The search for the new Jazz coach has apparently been narrowed down to four. The four coaches believed to be the finalists include, Quin Snyder, Adrian Griffin, Alvin Gentry, and Brad Jones. Aside from Gentry, none of the coaches have head coaching experience at the NBA level. Each candidate brings different attributes and experience that could be seen as beneficial as well as detrimental.
Starting with Brad Jones, as he is the newest candidate added to the final list of potential coaches. Jones was the head coach of Lambuth University, his alma mater, from 1995-2001. From there he became a regional scout for the Jazz from 2001-2007, where he was named the Mid-South Conference coach of the year twice. Jones then received the head coaching position for the Utah Flash and coached from 2007-2010. The highlight of his coaching career came when he won the D-League championship in 2012 as the head coach of the Austin Toros, an affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs. After 2012 he was hired by Corbin as the player development coach.
Brad Jones has several years experience as a head coach, but has only three years experience working as an assistant at the NBA level. Does he need more experience to be successful at the NBA level? He was the developmental coach for the Jazz the past few seasons, so the question needs to be asked, did the players develop at a satisfactory rate during his tenure as assistant? How do the current Jazz players feel about the possibility of him becoming the head coach? Is he respected by the players or will they tune him out based on past experiences working with him?
Adrian Griffin would be coming from the Chicago Bulls, where he has been the assistant coach under Tom Thibodeau since 2010. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks from 2008-2010. Clearly Griffin does not have an extensive resume for coaching, but he does have a Master’s degree in leadership studies and is nearly completion on a doctoral degree. This educational background should not be overlooked. Having a graduate degree in leadership studies should allow Griffin to incorporate multiple leadership techniques. This would allow hims to have the knowledge and ability to implement different techniques to different players, which may increase the number of players that follow his lead. In addition to his education and coaching experience he also played six seasons in the NBA for various teams.
Adrian Griffin brings a graduate degree that should help his chances of being successful, but does he have enough experience as a coach? Being trained in leadership skills is great, but has he learned enough of the X’s and O’s that he will be able to draw up correct plays down the stretch? Does his lack of experience mean he will try to implement the exact system ran in Chicago or will he tweak it to his strengths as a coach as well as the strengths of the Jazz roster?
Alvin Gentry began his coaching career as an assistant at Baylor during the 1980-1981 season, followed by several season as an assistant for Colorado. He eventually became an assistant in the NBA until he being promoted as the head coach of the Miami Heat. In addition to being the head coach of the Heat he has also been the head coach of the Pistons, Clippers, and Suns. He has over 700 games as a head coach in the NBA accumulating a record of 335-370 (.475 winning percentage). His most successful season was with the Suns, where he lead them to the Western Conference Finals. Gentry is most known for his ability and skill in coaching offense.
Alving Gentry brings over a decade of head coaching experience, but he has a losing record. What has he learned as a head coach and assistant through the years that would make the Jazz management believe he can be successful in Utah? The Jazz have said they want to improve defensively, so how would hiring Gentry help the defense when teams he has coached excelled on offense and struggled defensively? If Gentry is hired could he possibly just be filler coach until someone like Brad Jones received more experience and becomes ready to become a head coach?
Quin Snyder has several years as an assistant coach under some great coaches including Coach K, Ettore Messina, and Doug Collins. He was also the head coach for Missouri from 1999-2006. While at Missouri he led the tigers to four consecutive tournament appearances including a trip to the Elite 8. Despite having much success the first four years of his coaching tenure, the final three years resulted in losing records two of the years and an investigation by the NCAA that ultimately revealed several minor infractions. Snyder chose to resign following the investigation and became the head coach of the Austin Toros from 2007-2010. He has spent four seasons as an assistant with the 76ers, Lakers, CSKA Moscow, and the Hawks. In addition to coaching experience he also brings a background of education while earning a law degree and his MBA from Duke.
Quin Snyder’s start to his coaching career was successful before taking a turn in the opposite direction. What has he learned since that that will keep him from making similar mistakes that may undermine the success of his team? He has been given praise for his ability in developing players, but does he have the defensive or offensive knowledge to be successful at the NBA level?
Each of the final four coaching candidates have things about them that would help them be a successful head coach. However, they also have question marks that need to be answered. I personally think Snyder and Griffin would be the best decision for the Jazz. Looking at the resumes of each Snyder would be my top choice, but there is something about Griffin earning his Master’s and being close to a Ph.D. in leadership studies that I really think would be beneficial. With Gentry I cannot get over the fact he has been a coach for over 700 games and is roughly 50 games below .500. He also is an offensive minded coach and I am more worried about the Jazz improving on defense. Finally, with Brad Jones I simply think he is too inexperienced to prefer him over the other candidates.