Looking back on his tenure as a D League coach with the Austin Toros, Quin Snyder said it was really important back then to feel welcomed. He was coming off his tenure at Missouri, attempting to re-enter the coaching world.
One of the first to extend a hand his way was Brett Brown, then an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs. Snyder remembers that Brown went out of his way to say hi to him, or had a seat waiting next to him on the team bus in training camp. Snyder would text him with questions, and Brown never failed to text back.
“He has a unique ability with — and you see it with his team — the connection he’s able to make with his players,” Snyder said. “And he did that for me.”
With Brown now coaching the Philadelphia 76ers and Snyder now coaching the Jazz, the two friends faced off once again on Tuesday night. But they didn’t try to hide their professional respect and friendship for one another.
Brown in particular has friendly faces every time he comes to Utah: He also has a friendship with general manager Dennis Lindsey through their time with the Spurs. Brown also led the Australian National team, through which he got to know Joe Ingles and Dante Exum.
Of Snyder, he seemed to carry some affinity despite the fact that the Jazz won both games against the 76ers last year.
“I think that Quin is a real student of the game,” he said. “He’s very clever coming out of timeouts. He genuinely cares.”
76ers explain Embiid’s absence
While Rudy Gobert said Tuesday morning that he thought Philadelphia was “overprotecting” Joel Embiid by sitting him against the Jazz, Brown explained before the game that the decision was somewhat out of his hands.
“[The decision is made by] sports science people looking at all the loading, looking at what he’s done, looking at what he’s about to do,” he said. “It’s a sophisticated plan, and I leave that with them.”
It is believed that the altitude in Salt Lake City and his minutes in recent games helped contribute to the decision to sit Embiid.
Down and up in a day
Tony Bradley and Royce O’Neale got assignments on Tuesday morning to go to the Salt Lake City Stars practice. By the evening, both were sitting on Utah’s bench.
G League back-and-forths are common in general in the NBA, but even more common for the Jazz now that the Stars are in the same city. O’Neale said that the continuity is so similar between the Jazz and the Stars, he doesn’t mind bouncing back and forth.
“I use it as a great opportunity to just play and keep working,” he said. “It’s easier to pick up stuff, and stuff I learn in Jazz practice I can share to the other guys.”