Quin Snyder coached Derrick Favors in Utah for five seasons — an eternity in the modern NBA, where about half the league changes teams in the offseason.
So you can forgive him for not knowing how other coaches may have had different styles when he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans last year. But after that experience, Favors is ready to make a declaration:
“I wanted to come back and I wanted to play for Coach Quin,” Favors said. “He’s like my favorite coach in the world right now.”
What makes Snyder No. 1?
“I love Quin, man. He’s a smart guy, smart coach. He puts you, puts everyone in positions to succeed,” Favors said. “And I’m just a believer in his coaching style. The way he runs his offense, defense, the leadership he shows as a coach. He’s a player’s coach. He communicates with you. I just love him.”
That’s quite the list of compliments from Favors. Snyder, of course, heard about Favors remarks.
“It’s flattering, for Derrick to say that about me. You know, it just makes you feel really good,” Snyder said. “You’re reminded as a coach of really why you do this, to have a chance to go through the good and the bad times with someone that you rely on and trust. And that’s that’s a special part of the job.”
Snyder joked about the possibility that Favors could just be buttering him up, but the connection between the two men will be important in a season which could see Favors minutes move up and down like a roller coaster depending on matchups. For teams that play small, Favors may only be a backup center behind Rudy Gobert, anchoring the second unit but not much else.
But against those teams who still start two big men — the champion Los Angeles Lakers being the most obvious example — Favors’ size and length at the power forward position could be the Jazz’s best asset.
It’s not a new situation for the Jazz — indeed, that was the reality of much of Gobert and Favors’ time together in Utah. Favors is coming back to embrace the uncertainty, in part because of Snyder’s honesty. “We’ve always been really transparent (with one another); and not just me with him, but him with me,” Snyder said.
Regardless, it was clear last year what the team was missing without Favors, with their worst bench performance in recent memory. Snyder thinks that Favors will be the key piece in reversing the trend.
“Whether it be backing up Rudy at the five, or playing with Rudy in matchup situations, I think the expectation for us is that he’ll be ‘Fav’,” Snyder said. “We know what that is and we know how valuable he’s been here and is for our team.”
“I think being willing to to see the best in your players ... that can help them get better and grow,” Snyder said. “And usually when you’re able to do that, guys reward that confidence you have in them.”
“With respect to Derrick, I’ve always had that,” Snyder finished. Favors, it’s clear, would agree.