Monson: Quin Snyder is the NBA’s coach of the year — and much more

First Published      Last Updated Jun 28 2017 05:25 pm

Utah Jazz » Third-year Jazz coach has mixed and matched all season, and gives all the credit to his players

Quin Snyder is a smart, passionate man.

Nobody doubts that.

He should be the NBA's coach of the year.

That's where doubt floods into the picture.

But this column blows four freeway exits past advocacy for any kind of award.

Snyder's mind and perspective for — and approach to — what he does for a living are unique. How many NBA coaches have a brain big enough for both a law degree and an MBA, and still immerse themselves so thoroughly in the game to the extent it darn-near imprisons them?


So, the Jazz coach is intelligent, emotional, and also grateful — thankful for a lot of things, from coaching's macro to its micro level. In the aftermath of Game 4 of the Jazz-Clippers playoff series, Snyder thanked and praised nearly his entire team. Joe Johnson? "We're lucky to have him." Derrick Favors? "Can't say enough about him." Rodney Hood? "Playing with more of a purpose." Gordon Hayward? "He wanted to play." Rudy Gobert? "He's back." Joe Ingles? "Hopefully, he won't go down."

Not a single bit of positivity was disingenuous because … well, when it comes to Snyder's relationship with his players, in his own words, "Honest communication is really important."

Which is to say, Snyder's use of B.S. is pretty much nonexistent.

Unless it's done in good fun. Once, when a writer was interviewing Ingles over a two-hour period for an in-depth profile, the coach, noticing the conversation from across a practice court, yelled: "Geeeeez, I can barely stand to be around Joe for a few minutes during practice. How you holding up?"

He followed the jab, though, with the truth: "We have diverse guys on this team. But Joe's helped us be and stay connected. I've been hard on him, at times. But he's been a bridge, someone I can rely on … to keep it together, to keep everyone focused. There's trust there and it's appreciated."

Ingles' response? "That guy over there is one of the few people who believed in me."

Snyder, then, is smart, passionate, grateful, a forthright communicator, and he's a believer, leading a team that not so long ago won 25 games into a team that won 51 this year, including qualification for the playoffs.

He does the things a lot of coaches do — studies his players, develops them, breaks down film, obsesses over minute details — but he does those things in a manner, to a degree that sets him apart from the maniacal norm. Diversion, for him, is attempted, often failed. Sleep is a suggestion, often ignored. Eating … well, that happens, on a good day.

Finding the best method for the Jazz to get wins, game by game, putting them in the best position to embrace victory, come what may, especially in the postseason, never really stops being beamed up on the big screen in his big brain.

"Yeah," he concurs. "Yeah."

He tries to deny it, wants to tweak it, quiet it, hopes to become more well adjusted, particularly since his attention to other significant things could run so deep, could be so worthwhile. But …

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