Thanksgiving is fast approaching. The food, football, family, fun and festivities are here. With that in mind, there is a lot to be grateful for from a Utah Jazz perspective. There is a lot to be excited about right now. Here are just three things for which I have gratitude, as one who has followed this team for decades:
Quin Snyder’s Passion and Philosophies: Coach Quin Snyder has been a breath of fresh air. As the first external head coach hire since the franchise’s move to Utah, everyone was very curious when his signing was announced. During his short months at the helm, Snyder has shown quite a bit about who he is and how he approaches the game of basketball. While there have been hiccups along the way, his philosophies on playing with pace and playing with the pass have already shown a lot of on-court benefit. The team is running and the players are looking for teammates more than in years past. It is getting better shots and it is shooting with more accuracy, as evidenced by the eFG% increase from .484 in 2013-14 to .508 through 15 games this year. Utah is getting to the free throw line more (+3.1% on FTA and .220 FT/FGA). The Jazz are dishing out 6.4% more assists, which is one of the more exciting developments for me.
There is still a lot of room for growth. Utah is actually getting less FGA/game (-3.8%) and is turning the ball over more (+4.3%). While the team is shooting a lot more 3-pointers – a huge 9.5% increase in attempts – the accuracy has actually gone down a touch. And we an in-depth look at the defensive end would require a separate post. It is good to remember that this is a youthful team adopting some very different nuances. It will take time, but the early signs on these fronts are positive. The fun thing: Snyder has mentioned a few times that there is a lot more he will introduce to his roster as this season progresses and in subsequent seasons. In a few years, this offense could be humming.
By most accounts, Snyder brings a professionalism, passion and intense work ethic to the table. He is thorough in his game preparation and demands a lot from his players. That sense of accountability will help elicit individual and collective improvement. It is enjoyable to see him constantly teaching, even in the throes of a few blowout losses. While a 5-10 record is still a 5-10 record, Snyder is the right person for this team, both in the now and the future.
Dennis Lindsey’s Approach: Dennis Lindsey is making this his team. Here’s a run-down on a few of the things he’s accomplished and implemented:
Lindsey is well respected and is building an exciting roster that could be something special within the next few years. His transparency during interviews is refreshing. A lot of credit should go to longtime GM Kevin O’Connor. Lindsey’s taken the good things from his tenure and added to it in a lot of positive ways.
The Millers: Nothing would be possible without the Miller family; a lot of the aforementioned was made possible with the Millers’ blessings. They have shown a willingness to spend in order to acquire players and draft picks, boost the coaching and front office staff and so forth. The fact that Utah is among the NBA’s most profitable teams is a testament to the Jazz’s ownership. Utah Jazz fans are certainly very lucky to have had Larry, Gail, Greg and family. They are in this to help produce a championship caliber team. The Millers’ devotion to the community and to putting forth an excellent product on and off the court is clear to see.
There you have it–just a few Jazz-related Thanksgiving thoughts. Feel free to share yours below. Now, it’s time to pass the turkey…