences closely will know I just love counters and keeping the opponent off-balance. A look at some video from his time with Missouri and later the Austin Toros in the D-League is encouraging in this area, in particular the simple fact that Snyder’s two teams did very different things from each other, a positive sign that he’s an adaptable coach capable of fitting his scheme to personnel. I especially enjoyed some of the defensive tweaks he employed in both head coaching positions, little situational caveats he puts in place for a particular game, matchup, or even possession. Here’s one such tweak; Snyder’s teams in the past have typically played a very conservative, stay-at-home defensive style (one I expect we’ll see more of with the Jazz, as it fits their personnel best for now), but when they do give a little help in the low post, watch the unorthodox place it comes from:

Rather than having the wing defender guarding the entry passer help off his man briefly, as most coaches would for a basic help show in the low post, Snyder has his top-of-the-key wing defender drop down to cut off the middle of the floor. The side wing defender does sag down a little, but is in quick recovery position. Meanwhile, because opponent Oklahoma’s spacing is bad and their weak-side man isn’t a shooting threat, sending the high man down to help carries very little risk as the other high wing defender can block off both shooting options:

 

This particular play resulted in a questionable touch foul, but more often than not such advantageous positioning will lead to a win for the defense. Snyder’s playbook is full of these sort of unorthodox little tweaks, and to my eye he will pull them out for a variety of reasons, be it an individual matchup he wants to exploit or something more vague like the spacing he prefers to push the offense towards. On the NBA level, with smarter and more coordinated athletes, I see him quickly instituting these sorts of heady counters that will keep the opponent guessing.

Having followed Snyder far longer and more intently than myself, what can you tell me about his success with player development over the years?

Clint: The most important thing about Snyder’s history of development is its consistency.

Mike Krzyzewski was always profuse in his praise for Snyder’s teaching ability while an assistant at Duke. Then, in his first job as a head coach, Snyder took a team that had made one NCAA Tournament in the last four seasons, the worst stretch for Missouri since 1975, and promptly took them to four straight tournament appearances. He didn’t only produce team success either. The last twenty-one NBA drafts have seen only four Missouri players drafted in the first round. Three of those – Keyon Dooling, Kareem Rush, and Linas Kleiza – were products of Snyder’s seven-year reign in Missouri.

The record only strengthens in his time with the Toros in the Development League. From 2007 to 2010, Snyder won more games and boosted more players up into the NBA than any other coach in the D-League.  Players who benefited from his instruction include NBA contributors Ian Mahinmi, Alonzo Gee, and more. It was his teaching that brought him back to the NBA. Doug Collins – respected around the league for his ability to teach the game – brought Snyder in as a player development coach for the Sixers, one element which led to more stops on his eventual rise to the top spot on Utah’s bench.

But the most encouraging sign of all to me is DeMarre Carroll’s public endorsement of Snyder’s one-on-one teaching. In his exit interview with the Hawks, Carroll admitted Snyder was the first coach to devote substantial time to helping him with details of his game, such as footwork and shooting mechanics. Consider that Carroll played under the coaching regimes of Lionel Hollins, Rick Adelman, George Karl, and Tyrone Corbin (with Jeff Hornacek as an assistant coach). There are a lot of good coaches there, but Carroll never received that individual instruction until Snyder’s single season with the Hawks.

Now, word is Brad Jones and Alex Jensen – both praised by the Jazz for their teaching and development ability – are likely to earn places on Snyder’s staff. Marc Stein of ESPN even reported Snyder is trying to pry Chip Engelland away from the Spurs. You know, Engelland, the shooting coach widely credited with fixing the shots of Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard? Yeah.

Snyder’s whole career is marked by effective teaching of the game. From what we’re hearing about how he’s building his staff, that won’t change at all now that the Jazz are his to mold. Thank heavens.

Ben: There’s no question that his two previous head coaching destinations saw major improvements during his tenures, both to the overall on-court product and the individual players themselves. SCH editor Andy Larsen and I talked to one of such players, Luke Bonner (younger brother of Spurs forward Matt Bonner), on Thursday’s podcast, and he was about as complimentary of a coach as you’ll ever see from a former player. He had previously told Andy that Snyder was “the best coach I’ve ever played for”, and backed up that statement with some really eye-opening anecdotes from his brief time under Snyder in Austin. Luke told us how, despite being the 10th man in the rotation, he would frequently be taken aside by Snyder for video review or work on some part of his game. He noted how, despite a sometimes-ridiculous D-League travel schedule that would have them on buses at 5 AM regularly, the coaching staff always seemed to be huddled together or with players, talking basketball and working on how to improve. True dedication, and there appears no doubt it was instilled from the top down.

The potential addition of Engelland to his staff is tantalizing, and would give the Jazz a true powerhouse coaching staff as far as player development goes. He would also further assist with Snyder’s stated goal of introducing more pace and Spurs-ian movement into Utah’s offensive game, and his masterful touch as a shooting coach could be a godsend for some of the Jazz’s developing young players. I expect to see lots more creativity from the Jazz on both ends next season – likely more diversionary actions before intended sets to confuse defenses (known as “fluff’, as Zach Lowe pointed out in a Grantland piece last week), more hand-offs and cuts designed to give wings like Hayward and Burks the ball with momentum to the hoop, and a general increase in the all-around activity level of a Jazz team that was badly lacking in pace and tempo last year.

This sort of thing likely happens nearly every time a franchise makes a regime change, but I can honestly say that the fan side of me is very excited to see what Quin Snyder and his staff can bring to the table. Every angle I can find tells me he’s energetic, caring and loyal towards his players, remarkably intelligent, and most of all highly adaptable and creative. He comes with an elite pedigree and recommendations from some of the most well-respected names in all of basketball, on more than one level. Like you, Clint, I simply can’t wait to see what he can do with this young team that’s now his to mold.

Clint: I’m as big a fan of this hire as there is, but that doesn’t mean I’m unrealistic. I’m under no delusion that Quin Snyder is a better head coach than Jeff Van Gundy or some others of Jazz fans’ most dreamed of candidates. Nor am I ignorant of his checkered past. I also have my questions and reservations about his possible coaching weaknesses, or “blindspots” as Snyder named them in his introductory press conference.

Will his guys work as diligently on defense as offense? Will he focus so much on scheme that simple execution sometimes suffers, as sometimes happened at Missouri? At 47 and without previous head coaching experience at this level, can he establish both authority over and trust from his players? Can he assemble a potent stable of assistant coaches without feeling threatened by them?

There is no such thing as a perfect hire, and this isn’t the exception that proves the rule. But the Jazz are at a point of foundational change, and change can be frightening. They could have retreated to the safety of the known quantity, of the “safe” choice. Instead, they reached for a coach with genuinely transformative potential, and of the options in this riskier direction, I believe Snyder is a clear best option.

I think he’s really good, and I think he can be great. I’m so excited to see him work to prove it.

Author information

Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson is a professional author, writing educator, and editor. In addition to his writing center work at Salt Lake Community College, he designed, coordinates, and teaches in an experimental author residency program for a West Valley City public charter school. A frequent presenter at both writing and educational conferences, he writes about the Jazz as a break from his other writing work.
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3 Things to Look Forward to in the Quin Snyder Era http://saltcityhoops.com/3-things-to-look-forward-to-in-the-quin-snyder-era/ http://saltcityhoops.com/3-things-to-look-forward-to-in-the-quin-snyder-era/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 20:22:37 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=11851 Author information
Laura Thompson
Laura Thompson
I grew up in California, but have been a Jazz fan pretty much since I was in diapers; I went to Karl Malone's basketball camp when I was 11 and I flew up to Utah in 1997 to go to Game 3 of the Finals. After graduating from BYU in 2008, I moved back to California to work in Marketing and have been doing that for the last five years. My favorite things in life are the Utah Jazz, basketball, food (whether cooking or consumption of), reading, church, black Labs, and the beach (though hopefully not in that order).
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Elsa - Getty Images

Elsa – Getty Images

I don’t know about you, but I’m still on a bit of a high following the news and press conference about Quin Snyder’s hiring. Obviously, proof will be in the pudding as to whether or not he’s a good coach–or maybe even a great coach–but just the possibility that we might have a great coach on our hands has injected a jolt of energy into my Jazz fandom. In an area where I had become increasingly apathetic, I’m now eagerly anticipating what changes we’ll be seeing over the next few years. There’s a part of me that wants to be cautiously optimistic; after all, I was thrilled when Tyrone Corbin was hired and talked about changing the defensive scheme, putting a lot of focus on defense, and utilizing the three more. Those were changes I’d been wanting for years and felt were needed given where rules changes–and other teams’ implementation of schemes in response to those changes–were taking the league. But we saw where our defense ended up last year, even though we had some decent defenders, including a very good Derrick Favors.

So, what better way to counteract that lethargy than with a coach who is incredibly driven, very detail-oriented (how many pages was the document he wrote on the pick-and-roll, again?), refreshingly articulate, and has spent time developing comprehensive game plans?

I’m finding this change to be invigorating. So, what are some things to look forward to with Snyder? And, just to play devil’s advocate a bit, what are some things that have me cringing a bit?

1. Better Player Development

One of the main complaints I’ve heard from Jazz fans over the last few years is the lack of player development. That doesn’t always equal “not enough minutes!” though that can play a part of it. Considering some of the talent on the team, I’ve heard many say that they should be farther along than they are. Obviously, that’s impossible to measure, but it’s been bandied about for a few years now. What if we could get more out of our young talent than we have been? Look at the example of DeMarre Carroll, who was a decent role player off the bench for the Jazz. But in Atlanta, he turned into a legitimate starter (yes, it’s the Eastern Conference, but still!). In a blurb that has been circulating ever since the announcement of Snyder’s hiring, Carroll praised his assistant coach, giving credit for his improvement as a player.

“I have to give a shoutout to coach Quin [Snyder]. This is the first year a coach really worked with me on my footwork, my shot, spent time with me. That’s a credit to coach Quin. That shows me that he cares about me as a person, cares about my career.”

If our players can improve similarly, and feel more confident in what they can do out on the court, that’ll be huge.

2. Better Floor Spacing

Far too often last year (and also in the previous years), floor spacing was poor. Part of that may have been influenced by personnel–not enough floor-spacing shooters out on the floor–but much of it seemed to be a lack of a cohesive, precise offensive scheme that balanced the floor well. Snyder received great tutelage under Ettore Messina (known particularly for balanced floor spacing) and Mike Budenhoelzer (of the Popovich, floor-spacing coaching tree). Atlanta ran some beautiful plays last year, in addition to having much better spacing than the Jazz. Part of the better spacing involved giving some guys the green light who may not have had it in previous stints, like Paul Millsap. He became a legitimate three-point threat in Atlanta. We saw glimpses of it, obviously; what Jazz fan could forget the Miracle in Miami? But giving your starting power forward the green light to launch it from deep can only help spacing. Derrick Favors may not have that range, but we know Enes Kanter does; he just hasn’t been given the green light to shoot it from there. But given the right coaching and encouragement, he could get there.

3. Better Pick-and-Roll Implementation

Not too much needs to be said about this that hasn’t already been discussed ad nauseum, given Snyder’s study and discussion about the pick-and-roll in all its forms. But anyone who has spent that much time analyzing and strategizing the pick-and-roll can only help a team that is seemingly in its infancy when it comes to how it uses the pick-and-roll. It was used more, and differently, last year than it had been in the previous few years, but any improvement here will be huge, given how the league has very much become a pick-and-roll league. This is one of the areas I’m really looking forward to watching develop.

 

So, what are some things I’m not looking forward to?

The Hair Hype

I’m already tired of the hair comments. Anyone else? I feel like all the non-stop hair comments are coming from gentlemen who are maybe losing–or who have lost–hair. I realize I don’t represent the entire female population, but I don’t quite get all the fuss. He’s a handsome guy, to be sure, but the level of hair hype has surprised me. Just me? Okay, moving on . . .

JD/MBA = Harpring/Football equivalent?

I’m not bashing on Snyder’s having a JD/MBA at all; I’m just wondering if it’s going to become the equivalent of Matt Harpring playing football. Is it going to be brought up on every broadcast, like, “Hey, did you know Matt Harpring played football? He’s one tough dude.” Since the announcers can’t talk about that anymore (well, unless Harpring’s going to talk about his own football-playing days, but that’s just weird), will it become, “Hey, did you know Snyder got his JD/MBA? Only coach in professional basketball to do so.”

Defense ?

I haven’t yet heard much about Snyder’s defensive philosophies, other than his belief that trust between teammates is paramount to having an effective defense. While not dismissing that out of hand, what will he do to improve our league-worst defense? Who will he put where? Will Favors be a PF? A center? How will he implement his knowledge of pick-and-roll offense to aid pick-and-roll defense? There are so many question marks and I think it’s one of the most crucial areas for this team’s development moving forward.

Overall, I’m finding a lot more to look forward to than to be hesitant about. What about you, Jazz fans? What are you looking forward to? Are you tired of the hair talk? Just me? Okay.

Author information

Laura Thompson
Laura Thompson
I grew up in California, but have been a Jazz fan pretty much since I was in diapers; I went to Karl Malone's basketball camp when I was 11 and I flew up to Utah in 1997 to go to Game 3 of the Finals. After graduating from BYU in 2008, I moved back to California to work in Marketing and have been doing that for the last five years. My favorite things in life are the Utah Jazz, basketball, food (whether cooking or consumption of), reading, church, black Labs, and the beach (though hopefully not in that order).
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Coaching Profile: Quin Snyder http://saltcityhoops.com/coaching-profile-quin-snyder/ http://saltcityhoops.com/coaching-profile-quin-snyder/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2014 21:30:36 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=11783 Author information
Denim Millward
Denim Millward
Denim Millward, before SCH, wrote for Bleacher Report about the Jazz and the NBA. Despite this, he is actually a good writer, and we promise we will eschew the slideshow format on this site. He also contributes to The Color Commentator Magazine, and strangely, likes wrestling.
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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The “Qualifications” section of Quin Snyder’s coaching resume is a mightily impressive one.  Juris Doctor and MBA Degrees, playing and coaching under legendary Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and coaching in the NCAA, NBA and D-League are just some of Snyder’s accomplishments that, on paper, make him look like an ideal candidate for an NBA head coaching job.

His previous head coaching results?  Maybe not quite as much.

Despite a diverse and largely successful 22-year coaching career, Snyder is best known for his run as head coach of the Missouri Tigers men’s basketball squad that, following periods of success, ended somewhat controversially.  Although some consider his final years at and exit from Mizzou a black mark on his resume, Snyder finds himself on the short list of head coaching candidates for the Utah Jazz, according to a report from Deseret News.

Snyder’s coaching career actually began at the NBA level.  After a successful collegiate playing career under Krzyzewski at Duke and in the midst of working on his MBA, Snyder was assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers under Larry Brown.  After his brief NBA foray in Tinseltown, Snyder headed back to Durham, North Carolina and demonstrated impressive multitasking skills by serving as an administrative assistant under Coach K while completing both his MBA and Juris Doctor degrees.  Upon completion of said degrees in 1995, Snyder became a full-time assistant coach for the Blue Devils, and was promoted to associate head coach in 1997. In 1999, Snyder was tabbed to replace coaching legend Norm Stewart as Missouri head coach.  Snyder hit the ground running, significantly overachieving in his inaugural season despite what was thought of as an undermanned roster comprised primarily of Stewart’s recruits.  Snyder’s success continued in succeeding years, highlighted by four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances including an Elite Eight run in 2002.

Snyder’s popularity in Columbia hit a snag when an NCAA investigation into the program revealed multiple incidents of misconduct.  As Snyder’s image declined, so too did the success of the Missouri program.  Though all improprieties uncovered by the investigation were deemed minor, Snyder decided to resign in 2006.  In 2007, Snyder tried his hand at coaching in the D-League, taking over the Austin Toros.  Though he never won a D-League championship in his three-year stay in Austin, Snyder won more and saw more players from his squad get called up than any other coach in the league.  After spending single seasons as an assistant coach in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, this time for the Lakers, Snyder was hired as head assistant coach for CSKA Moscow for the 2012-13 season under Ettore Messina, coincidentally another name loosely tied to the Utah Jazz head coaching job.

Snyder returned to the NBA last season and served as an assistant coach on Mike Budenholzer’s staff for the Atlanta Hawks.  While it’s difficult to measure the impact, positive or negative, that an assistant coach has on a team, former Jazz forward and current Atlanta Hawk DeMarre Carroll gave Snyder a glowing review. “I have to give a shout out to Coach Quin,” Carroll said in an exit interview.  “This is the first year a coach really worked with me on my footwork, my shot, spent time with me. That’s a credit to coach Quin. That shows me that he cares about me as a person, cares about my career.”  

Offensively, Snyder seems to be somewhat of an expert in a variety of areas.  Snyder is an expert at pick-and-roll offenses, as a 2009 FIBA Assist article co-authored by Snyder that discusses nearly every facet of pick-and-roll basketball can attest.  Snyder also created a DVD/video based around his intricate motion offense that was also chock-full of very intricate and very specific details on motion principles, philosophies, rules, drills and myriad other facets of the offense.  With a detail-oriented and cerebral coach like Snyder, previous offensive sets and philosophies may not be a surefire indicator of what Jazz fans could expect Snyder to run in Utah should he land the job.

In several interviews and publications, Snyder has demonstrated a high level of basketball comprehension and effective communication.  It should come as little or no surprise that Snyder has evidently impressed Jazz brass enough in interviews to land on the short list of coaching candidates.  However, it’s unlikely that his inauspicious exit at Missouri will not loom large over the prospect of hiring him.  Are high-level credentials, diverse experience and in-depth offensive knowledge enough to outweigh perceived failure, especially at a lower level of competition than the NBA?

That’s for Dennis Lindsey and Co. to decide.

Author information

Denim Millward
Denim Millward
Denim Millward, before SCH, wrote for Bleacher Report about the Jazz and the NBA. Despite this, he is actually a good writer, and we promise we will eschew the slideshow format on this site. He also contributes to The Color Commentator Magazine, and strangely, likes wrestling.
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Coaching Profile: Lionel Hollins http://saltcityhoops.com/coaching-profile-lionel-hollins/ http://saltcityhoops.com/coaching-profile-lionel-hollins/#comments Fri, 30 May 2014 20:44:18 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=11731 Author information
Dan Clayton
Dan Clayton
Dan covered Utah Jazz basketball for more than 10 years, including as a radio analyst for the team’s Spanish-language broadcasts from 2010 to 2014. He now lives and works in New York City where his hobbies include complaining about League Pass, finding good doughnut shops and dishing out assists for the Thoreau It Down team in the Word Bookstore basketball league.
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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Hollins’ head coaching history is unique, to say the least. That’s because he has had three separate NBA head coaching stints – but always for the same franchise.

When the Vancouver Grizzlies fired Brian Hill 22 games into the 1999-00 season, they looked to Hollins as their interim coach. With a core of Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Mike Bibby, the Grizz went 18-42 to close that season, and they’d opt to make Sidney Lowe their next coach instead of retaining Hollins and removing the interim tag.

But Hollins wasn’t done with the Grizz. After coaching in the minor leagues for a while, the Grizzlies, now in Memphis, looked to him again, this time just to keep the seat warm between Hubie Brown’s tenure and the start of Mike Fratello’s reign. This one was just a winless 4-game intermission, after Memphis had just let go the reigning Coach of the Year.

After briefly serving as an assistant in Milwaukee, Hollins got his third phone call from the Grizzlies, this time to serve as the bona fide head coach, not some interstitial gig.

There were just 39 games left in the 2008-09 season when Hollins retook his old post, so we won’t hold that train wreck against him. The following season, Hollins and the Grizz began their ascent. They went 40-42 in Hollins’ first full season as coach, followed by win totals of 46, 51 (adjusted for lockout season), and 56 before they let him walk last summer.

Which is odd, right? Why would a coach who presided over that type of ascent get fired? The Grizz were top 10 defensively for three straight seasons, maxing out at #2 in 2012-13. So what gives?

The prevailing theory was that Hollins got the axe because of philosophical differences with the front office, specifically because he didn’t embrace a holistic approach to analysis that would complement traditional scouting with new data. Now, after the mess Memphis has been in with owner Robert Pera clashing with a number of Grizzlies folks (including analytics evangelist John Hollinger), who knows?

There was this weird story about Hollins firing his assistant and long-time friend Barry Hecker in the middle of a playoff series because the latter had ostensibly distracted the team by antagonizing (or giving into the antagonizing from) a Thunder fan. That happened just a couple weeks before Hollins himself was out as coach.

Hollins also irked management with his frank objections to the Rudy Gay trade, and his comments about having “champagne taste” on a beer budget. But it may just come down to the fact that he wasn’t Pera’s guy. Pera is being described in the media as an annoyingly hands-on owner who has unwittingly created some messes by being too involved in the basketball side of things. He purchased the team in the fall of Hollins’ last season, so maybe he just got the grass-is-greener bug.

Whatever the real reason is behind Hollins’ dismissal from Memphis, it doesn’t appear to be affecting his stock too much. He’s being mentioned in conjunction with several open jobs, including the Jazz’s. Teams evidently like what Hollins was able to do in taking a team without a lot of top-tier talent to new heights and establish an elite defensive mindset.

Offensively, Hollins holds his own, but doesn’t do anything too crazily innovative. In Memphis his staple was some high-post/low-post stuff with a lot of picks and drive-and-kicks. The Grizz like the quick outlet, but when the break isn’t there, they slow things down into a pretty intense gridlock, and they actually finished dead last in pace in 2012-13.

Hollins might not be your guy if you want a running team, but he can create a defensive juggernaut and has experience taking a team from oblivion to contender status. Keep him on your radar.

Author information

Dan Clayton
Dan Clayton
Dan covered Utah Jazz basketball for more than 10 years, including as a radio analyst for the team’s Spanish-language broadcasts from 2010 to 2014. He now lives and works in New York City where his hobbies include complaining about League Pass, finding good doughnut shops and dishing out assists for the Thoreau It Down team in the Word Bookstore basketball league.
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Two Perspectives on Alvin Gentry, Possible Jazz Coach http://saltcityhoops.com/two-perspectives-on-alvin-gentry-possible-jazz-coach/ http://saltcityhoops.com/two-perspectives-on-alvin-gentry-possible-jazz-coach/#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 21:41:59 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=11724 Author information
David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

While the NBA Playoffs are slowly, but surely winding down, the Utah Jazz coaching search is slowly but surely starting to gain more traction–at least through the media. A few names are being connected to the Utah Jazz in terms of actual interviews. Now whether or not these interviews have taken place or are on the docket remains to be confirmed. Still, when reputable sources like Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears are linking potential candidates to the franchise, one starts to take note.

A few weeks ago, it was current Chicago Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin (here’s nice look at Griffin by fellow Salt City Hoops writer Ben Dowsett) and more recently, Alvin Gentry’s name has been linked to the Jazz.

Gentry is an interesting name and as is the case with all the candidates whose names have been floated, there are pros and cons. Let’s take a gander at both sides.

David J. Smith’s POV:

Gentry is a basketball lifer. He actually has a small Jazz connection, having played collegiate ball at Appalachian State University under Press Maravich, father of the great Pistol Pete.  Upon graduation, he embarked on a basketball coaching career that has spanned over three decades.

Gentry has extensive experience as both a head coach and an assistant coach. In the latter capacity, he has spent time with five different teams (San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns) and in four of those cases, he was eventually tabbed as either the interim coach or the head coach successor. The very fact that he has been asked four times to assume control of a team shows that he has always been respected by his employers for his coaching and basketball acumen. The same can be said for his citizenship and professionalism. One does not repeatedly get opportunities if he was not well thought of in basketball circles.

This is evidenced by the fact that he is also being mentioned as a candidate with the Clippers and the Cleveland Cavaliers, along with top assistant opportunities with Steve Kerr in Golden State and Mike Malone in Sacramento.

Gentry has coached alongside some truly well known coaches in Larry Brown, Gregg Popovich, Mike D’Antoni, and currently Doc Rivers. One of the things he’s adopted along the way is an exciting brand of offensively focused basketball. When he took over for the “seven seconds or less” D’Antoni, Gentry kept the emphasis on running a high octane team that put up big numbers.  For example, during the 2009-2010 season–easily his best year as a coach (54-28 record)–the Suns lead the league in scoring (110.2 PPG), FGM (40.7 per game), FG% (49.2 percent) and 3-point percentage (41.2 percent). They also were in the top six in free throws, assists and rebounds. The next season saw some similar offensive output.

With the currently constructed roster, playing with more pace might play more to its strengths. Players such as Gordon Hayward have expressed a desire to run more as a team, so as to produce some easy baskets. Gentry could help make these things happen

Conversely, there are a lot of items that make him a curious name for the Utah opening. With the oft-mentioned focus on defense going forward, Gentry does not make the most sense. While his teams have been prolific offensively, they have traditionally lagged on the other end of the court. In 2010 and 2011, Phoenix gave up over 105 PPG. In 2011, it finished dead last by giving up 47.2% shooting. The team struggled defending the 3-point line, long a struggle for the Jazz. Dennis Lindsey has repeatedly mentioned the dramatic need to improve defensively if this team wants to one day compete for a championship. Given his resume, Gentry does not seem to be the one to help accomplish that goal.

While he has a lot of experience, his longest coaching tenure with one team was three full seasons with the Suns, as well as part of two others. His 335-370 (.475) career record does not instill a whole lot of confidence in the team’s long-term prospects. He has only led teams to the Playoffs twice in his 12 years coaching.

Gentry’s most successful teams have been veteran-led ones. How would he fare with developing the team’s young talent, yet another point of emphasis for the franchise.

He is a known commodity, for better or for worse. There is seemingly more appeal toward other candidates for that reason. Assistant coaches like Griffin, Quin Snyder, Mike Longabardi and so forth have intrigue because there is the potential to find the next hidden gem coach. The same applies to collegiate guys like Fred Hoiberg and former players like John Stockton and Earl Watson. There is risk with all of them, but because we do not know what they can do–as opposed to a guy like Gentry–there is that chance that Utah finds a keeper.

With all things considered, Gentry might do a decent job with the Jazz, but he does not appear to be the best overall candidate for the job.

Dan Clayton’s POV: 

Gentry has a longer NBA head coaching résumé than anybody else who has been seriously mentioned in conjunction with the Jazz gig, but that might not work in his favor. He has sat in the big chair for all or part of 12 different seasons – 705 games in all – but only made two visits to the playoffs.

To be fair, personnel is a big part of the reason Gentry is a sub-.500 coach who has only made two postseason appearances (and has only been past the first round once). He hasn’t had a ton to work with.

First, he was the interim coach for a Miami team whose best player, Steve Smith, was hurt. The Heat were led that year by Glen Rice, Kevin Willis and Billy Owens, and they were competing in what was, at the time, a formidable Eastern Conference.

Then he presided over two partial seasons plus the lockout year for a transitioning Pistons team. When he took over in the middle of the 1997-98 campaign, Grant Hill was playing at an All-Star level, but Detroit didn’t have much else. The mercurial Bison Dele was Gentry’s second best guy that year. Over the next two seasons, they started to get more out of Jerry Stackhouse and Lindsey Hunter, but record-wise, they were running in mud, so they eventually moved on from Gentry 58 games into the ’99-00 season. The sum of his Pistons stint was a 73-72 record.

Then came his Clippers run, which almost speaks for itself. The Clips’ core when Gentry took over was (stop me when you’re impressed) Lamar Odom, Jeff McInnis, Eric Piatkowski, Darius Miles and Michel Olowokandi. They added Elton Brand the following year and started to give Corey Maggette a more prominent role, but were still stuck below 40 wins. Even the acquisition of Andre Miller the year after didn’t help LA improve, so at 19-39, they let Gentry go. Gentry was 89-133 with the PaperClips.

By far, his most successful stint was as the Suns’ head coach, but even there, he oversaw a time period when Phoenix was losing talent, not gaining it. The waning Shaq was Phoenix’ leading scorer in the season when Gentry took over for Terry Porter, but the Suns still had Steve Nash, Hill and an injured Amar’e Stoudemire. When Amar’e got healthy the following season, Gentry made his lone deep playoff run, falling in the conference finals after dominating the first two rounds.

But then Phoenix started to change directions. In place of Shaq and Amar’e were Marcin Gortat and Channing Frye, and predictably, the record started to backslide. After two .500-ish years, the Suns lost even their signature player. Without Nash, the Suns limped to a 13-28 start in 2012-13, and once again it was time for Gentry to go.

None of that is particularly encouraging. Sure, he hasn’t had a lot to work with, but his basic profile as a coach after 12 seasons is that he doesn’t really get his teams to the next level, whatever that level is. The Jazz could easily explain that away the same way I did – by pointing to names like Dele and McInnis to show that Gentry did OK for what he had in his arsenal. But it still doesn’t feel like a swing-for-the-fences pick.

And when you look at his basketball identity as a coach, the story gets even harder to sell, mostly on the defensive end. The last time he coached an above-average defensive team was in his third year as a head coach, the lockout year in Detroit. In each of his last six seasons at the helm, his teams finished 23rd or worst in defensive rating. Yikes.

That said, I get why he’s on the Jazz’s list. He’s a known name, and he’s reportedly a pretty smart guy. I’ll also add anecdotally, having read Seven Seconds or Less, that Gentry appears to have a great sense of humor and a knack for getting along with players.

But a career .475 record doesn’t really make my toes tingle, nor does the fact that he’s presided over three different teams that were stuck in between gears.

If you care about things like coaching trees, Gentry has worked with the likes of Gregg Popovich, Larry Brown and Mike D’Antoni.

If it were me, I’d have the conversation, but I’d be ready to look elsewhere.

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Coaching Profile: Adrian Griffin http://saltcityhoops.com/coaching-profile-adrian-griffin/ http://saltcityhoops.com/coaching-profile-adrian-griffin/#comments Wed, 14 May 2014 23:23:13 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=11579 Author information
Ben Dowsett
Ben Dowsett
Ben Dowsett is a life-long Jazz fan and general sports fanatic based in Salt Lake City. He also writes for Nylon Calculus (Hardwood Paroxysm/Fansided Network), and can be heard on the airwaves for the SCH podcast and appearances with ESPN AM 700. With a strong background in both statistics and on-court fundemantals, he writes primarily as an in-depth strategic analyst. He can be found on Twitter at @Ben_Dowsett.
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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Woj-bomb alert!  A week that may have been expected to lack much excitement outside the draft combine the next couple days just got a whole lot more intriguing in Salt Lake City with Adrian Wojnarowski’s report that the Jazz had reached out to the Chicago Bulls for permission to interview current assistant coach Adrian Griffin for their vacant head coaching position.  The report also goes on to state that the Jazz will likely reach out to several potential coaching candidates in the next few days, and is one of the first bits of “confirmed” news to come out of the front office after a few weeks of mostly speculation and some info from unnamed sources.  The news isn’t a surprise to many, as Griffin has been rumored as a candidate for several head jobs dating back to last season.  It’s also confirmation that, as most insiders expected, Utah will be proactive in its search well before the end of the postseason.

Griffin has a solid history in the NBA and is very well-respected in most circles dating back to his playing career.  He was signed as an undrafted free agent with Boston to begin his career in 1999 after spending his first three post-college seasons in Italy, and played for four different teams over his nine-year career.  He was always something of a bit player, never eclipsing the 26.8 minutes a game he clocked in his rookie season with Boston and logging four different seasons below 10 a night, but also had his share of important moments including a role for a 2006 Mavs team that made the Finals.

He made the jump to coaching almost immediately after his playing retirement, coming on as an assistant for Scott Skiles in Milwaukee and remaining for two years before moving to Tom Thibodeau’s staff in Chicago in 2010, where he’s remained since.  He was drawing interest from around the league even before his promotion to lead assistant last summer with the departure of Ron Adams, and was rumored to be among the finalists for Philly’s open slot before the Sixers eventually decided on Brett Brown.  Things have only accelerated this offseason with the Bulls’ dismissal at the hands of Washington in the first round, with Griffin’s name being linked to the recent opening in Cleveland as recently as two days ago.

Specific elements of Griffin’s coaching style will be tough to differentiate from Thibodeau’s general philosophy given the former’s lack of head coaching experience elsewhere, but at first look Griffin appears to be without many of the anecdotal red flags that accompany someone like Jim Boylen, another assistant being considered.  Finding negative press for him was basically impossible in my research, and the prevailing theme among league sources is always his amazing level of intelligence dating back to his playing years.  In a recent TrueHoop piece profiling some potential new NBA coaches, ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz noted how those who have crossed paths with him “say that, since high school, Griffin has displayed a polished maturity that screams NBA coach.”  Arnovitz was highly complimentary of Griffin’s professionalism and pedigree and quoted one unnamed league insider as referring to him as “a player-friendly Tom Thibodeau.”

This last anecdote could be vital – Thibs is widely considered one of the league’s elite coaches, especially defensively, but bits of evidence are starting to build that he might not be the greatest with personal interactions, particularly between him and his superiors.  Rumors are already rampant that the Bulls will entertain “trade” offers for him a la Doc Rivers last offseason despite his contract having multiple years remaining, this after a year where relations between he and the Chicago front-office were frequently tension-filled, according to reports.  Whether this speaks to his personality, Chicago’s front office, or some combination of both, the Jazz will want to take great care to make sure a similar situation has no chance of developing with Griffin.  They’re in a very different place as a franchise than the Bulls, and another failed experiment at the coaching spot could potentially be very damaging long-term.

Of course, much of that goes without saying – making sure a coach is a good fit personality-wise is always high on any front office’s list of priorities when conducting a search.  Also of paramount importance will be his basketball acumen, and while in-depth examples here are once again difficult to come by through publicly accessible data, the spoken and written anecdotal word on Griffin appears to be almost exclusively positive.  His systems pedigree is obviously elite, and sources close to the team have been quoted as crediting him for parts of Chicago’s continued defensive dominance this past season despite all their injury and trade woes.

He’s likely to emulate Thibodeau in many stylistic capacities, and most would expect a defensive system similar to Chicago’s – overloading on the strong side and conservative pick-and-roll strategies for frontcourt defenders.  Elements like offensive scheme and in-game coaching will, again, be tough to predict with good accuracy, but these are aspects one will certainly be expecting the Jazz to cover in their interview process.  Thibodeau is actually considered something of an average in-game coach apart from his elite reputation with defensive systems, but predicting how that will translate to one of his assistants is obviously pretty tough.

Griffin is likely one of several candidates the Jazz will reach out to in the coming weeks, so those in Jazz Nation prone to large immediate reactions should likely temper things a bit and let the process play out.  Griffin brings a strong defensive pedigree, something Dennis Lindsey covets openly going forward, and his well-earned reputation within the league will make him a viable candidate for this and other jobs.

Author information

Ben Dowsett
Ben Dowsett
Ben Dowsett is a life-long Jazz fan and general sports fanatic based in Salt Lake City. He also writes for Nylon Calculus (Hardwood Paroxysm/Fansided Network), and can be heard on the airwaves for the SCH podcast and appearances with ESPN AM 700. With a strong background in both statistics and on-court fundemantals, he writes primarily as an in-depth strategic analyst. He can be found on Twitter at @Ben_Dowsett.
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How Does Stan Van Gundy’s New Gig Affect Jazz Search? http://saltcityhoops.com/how-does-stan-van-gundys-new-gig-affect-jazz-search/ http://saltcityhoops.com/how-does-stan-van-gundys-new-gig-affect-jazz-search/#comments Wed, 14 May 2014 20:12:39 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=11561 Author information
Laura Thompson
Laura Thompson
I grew up in California, but have been a Jazz fan pretty much since I was in diapers; I went to Karl Malone's basketball camp when I was 11 and I flew up to Utah in 1997 to go to Game 3 of the Finals. After graduating from BYU in 2008, I moved back to California to work in Marketing and have been doing that for the last five years. My favorite things in life are the Utah Jazz, basketball, food (whether cooking or consumption of), reading, church, black Labs, and the beach (though hopefully not in that order).
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Sam Sharpe - USA Today Sports

Sam Sharpe – USA Today Sports

As Jazz fans, we were probably looking at our head-coaching vacancy and thinking that we were looking like a significantly better destination than Detroit, thanks to young talent, draft picks, money to spend, and ownership that is nothing if not supremely loyal to the coach.

Considering many reports had Stan Van Gundy heading to Golden State, we were probably pretty confident and safe in feeling like Detroit would never be a more sought-after destination for a top head coach than Salt Lake City, but what we’ve learned in the last 24 hours is that there’s more to wanting to be a head coach than just being the head coach.

Just ask Doc Rivers.

This Adrian Wojnarowski article from October chronicled the drama surrounding Doc, the Clippers, and the JJ Redick trade that owner Donald Sterling almost nixed. Obviously, with recent events surrounding Sterling, a few more details have come to light regarding Sterling’s reasons for wanting to nix the trade, but, even at the time, it was clear to see why Doc Rivers would want final say in personnel decisions because it related so closely with how effectively his team could play. Without Redick’s sharpshooting, the Clippers wouldn’t be in the second round of the playoffs right now.

Given what we saw this last season as Jazz fans, where the goals of the front office and coaching staff didn’t always appear to be in perfect alignment, you can begin to understand a little bit more clearly why Stan Van Gundy would want that kind of power if he were to take over a very poor—and very poorly constructed—Detroit team. He might be thinking, ‘There’s no way I can be a successful coach in Detroit if I don’t have control over which players are staying and going.’ Kind of like how Tyrone Corbin said he knew it wasn’t good for him and his staff when Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap were allowed to sign with other teams.

Who are the only other coaches in the league who have final say over player personnel? Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich. Maybe they’re on to something. (Granted, being an awesome coach helped to get them there, but I digress).

Golden State was the other team Van Gundy was considering, but they weren’t willing to budge when he asked for control over player personnel decisions. In Detroit, he’ll have control over player personnel, he can create the culture he wants, and he can build the team, theoretically over a five-year period. Several months back, Brett Brown, coach of the 76ers, discussed how building something requires 3-5 years.

So, if a big-name coach realizes how important personnel decisions are to his ability to coach and be successful, will the Jazz still be able to target and court a big-name coach? Or will Van Gundy’s decision to choose Detroit open the way for other highly sought-after coaches to also demand final say in player personnel decisions? Does that hurt the Jazz’s coaching vacancy appeal?

Does it mean that, instead of focusing on big names, the Jazz need to focus more on a hungry assistant type —like Hornacek was last year—or someone looking to make the jump either from Europe (Messina is very intriguing) or the college ranks (Kevin Ollie, anyone?).

At the very least, Stan Van Gundy’s decision highlighted a wrinkle in the coaching search that I know I hadn’t considered, as a Jazz fan: the importance of player personnel decisions. Because on paper, Golden State’s opportunity looked a whole lot more interesting and appealing when I was just looking at the coaching opportunity. But as a package with President of Basketball Operations being thrown in there, it makes sense. Is that something the Jazz can compete with, given that Dennis Lindsey is already that guy and I don’t envision a situation where that control is handed over to a coach?

Jazz fans, what do you think? Is this move going to start a domino effect among coaches wanting more power and control? How does that affect the Jazz? Or is it exclusive to only the really big-name coaches, leaving most teams in a similar position as before?

Author information

Laura Thompson
Laura Thompson
I grew up in California, but have been a Jazz fan pretty much since I was in diapers; I went to Karl Malone's basketball camp when I was 11 and I flew up to Utah in 1997 to go to Game 3 of the Finals. After graduating from BYU in 2008, I moved back to California to work in Marketing and have been doing that for the last five years. My favorite things in life are the Utah Jazz, basketball, food (whether cooking or consumption of), reading, church, black Labs, and the beach (though hopefully not in that order).
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Coaching Profile: Fred Hoiberg http://saltcityhoops.com/coaching-profile-fred-hoiberg/ http://saltcityhoops.com/coaching-profile-fred-hoiberg/#comments Mon, 12 May 2014 16:11:06 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=11333 Author information
Denim Millward
Denim Millward
Denim Millward, before SCH, wrote for Bleacher Report about the Jazz and the NBA. Despite this, he is actually a good writer, and we promise we will eschew the slideshow format on this site. He also contributes to The Color Commentator Magazine, and strangely, likes wrestling.
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(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In the team’s first bona-fide coaching search since 1979, could the Jazz turn to a “mayor” to fill the vacancy?

Iowa State men’s head basketball coach Fred Hoiberg, also known as “The Mayor” by his fans, players and his own twitter handle (@ISUMayor32,) has been mentioned by numerous media outlets as a potential candidate to fill one of many vacant head coaching positions in the NBA.  Though only faintly connected to the Jazz via a tweet from Jody Genessy, who covers the Jazz for the Deseret News, Hoiberg is a logical candidate to whom the Jazz front office should give serious consideration.

Hoiberg’s credentials compare favorably to other potential candidates who currently lack NBA head coaching experience.  After a lauded collegiate career at Iowa State, Hoiberg put together a journeyman’s career in the NBA, compiling 10 seasons hoisting threes for the Pacers, Bulls and Timberwolves.  Hoiberg had surgery in June 2005 for a serious heart condition and joined the Timberwolves coaching staff.  In April 2006, Hoiberg formally announced his retirement and took a front office position with the Timberwolves.

Four years later, “The Mayor” returned to Ames, Iowa to take over for the departing Greg McDermott as head coach of the Cyclones.  In his four years at Iowa State, including his inaugural 2010 campaign which saw only four players return to the team, Hoiberg has never had a losing record, and boasts an impressive 90-47 overall record.

Hoiberg has numerous qualities that make him likely to be highly sought after by NBA teams.  At only 41 years of age, Hoiberg has a decade of playing experience, front office experience and four years of demonstrated success as a head coach.  His up-tempo, three-point heavy offense meshes well with the prevailing offensive sentiment in the NBA. Though the Jazz probably don’t possess the three-point shooting prowess at this point to run a Hoiberg-style offense at maximum efficiency, the thought of a world-class finisher like Alec Burks and freakish athlete like Jeremy Evans operating in a fast-paced offense is certainly a tantalizing one.  In addition to the general overall offensive philosophy, Hoiberg’s thick playbook he liberally dips into throughout the season indicates an advanced offensive mind. He runs as close to a pro-style offense as can reasonably run in the NCAA, exactly why Hoiberg’s name has been bandied about with such frequency.

Though he already has a lengthy and diverse portfolio of basketball knowledge and experience, at 41, Hoiberg is young enough to grow along with a young NBA team.  His age, quite young compared to most other NBA coaches, as well as recent experience mentoring college athletes could make it easier for younger roster members to relate to him.  If dozens of videos and articles that feature the 2013-14 Iowa State squad are any indication, Hoiberg has done a superb job of building iron-clad camaraderie within the Cyclone locker room.  Hoiberg’s rapport with his squad is excellent, as ringing an endorsement of his people and communication skills as there is.

As tantalizing the thought of Hoiberg taking the reins of the Jazz is, his ties to Iowa State aren’t easily broken.  The son of an Iowa State sociology professor, Hoiberg grew up within walking distance of Hilton Coliseum.  He received his nickname as a player at Iowa State after his popularity led to him getting numerous write-in votes in the 1993 Ames mayoral race.  The beloved son of Ames is also contractually tied to Iowa State for the foreseeable future after signing a 10-year, $20 million extension in 2013.  If ever there were a coach inextricable from a non-powerhouse university in Smalltown, USA, it’s Hoiberg.

There is a faint glimmer of hope for fans and GMs hoping to lure Hoiberg to the NBA.  Hoiberg’s contract has a $2 million buyout clause if Hoiberg accepts another college coaching job.  However, the buyout is whittled down to $500,000 if Hoiberg bolts Ames for an NBA head coaching gig.  While this is no guarantee Hoiberg will be barking orders from an NBA arena in the 2014-15 season, the existence of the reduced buyout amount appears to indicate that Hoiberg would be interested in calling the shots for an NBA team in the right situation.

With the perfect blend of experience, youthful exuberance and potential, Fred Hoiberg will more than likely be contacted for interviews by multiple teams during the hiring process.  However, between the mutual love and adoration between Hoiberg and Iowa State combined with the lack of confirmed connection between Hoiberg and the Utah Jazz head coaching position, Hoiberg is a fringe candidate for the time being.

Author information

Denim Millward
Denim Millward
Denim Millward, before SCH, wrote for Bleacher Report about the Jazz and the NBA. Despite this, he is actually a good writer, and we promise we will eschew the slideshow format on this site. He also contributes to The Color Commentator Magazine, and strangely, likes wrestling.
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