Quin Snyder, by virtue of coaching the Western Conference’s top-ranked Utah Jazz, will coach the NBA’s Western Conference All-Star team on March 7 in Atlanta.
Typically, the NBA selects the head coach with the best record from each conference two weeks before the game to coach one of the two teams. The league hadn’t announced if it would stick to that tradition, but ESPN reported Wednesday that they planned to.
Given that Lakers coach Frank Vogel coached last year — coaches can’t coach in the All-Star Game in two consecutive years — the Jazz’s win Monday over the Philadelphia 76ers confirmed that Snyder’s lead would remain until the two-week cut-off. Even if the Jazz were to lose their two consecutive upcoming games against the Clippers, Utah would still have the better record.
“It’s just a statement about our team and our players. They’re winning games, and that’s ultimately why you’re there,” Snyder said before the Jazz’s game against the Clippers Wednesday night. “It’s a credit to them that I’m getting a chance to represent them in that capacity.”
The honor means Snyder will be the Jazz’s first coach to pilot an All-Star Team since 1984, when Frank Layden did so. Jerry Sloan, remarkably, never did.
The Jazz have a 23-5 record, which is both the best record in the NBA and the best start to a season in franchise history. Three players — Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, and Mike Conley — are among the potential candidates that may join Snyder in Atlanta for an unusual All-Star game, which came together at the last moment in order to satisfy the league’s TV partners.
“The thing that felt the best to me is to have those guys congratulating me on really something that they did,” Snyder said.
The starters for the game are selected by a combination of fan, media, and player votes, while the reserves are selected by the NBA’s coaches. The starters — not likely to feature any Jazzmen — will be announced Thursday, with the reserves announcement coming next Tuesday.
Snyder’s team will likely be selected by the L.A. Lakers’ LeBron James in a televised player draft, as James was the Western Conference’s leading vote-getter in previously released All-Star fan voting. James will likely pick squads against the Eastern Conference’s Kevin Durant, his conference’s leading vote-getter.
A 3-point contest is likely to occur pregame on March 7, while a dunk contest will occur at halftime.