Quin Snyder has grown tired of fielding questions about Danté Exum’s progress after the point guard’s best performances this season. Well, Exum scored a team-high 15 points in the Jazz’s blowout loss to the Timberwolves this week. So when Snyder was asked during Friday morning’s shootaround about Exum’s progress, the coach put together the definitive rant on why he dislikes what he called "Danté Watch".
Here’s the transcription and the audio from the exchange.
Reporter: Danté’s had some productive performances …
Snyder: Here we go again.
Reporter: What are you seeing that you’re pleased with?
Snyder: His progress. And if he has a bad game tonight, I’ll still be pleased with his progress because it’s just part of it. We just analyze and analyze and analyze Danté’s growth and development. It’s OK. But it doesn’t help him to see his game on a day to day basis, if that makes sense. It’s better for him to look at a period like where is Danté today versus where he was in January. Thats the important thing to me. Because if you were to look at Danté after Washington, you would not be talking about Danté’s progress; you’d be asking what happened with Danté. When Danté plays well we say, "What about Danté’s progress?" I’m not frustrated with this. I feel like I need to try to educate people about how we feel about Danté. And that is, we think the world of what he is doing and his competitiveness.
It’s probably a very natural path. Dante walked in as a starter as a rookie. Trey Lyles walked in as a starter as a rookie. People forget Raul Neto was a starter as a rookie. So those guys are dealing with those expectations and opportunities, and all of our expectations as a result of that. But thats not the reality of where they are as players right now relative to their teammates this team. George Hill is clearly our guy at the point. Joe Johnson is clearly our guy at the 4. That’s where our team has gone. And to the extent these guys cannot worry about their progress, and they think about how they can help the team, that’s how they make their progress. So every time we break Danté’s game down, like we do a young tennis phenom, I don’t think thats the best way for him to look at his development. I think it distracts and hurts him.
Reporter: How’s he helping the team?
Snyder: He’s playing defense. All the things I’ve said, like, consistently. He’s playing defense. He’s pushing the ball up the court. One thing that happened the other night was he made the corner 3. I don’t want to judge Danté’s 3-point shooting on his 3-point percentage. Because if you looked at his 3-point percentage, you’d say Danté’s not a good 3-point shooter because he’s not shooting a great percentage. But what he’s doing is he’s going in here and he’s busting his tail and I think that will help his 3-point percentage.
I don’t mean to jump down your throat on that. I’ve just had this question so many times and it’s like a Danté Watch, where every game we ask about how Danté’s played. I’ll answer it every time but the answer is pretty much going to be the same: let’s not look at Dante’s singular game. Unless we want to look at everybody’s singular game. The only person we talk about more than Danté is Gordon, and maybe Rudy. And I don’t think that’s fair to Danté with where he is in his career.
Reporter: Well for the record, that question was not about that Minnesota game, that question was about …
Snyder: The Washington game? Or the Oklahoma City game?
Reporter: No. From early February all the way up until about this point, he has been more productive than he was before.
Snyder: You are dead right. You’re right. Absolutely. And I feel good about that. The questions I’ve got before on this are what happened to Danté between Washington, Oklahoma City, Minnesota …
Reporter: Like individual games …
Snyder: Dante was basically the exact opposite of our team. Our team was terrific against Washington and Dante was not good. And Danté was good agains Minnesota and our team was awful. So I don’t know what that means. But anyway. Like I said, I apologize. That wasn’t directed at you. That was—let’s get it all out there about Danté so we can let him grow.
Here’s the full audio of Snyder’s remarks:
And here’s Exum on how his coach has treated him this season and of late:
Shooting guard Rodney Hood will miss a second consecutive game—his ninth over this team’s last 12 games—when the Utah Jazz take on the Brooklyn Nets tonight.
Hood missed seven straight games before the all-star break with a sprained ligament and a bone bruise in his right knee. But the guard was deemed healthy enough to play in the Jazz’s next three games, including an 18-point performance in 31 minutes on Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Hood was held out of action on Wednesday, with Utah playing the second night of a back-to-back set, because soreness had developed in the joint.
If there’s a game the Jazz should be fine without Hood, and his 13.4 points per game, it’s Friday’s meeting with the Nets. Brooklyn has won just 10 games this season, including one this week to snap a 16-game losing streak.
But as the Jazz proved Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, there are few, if any, easy outs in the NBA.
After Wednesday’s 27-point drubbing—the worst home loss in Snyder’s tenure as the Jazz’s head coach—Utah is looking to bounce back against a last-place Nets team.
Rudy Gobert: "You don't want to be thinking about the last game all the time, but you have to know how to not make the same mistakes twice." pic.twitter.com/RuMkjaKF4m— Aaron Falk (@aaronfalk) March 3, 2017
— Aaron Falk