Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder had already answered two post-practice questions Thursday in fairly straightforward fashion — meandering a bit on a query about which areas Donovan Mitchell has most improved upon over his four years, while coming pretty directly at an inquiry about his reaction to Udoka Azubuike’s injury.
Those two questions and answers took up a combined four minutes.
The third question asked of him, though, about whether he had a favorite style of play, even dating back to his own playing days at Duke, yielded a 10-minute, uninterrupted response.
It was insightful, it was informational, it was historical, it was thoughtful, it was nuanced, it was explanatory … it was epic.
Everyone on that Zoom call came away kinda mesmerized by the depth and scope of it, honestly. This is my third season covering the Jazz, and I’ve found that Quin tends to drop one big knowledge bomb per year. This one, though, was nuclear.
It covered his time playing for Coach K, his trying to adapt at Missouri. It covered his time as an assistant for first-year head coaches in Doug Collins, Mike Budenholzer, Mike Brown, and seeing how they adapted from initial plans to what was feasible. He covered his time working in the Spurs organization and how different their motion offense was from anything he’d done before. He covered his time as an assistant to Ettore Messina at CSKA Moscow. He covered becoming a first-time head coach himself, in the era of pace-and-space, and making a quick realization that, with a roster loaded with talented big men, he’d have to go a different way.
Perhaps the simplest summation of his marathon answer is: “Over a period of years, as the personnel has changed, to me, your job is to try to adapt what you do to fit your personnel.”
I can’t recommend highly enough giving his full comments a read.
Georges Niang, on making it to the NBA: ‘It’s just grit’
The Minivan just made an appearance on “The Long Shot” podcast co-hosted by Miami Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson and Davis Reid. Niang and Robinson are actually longtime friends, having grown up near one another in Massachusetts.
As always, Georges brought a mix of insightful comments and self-deprecating humor.
To me, the most interesting part of the discussion centered around him going from being “The Man” at Iowa State, a college star given free reign to do whatever he wanted on the court, to becoming a guy quickly cut by the Indiana Pacers because he was initially too satisfied with having been drafted, because he assumed that being drafted meant he was guaranteed a shot at getting to play, and because he didn’t quickly enough realize he needed to adapt his game from having been “The Man” to now being just “a guy” — a niche role player.
Georges recounted how getting cut and winding up in the G League started to put him on the right path, and how a conversation with Jazz assistant Alex Jensen cemented it. Alex told him that plenty of guys had been in Georges’ place before, and that none of them lasted because they couldn’t do two simple things: Make corner 3s, don’t let your guy score on you every time down.
“When you first get there, you have to figure out, ‘What can I do at an NBA level? One thing,’” Georges advised. “People are like, ‘Let me get in my bag!’ Make sure your bag has two suits — two things that you can do. You don’t need 17 outfits, you just need one or two. Shooting will get you on the court, being a neutral defender, or being able to handle the ball, being a playmaker. Those things are what have gotten me on the court.”
• “If the martians have the death beam pointed at earth, fate of the universe on the line, one shot to save humanity who do you want taking the open 3 on the Jazz?” — @BojanBurner
Hmmmm … you don’t have any feelings on this one do you? Haha! First off, excellent framing of the consequences — no trite and cliché “three seconds left in Game 7 of the NBA Finals” nonsense. No, you went with martian death beams and planetary destruction! So, thank you for at least giving me a team with an embarrassment of riches to choose from.
But who to go with? Royce O’Neale has the highest percentage on the team … but could we trust him not to pass out of it? Joe Ingles presents similar appeal and similar risk. You have been trending upward, but are we confident that your wrist is fully back to normal? Donovan Mitchell has surged into elite territory, but is this efficiency an outlier? Mike Conley, conversely, has years of steady results but is arguably not quite elite. Jordan Clarkson certainly has the confidence … but would he be our top choice? And even Georges Niang would usually be in the convo, though his shot is not at its most consistent right now.
So, fate of humanity on the line, I’d go with … Bogey. He’s got the combination of shooting form and shooter’s mentality I’d be looking for, with the threat of being reduced to space dust hanging over my head.
• “Have you ever been to a GWAR show? And if so, did you love it?” — @postgame_malone
• “Do you like prog metal/rock?” — @sruruca
Doubling up here, as they’re tangentially related. Haven’t seen GWAR in person; I’m not a fan of their music, but I’d be open to attending a show, as it actually looks like a ton of fun. As for prog metal/rock, I appreciate certain songs, like, say, “Welcome Home” by Coheed and Cambria, though I wouldn’t say I’m super into the genre in general. That said, Claudio Sanchez was one of my favorite interviews ever back when I was a music writer.
• “How often do you and @andyblarsen get confused for one another? (Your profile pictures always mix me up haha) — @JaredGuthrie5
• “Will there be a new Weekly Run podcast with you and @andyblarsen soon? I miss them” — @TyNeeley
Doubling up again, for the obvious BLarsen crossover appeal. Andy would be mortified by the first question. I’ve never been confused for him — to my face, anyway. He’s more recognizable than I am, especially with his hair. I’ve been out on the concourse with him at many a Jazz game where he’s gotten stopped and mobbed, Beatlemania-style, by adoring masses. I have had a few people suggest that, based on our photos, we could be related, so I suppose you’re not totally off-base.
As for the podcast … I don’t have a good answer for you there. After our last one, we were told not to record any more for now, that the new management was reviewing everything within the newsroom, and we’d be told when/if to resume. While we weren’t always consistent in recording them, I always had a blast doing them. I hope we get to continue. But I don’t know, and it’s out of my hands. Stay tuned.
The Weekly Top 5
1. New York Dolls • These shambolic, gender-bending, proto-punkers never made it big, succumbing to their demons and breaking up right as they were offered a UK tour that would have exploded their popularity. However, their brief time together catchy, proved hugely influential to so many bands who followed.
2. Tina Turner • She’s already in with Ike, of course, but it’s hard to believe she’s not been inducted on the strength of her solo work. She was an absolute icon of the ’80s, and her raw, feral vocal style lent an undeniable gravity and intensity to a whole host of anthemic songs.
3. Jay-Z • Before he became a mogul, he was an absolutely transformational star in the hip-hop world. What started out as gritty street rhymes later became more production-influenced commercial hits. But there’s no denying he was a generational figure, which seems like excellent HoF criteria to me.
4. Rage Against the Machine • Speaking of generational figures, I don’t know how you discuss ’90s music without including these guys. Between Tom Morello’s crunching rhythm-driven riffs and Zack de la Rocha’s incendiary social commentary, they were a wholly unique and consequential outfit.
5. Iron Maiden • Simply put, they’re one of the most important bands in the evolution of heavy metal. They helped expand the reach of the genre with the soaring vocals of Bruce Dickinson, their signature multi-pronged guitar textures, and some captivatingly dark imagery. Even though I once slagged their performance in a concert review, they still belong in the Hall of Fame.