Portland • When a guaranteed Hall of Famer and NBA legend gives you an endorsement, you take it.
On Thursday, former Lakers star Kobe Bryant had this to say about Jazz coach Quin Snyder in an interview with USA Today: “I’ve got to talk about my man Quin Snyder. The job he has done is freaking insane. It is insane. I love Quin. I always have. I’ve been a big Q guy forever … and the job that he has done seems like it’s going under the radar, which, why, I have no idea.”
Snyder smiled when asked about Bryant’s comments. The two have been friends for years. Still, Snyder said he didn’t expect Bryant to publicly endorse him like that.
“It’s flattering for a guy I have that much respect for to say that,” Snyder said. “So many guys in this league do an unreal job. More than anything, it’s an honor to be thrown into that group of coaches.”
Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are on the short list for defensive player of the year and rookie of the year, respectively. Snyder has gradually become a viable candidate for coach of the year.
Under his guidance, the Jazz dug themselves out of a 19-28 hole in December, and will be going to the Western Conference playoffs for the second consecutive season. Snyder did it with a roster that lost a bunch of games due to injury, and with a rookie in Mitchell as his top offensive option.
“He’s taken a team with no All-Stars and brought us to the playoffs,” Mitchell said. “Look at the record we had in December and January. Coach has done an incredible job.”
Hoodie Wars continue
For the second consecutive game, Mitchell wore an Adidas hoodie with a message. This one had “Rookie?” written on it, another statement directed at Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons, who is Mitchell’s chief competitor in the rookie of the year race.
“I’m just having fun,” was all Mitchell said on his pregame attire.
Mitchell and Simmons have been trading barbs all week.