Introducing Quin Snyder and What We Learned


Listening to the introductory press conference for Quin Snyder, there were several things that stood out to me. First, he was clearly hired for his development skills. His ability to develop was mentioned several times. He not only is able to develop players, but spends time individually with players working on their game. Given the young lineup of the Jazz developing players is huge. Players like Favors have a ton of potential, but up to this point has been a bit inconsistent. Hopefully Snyder is able to come in, work with Favors and help him develop into the defensive anchor he can be.

Just think about Alec Burks for a minute. Burks has been a player that attacks the basket, but despite shooting 35% from three point, is not considered a threat from deep. A big reason for this is his form changes when he shoots from three. His mid-range jumpers and free throws look very smooth and fluid. When he steps back and shoots a three he pushes the ball. If Snyder can work with Burks on his three point shot and get him to shoot the ball with the same motion as his mid-range jump shot it would not be inconceivable to have his percentage jump up to 40%. Alec Burks shooting the three pointer with 40% accuracy would only make him more able to get to the rim. If defenders decide to slack off him he can kill them with the three, if they try to take away the three he can blow by them, getting to the paint and getting an easy bucket or getting to the free throw line. If Burks is able to develop under Snyder and improve his form on three pointers, could Burks not then become the missing piece for the Jazz in having a go to player on offense that can score when you need someone to score?

Second, his time in Europe taught how to plan for a game. Like Snyder pointed out, teams are only able to play one game a week in Europe. This allowed him to dive into preparing for a game. Allowed him to take time to dissect what the other team wanted to do and scheme a game plan. In addition to having the time to really study the opposing team, he was able to do so under the best coach in Europe, Ettore Messina.

Third, Snyder wants to open up the offense. This was merely a comment he made, but opening up the offense will give the Jazz more opportunities for easy buckets. Too often the past few seasons the Jazz would collect a defensive rebound, slowly take it up the court, pass it around without purpose for 20 seconds, then having to force up not only a low percentage shot, but a low percentage shot that was also contested. The Jazz have a young team with some athletes. Grabbing a defensive rebound and pushing it up the court looking for an easy basket could easily improve the offense by several points. If no easy basket is available they can then slow up and get into their half-court offense.

Fourth, Snyder has learned from his experiences both good and bad. His tenure, and ultimate firing (officially he resigned, but even Snyder has said he was fired) at Missouri has been highly publicized. I am sure he has had to answer questions regarding his release everywhere he has gone. During the press conference it was brought up multiple times. Snyder did not back down from the questions, but answered them in ways that showed he has grown. He has taken those failures and has used them to help make him a better coach today. Because he has learned from these failures, they should only be a benefit going forward with the Jazz.

Fifth, and finally, Snyder is quick on his feet. I came to this realization from one comment he made. Earlier, Dennis Lindsey was talking about his time with the Spurs when he was first hired. Snyder had been hired as the Toros (Spurs D-League affiliate) just a few months before Lindsey. Lindsey was asked what he thought about Snyder and he said he was skeptical. Lindsey then explained his skepticism was due to him not knowing much about him and as he grew to know him he grew to like him. Later in the press conference Lindsey was asked what it was about Snyder that they hired him over the other three finalists. Without missing a beat Snyder jumped in and said he wanted to hear the answer as well because earlier Lindsey was saying how he didn’t like him. That quickness on his feet is beneficial as a coach. Coaches have to make changes on the fly. Snyder is clearly a smart individual, but being able to think quickly will allow him to use his intelligence during the games in making adjustments and giving the Jazz their best chance to succeed.

Ultimately what we learned during the press conference will ultimately be shown on the court. As for now I believe the Jazz hired themselves a very good coach, who has the ability to succeed. It will be exciting to see Snyder lead the Jazz, hopefully for many years to come.

Tags: Quin Snyder Utah Jazz

  • Clint Peterson

    There’s only about 20 (qualified) players a season that hit on 40% of threes. That would mean Burks would be an elite three-shooter, which seems unlikely to me. So long as he’s hitting above 35% of threes consistently he will eventually be respected by defenses as a capable enough threat to have to cover on the perimeter – something he hasn’t quite yet earned, but may.

    • Brandon Dennis

      That depends on his role in the offense. If he becomes the dominant ball handler you’re probably right 35% but doubling his attempts makes him a threat. If he doesn’t dominate the ball and has someone set him up so he can shoot with his feet set 40% isn’t out of the picture. Either way if he develops a consistent shot from deep he will be almost impossible to stop

      • Clint Peterson

        As a frame of reference, doubling Burks’ 3PAs would have had him taking more than Gordon Hayward this last season, and more than guys like Deron Williams, CJ Miles and even Chris Paul took. Taking more isn’t making more. I just don’t feel like volume shooting is an asset when we’re talking about Alec Burks. If he hits on 37% of threes in a few seasons I’d be thrilled.

        • Brandon Dennis

          Alec Burks played in 78 games last year and attempted 143 three pointers, so doubling it would put him at 286. Gordon Hayward played in 77 games and attempted 280 threes. Hayward attempted 3.6 threes a game, so if you gave Hayward another game to put him with Burks playing 78 games Hayward attempts 283-284, only 2-3 fewer across an entire season than Burks if you doubled his attempts.
          CJ Miles attempted 211 threes, but only played in 51 games. If he played in 78 games keeping the same average 3′s per game (4.1) he would have attempted 320, which would be more than Burks.
          Its the same with Deron Williams who attempted 268 threes, but only played in 64 games. He would have attempted 328 (4.2 threes per game), which is also more than Burks.
          Chris Paul attempted 212 threes last year, but he only played in 62 games, which would put him at 265 threes a game (3.4 threes per game).
          Of the four players mentioned only Paul was less than Burks on a per game basis and even then it would only be an extra 21 attempts over the course of the season. Nothing to write home about. Chris Paul is can shoot the three, but his value is in setting up his teammates, which requires him to drive, not jack up threes. Even then Paul would have had over 250 attempts had he not missed so many games. CJ Miles is terribly inconsistent, Hayward was just awful from deep last season, and DWill has not been the same player since leaving Utah. Basically, none of those four are players that if Burks did have more attempts from deep would really worry anyone.

          You are right in shooting more threes does not make Burks a three point threat, but if he want teams to respect his ability to shoot the three he needs to shoot more. 143 attempts will not scare anyone into stepping up and trying to take the three away from him. Getting 250-300 attempts is needed to be respected, otherwise he is the same player he is now. Great at attacking the basket, can shoot the three, but is not a threat from deep.
          Finally, if Snyder is able to work on his form from deep to the point where he can consistently hit them in game situations, then he should be the go to guy on offense and would by default of being that guy take significantly more threes.

          • Clint Peterson

            Interesting, but beside the point, that being that there is simply little or no correlation between increased attempts, minutes and games and increased 3FG%.

          • Brandon Dennis

            That is not the point at all. We are getting into the weeds here. My points are that if Snyder can help Burks to improve his form on his three pointers, then his percentage will go up. Currently he pushes the ball on his release and it doesn’t have nearly the arc his mid-range jumper has because of it. Improving his mechanics will improve his percentage. Then once his percentage is improved and he has that to his arsenal he will be able to consistently step up and hit 3s. That alone will automatically increase his shot attempts. Then once he has proven he can beat you from deep, teams will be forced to try to take the 3 away, then he will be able to get drive past them and into the paint, making him nearly impossible to defend.

            I am not, nor ever meant he should just start jacking up threes and his percentage would improve. However, if he adds 3s to his arsenal he is naturally going to shoot more 3s and will have to shoot more if teams are going to respect that aspect of his game. Nobody cares about the guy who shoots 140 three pointers a season. If that is all they shoot you worry about defending other aspects of their games.

            On a side note I’ll bet there is a significant correlation between increased three pointers and %, simply because people don’t shoot 3s when they don’t have the ability. As their skill increases so does the number of 3s they take. Just look at Paul Millsap and Chris Bosh. A few years ago if either one of them shot a 3 the other team would be glad they did. Now they have both added it to their arsenal and teams have to respect their ability to hit the 3. On top of that they have both improved their % as they have added it to their skill set. Both shot far more threes this season than they ever had, and both shot at a higher percentage then their career average.

            What is the point in Burks putting in all the time and effort into improving his form on 3s if he isn’t going to apply it? If he is going to keep shooting 143 three pointers in a season, then he is better off working on his lateral quickness and ability to finish at the rim.

          • Clint Peterson

            Allow me to do a wee bit of weed whacking for you. My original point was that it’s unlikely Burks will ever be a consistent 40% three-shooter. That point stands and remains. He’s simply unlikely to develop into an elite three-shooter, but all he needs to be is adequate, something I do believe he can be. But it won’t be due to sheer volume, and he won’t develop into a 40% three-shooter due sheer volume either.

            As far as Millsap and Bosh, both have career 3FG% numbers that have fluctuated from year to year by quite a bit, and a big man adding range to his game is a different matter, in my opinion, than a guard or wing gunning more shots in a game.

            This last season Millsap was barely above what’s considered to be the line between good and bad three-shooting — 35% — whereas Bosh was below it. Although I will say that Chris Bosh is one the best clutch-time three-shooters in the NBA.

            The way players get better at shooting isn’t from gunning in games. It’s from taking thousands upon thousands of jumpers in practice day after day after day. Saying Alec Burks can be a better shooter by increasing his attempts in box scores just isn’t how it works in real life. What we see is the result of said practice.

            Really, the last thing you want is a low efficiency, high volume and usage player in games.

          • Clint Peterson

            Let’s take Ray Allen for example, one of the best three-shooters in the history of the NBA. His career percentage is exactly 40%. Burks is not a Ray Allen-type shooter.

          • Brandon Dennis

            You’re right Ray Allen is one of the best 3 point shooters in the history of the game. You’re right he has a career average of 40%. Let me ask you this though, would Ray Allen be one of the best three point shooters in the game if he only had 143 attempts a game? NO! He is one of the best of all time not only because he hits 40% of his attempts, but because he is a volume 3 point shooter. He had as many as 653 three point attempts in a season (’05-’06 in Seattle). He only played 26.5 minutes per game this season, yet still had over 300 attempts, and that is being the 3-4 scoring option on the team. Comparing Burks to a three point specialist is not a fair comparison.

            You know who else shot 40% or better for their career or up to this point in their career? Hubert Davis, Drazen Petrovic, Steve Novak, Tim Legler, Anthony Morrow, BJ Armstrong, Danny Green, Wesley Person, Matt Bonner, Jose Calderon, Dana Barros, Brandon Rush, Trent Tucker, Daniel Gibson, Raja Bell, Patty Mills, Anthony Parker, Dale Davis, James Jones, Ben Gordon, Dell Curry, Michael Dickerson, Glen Rice.

            Are they all-time greats? Are they better than Ray Allen as good or better than Ray Allen because they had a better 3 point percentage? No, because they didn’t shoot as many as Ray Allen. What is interesting about the players above is that as they started to hit three pointers they started to shoot more three pointers a game. Its funny how that works isn’t it? You show you have something as a weapon, so you use that weapon more often to help your team? I don’t know what I was thinking in saying that as Burks improves his three point shot (from working with Snyder) that he needs to shoot more so that opposing teams have to respect that part of his game and therefore will make it much more difficult to stop him.

            If you want further information I will take a page from your book. A few days ago you wrote about Aaron Gordon and whether he can improve his free throw percentage. You used Karl Malone as your example as he entered the league and shot 48% his rookie year from the free throw line, but through working on it was able to improve to where his career percentage was a very solid 74%. You then argue Aaron Gordon can work on and develop his ability and improve, much like Malone did. If they can do it, why can’t Burks? He already makes 35% of his threes, why is it so hard to believe that with some hard work he can improve his % as well?

            Let’s take Bruce Bowen, He entered the league and only shot around 50 three point attempts per season. He made a good %, but it has been very much publicized that he worked very hard on his ability and was able to develop his ability to hit the 3. He had seasons over 40% and finished his career shooting 39%. If he could do it, why can’t Burks? The point is he can. The addition of Snyder and his ability to develop players should help, but it is a possibility. Whether it happens or not is yet to be see, but it is a possibility.

          • Brandon Dennis

            You are probably right, 40% may be more wishful thinking than actuality, but I also do not see why he could not be in that ballpark if he does improve his form. I never said he needed to start jacking up more shots in games and he would be a better three point shooter. Of course he has to work at it. Of course it is going to take time. According to researchers 10,000 hours doing something specific is the accepted number before someone can consider themselves an expert. Burks obviously is not going to get there this season, but that wasn’t my point.

            My point was, Snyder can help him improve his form. In order to improve his form he obviously has to work at it. Having Snyder tell him “hey you’re pushing the ball when you shoot threes, don’t do that” will not result in Burks immediately fixing the problem, and start immediately shooting more threes and making more. It obviously doesn’t work that way. I would think you pick up on that given you just wrote an article about Gordon fixing his shot and how he knows what he needs to do and it will take time and practice, just like it did Malone.

            Then once his form is improved, which would be after he has spent the time to where that is his natural release from deep, then he will be able to improve his percentage AND shoot more. He will shoot more because that will be part of his repertoire. He will have the 3 ball as a weapon, so he will use it. If defenders play off of him or go below the screen he will be able to pull up and drill the 3. As of now 143 attempts in a season is nothing. If he continues to shoot only 143 attempts a season teams will continue to go under the screen and play off him because he doesn’t shoot it very much. He could shoot 60% and it wouldn’t matter because he wouldn’t shoot enough threes to hurt the other team. His driving ability would be what teams would still respect because that is what he does and that is where he currently hurts defenses and without hitting more threes he will NEVER be respected as a 3 point threat to the point where they step up on him or go over the top on screens and risk having him blow by the defender. To be considered a threat from deep he will need to roughly double his attempts. Somewhere in the 250-300 attempts range.

            Bosh and Millsap are bigs that learned to shoot the 3. It is different than a wing simply “gunning more shots in a game.” Again this is why I go back to my original point of Snyder can help him improve his form, and make that a weapon. Its the same thing Bosh and Millsap had to do. In order for them to add that aspect to their game they had to work on it. Maybe they had form issues, maybe they didn’t. The reason I brought them up is because it was not until this season when they began shooting more threes that teams had to account and respect their ability to shoot the three.

            Their averages did fluctuate some years, but I didn’t compare this season to each individual year. I compared it to their career for two reasons: 1) Roughly half of their career attempts came this past season, and 2) because they didn’t shoot very many threes in previous seasons you don’t get a large enough sample size looking at just one season (other the last year), so comparing last season to their careers, once they began shooting, gives you a comparable sample size and shows they have improved their percentage AND shot more threes. Why you might ask? Because they added it to their arsenal and the put it to use, because what is the point of developing that skill if you aren’t going to use it to the degree that it improves your game?