I don’t really pay attention to it to the extent that I hear it. To be honest, it’s a reflection of my staff maybe as much as anything and the job that they’ve done with our players. —Quin Snyder
LOS ANGELES — Campaigns for Donovan Mitchell to win Rookie of the Year and Rudy Gobert to win Defensive Player of the Year have been launched by the Utah Jazz’s public relations team.
But quietly, among NBA inner circles, Jazz coach Quin Snyder’s name is also in the mix for Coach of the Year.
Whether he gets it or not is a different story, but the fourth-year sideline leader is certainly gaining traction for at the very least some form of consideration.
Prior to Utah’s 112-97 win against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday to clinch a playoff berth, Lakers coach Luke Walton said he admires the job that Snyder is doing with this team and feels he should be in the running for the year-end award.
“He’s done a great job. Quin’s a great coach,” Walton said. “The way they play, the way they move the ball, the way that they defend as a team and obviously they were pretty far out of the playoff picture and (Rudy) Gobert came back from that injury and they’ve been winning at a pretty crazy rate since then.”
To be specific, Utah fell nine games below .500 (19-28) after an embarrassing loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Jan. 22 in Atlanta. Utah has gone on a 28-5 run since then, currently holding the fourth seed in the West with just two games remaining.
Snyder refused to solely take credit for the drastic turnaround throughout the course of the season and says he tries to block out the outside chatter of any individual achievements.
“I don’t really pay attention to it to the extent that I hear it,” Snyder said. “To be honest, it’s a reflection of my staff maybe as much as anything and the job that they’ve done with our players.
“Secondly, maybe more so just a reflection of our team and means the guys and how they’ve played and as a coach you get credit for stuff that you probably don’t have as much to do with because I stand up in front of you guys and talk about the team.”
During the 2016-17 season, Snyder coached the team to a 51-31 season with a playoff appearance after missing the postseason for four straight years.
With the loss of Gordon Hayward through free agency, many people didn’t expect this year’s Jazz team to be in the playoff picture, especially three months ago, but the Jazz are proving naysayers wrong while being led offensively by rookie guard Donovan Mitchell.
Mitchell describes Snyder’s coaching style as stern and upfront. He is one of the main people vouching for Snyder to win the award.
“He deserves it,” Mitchell said. “If you look at everybody in America, no one expected us to be the four seed right now to be honest, and what better way to honor him than to give him the Coach of the Year.”
Since taking over as head coach for Utah in 2014, after years of experience in the NCAA and the NBA D-League, Snyder has compiled a head coaching record of 176-150, but has gone 98-64 over the past two seasons.
At this point, with two regular season games remaining, Snyder doesn’t have time for self analysis just yet, but is certainly aware of what’s happening as he’s soaking in the moment.
Former Jazz coach Frank Layden became the franchise’s lone sideline leader to be named Coach of the Year in 1983-84 after leading the squad to its first-ever playoff appearance.
“I think every year you do this, you learn from your mistakes and hopefully if you’re self aware and you can use opportunities where you made mistakes and you don’t do as good of job as you can and look at those things and try to get better,” Snyder said. “No different than our team. We’re all a work in progress.”