Quin Snyder

New coach Quin Snyder preaches player development in Utah

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This is why Utah Jazz fans should be happy landing Quin Snyder as your new head coach:

Player development.

The Jazz have some pieces you can start to build around — Trey Burke, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, plus whoever they land with the No. 5 pick in this draft — but you need a coach who can develop them, help them grow into a team. (They also need one superstar player to lead that group, but that’s a different challenge.)

Quin Snyder and Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey have player development in their background together — Lindsey was in the Spurs front office while Snyder coached their affiliated D-League team the Austin Toros. Out of that grew what could work in Utah, something they talked about at their introductory press conference, as reported by the Associated Press.

“We decided with Austin that we would focus of development rather than winning, but what happened is that we developed players and helped the highest number of players matriculate to the NBA during that stretch. We also won a lot of games at the same time,” Lindsey said.

There were some fans who saw the Snyder hire and thought “that guy from Missouri” but he has had an interesting career development arc since then.

“There was a point in my career when I left Missouri when I just wasn’t sure I wanted to continue coaching,” Snyder said. “I had to rediscover my passion for the game over the next few years and I was so fortunate to work with an amazing caliber of coaches…

“I’ve had a chance to work with some of the best minds in basketball,” Snyder said. “It’s humbling to think how I’ve been able to be around those people like Coach K, Coach Pop, R.C. Buford. Through those opportunities, you know what you don’t know. But I’d like to think I took advantage of it.”

He ended up in Atlanta last season with Mike Budenholzer, Popovich’s former lead assistant. He also worked with Doug Collins a couple years ago.

He’s getting a shot in Utah, where there should not be expectations of the playoffs next season (not in the West, anyway). It’s a process. It’s about developing something that can win long term.

“Trust is something that’s earned,” said Snyder…. “It takes time but with players, they always respond when you give yourself to them and help them get better. They then give back to you. Those relationships are what drive player development.”

Add Kobe Bryant to don’t change hack-a-player crowd

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant gestures after hitting a three point shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Associated Press
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LeBron James is already there. So is Kevin Durant. Same with a lot of other old-school GMs and coaches around the league.

Their response to the rapid rise in hack-a-player (shouldn’t it always be hack-a-Shaq?) instances is “tell the guy to hit the free throws.”

Add Kobe Bryant to their ranks, reports Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is starting to feel differently. He realizes he runs an entertainment business and a parade of guys to the free throw line without because of a non-basketball play — you can’t begin to tell me fouling a guy 50 feet from the ball is a basketball play in the spirit of the rules — is bad for that business. It is unwatchable. And while every coach in the NBA “I hate to do it” they all do it with more and more frequency, there will be more than twice as many instances this season as there were a year ago, with more and more players involved. Because it works, and because they are paid to win, not play beautiful basketball.

Change is coming. Old-school types always bemoan change, and that’s not just a basketball thing. But the rest of the world has rules in place to stop this because they realize it’s not basketball, it’s gaming the system. And it needs to change.

Timofey Mozgov with maybe “best” missed dunk of the season (VIDEO)

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On this play the Sacramento Kings played defense like only they can — and you wonder why George Karl’s job is in danger — and gave Cleveland’s Timofey Mozgov a wide-open lane right down the middle for an easy dunk.

Ooof.

LeBron James had a triple-double (the 40th of his career) and the Cavaliers got a needed easy win, but this is the play you’ll remember.

Karl-Anthony Towns with nasty poster dunk on Dante Cunningham (VIDEO)

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Karl-Anthony Towns is a beast.

While the Timberwolves have plenty of question marks around him, but Towns has been exceptional. Coming into Monday night, he was averaging 21.6 points (on 59.9 percent shooting) and 12.7 rebounds a night in his last 10 games.

Then Monday he did that to Dante Cunningham.

The Pelicans went on to win the game 116-102, but Towns continues to play well.

Report: Come 2017, Knicks have real shot to land Russell Westbrook

during the first half of the NBA game at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 8, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
Russell Westbrook
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The summer of 2016 is all about Kevin Durant — and we don’t know what Durant is going to do as a free agent because Durant doesn’t yet know what Durant is going to do as a free agent. Stay in Oklahoma City, bolt to the Bay Area or maybe Washington D.C.? These playoffs, meetings with teams and his advisors, plus personal factors all will play a role in Durant’s decision. Which he will get around to announcing in early July sometime.

But the sense around the league is that while Durant may very well stay in Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook was drawn to the bright lights of big markets. If an elite player were to bolt OKC, this was the more likely guy. Westbrook is a free agent in 2017.

In an article about Phil Jackson and the Knicks in the wake of Derek Fisher’s firing, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports said the Knicks have a real shot at Westbrook in a couple of summers.

The Knicks have a real chance to sell Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook in 2017 – New York and Porzingis have his attention, yes – and Jackson ought to start constructing an elite coaching staff to begin that process with Westbrook and with free agents beyond him.

Come 2017, expect Westbrook to meet with a number of big market teams on both coasts, and then make a decision. The summer of 2017 is a couple of NBA lifetimes away, it’s impossible to say what Westbrook will do (he may well decide to stay in OKC if they win enough), but the big market teams looking for a star will get their turn in the batter’s box.

Which is why I still think Durant signs a 1+1 deal this summer to stay in Oklahoma City for another season — he’s going to give everything another chance to come together for the Thunder, then when the salary cap is at its peak in 2017 (an estimated $108 million) he makes his peak seasons decision. He and Westbrook and Serge Ibaka will all be free agents at the same time, and they can make their calls.

And the Knicks could be involved in all of it.