SALT LAKE CITY — They’ve become somewhat mythical around the NBA.
Even Quin Snyder couldn’t resist smiling when describing his fabled three-hour practices as “urban legend.”
Before Day 2 of training camp in Salt Lake City, an interview of former Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward surfaced online where he explained the difference between his current Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens compared to previous coaches of his career.
“He wasn’t going to scream at you or yell at you, he seemed pretty logical with how he did things as far as practices were concerned,” Hayward told the Pardon My Take Podcast. “You know we’re not going to run you into the ground for three hours because you have to play this weekend and then I also want you to be good in March, too, which I thought was pretty cool.”
Whether or not that was an indirect shot at Snyder, his former coach, or very well a harmless statement will likely never be revealed publicly, but it didn’t sit well with Jazz fans on social media.
Especially after Denver Nuggets forward Trey Lyles, another 2015 Utah Jazz draft pick, drew national attention for ripping Snyder’s long practices last season on the Road Trippin’ Podcast.
“See, we had practice every day (under Quin Snyder). I thought I was in Kentucky again,” Lyles grumbled to ex-Jazz player Richard Jefferson.
“You had practice every day?” Jefferson responded, sarcastically. “Oh, sorry for making you work hard. Sorry. What’s wrong with working hard, Trey?”
“I didn’t say nothing about working hard,” Lyles said. “Three-hour practices? C’mon now.”
In any event, Snyder used his platform Wednesday to clear up any misconception of him holding these long practices, where players are on the court for the entire three hours. Wednesday’s first of the two-a-day sessions went a couple hours while Monday’s first session actually went 90 minutes.
“We believe in working,” Snyder said. “That’s why people that have played in our program have gotten better. That’s the correlation but a lot of the time that we spend in the gym is player development-oriented. My first year, obviously we won 25 games the year before so you have a younger team.
“We do what our team needs,” he added. “We had a team last year that didn’t need to practice much. We stopped having shootarounds and our practices this year in camp have been short.”
Contrary to popular belief, Snyder said most practices also involve pre and post-practice recovery, film work, activation, and healthy eating in addition to on-court scrimmages and drills. Things have changed since Snyder first arrived in 2014, Hayward’s fifth season, to a team that finished 25-57 the previous year.
“This three-hour thing, I’m thinking there’s maybe something behind that,” Snyder said. “The time that we spend in the gym, one of the things that’s great about where we are right now as a program, I think our chef is the best restaurant in Salt Lake.
“So we want a place where the guys are comfortable being and we have guys that like each other and enjoy being around each other,” he continued. “We have players that have great relationships with staff members and strength and conditioning so the fact that our guys are putting time in to get better and stay healthy is something that we really feel like is the strength of the program in the way guys work and how purposefully they do it.”
“We try to give them every amenity or every opportunity to be better.”