Jazz fans are well acquainted with disappointment when it comes to NBA postseason awards, especially the annual Coach of the Year honor. I would be remiss if I did not remind the multiverse at this juncture that Jerry Sloan NEVER won the thing. Which is an unspeakable miscarriage of justice and will one day require a wrathful and altogether righteous judgment on the heads of the plebeians who failed to vote for him at any point between 1990 and 2004.
Still, it's not entirely their fault. Because everyone knows the Coach of the Year award is not necessarily intended to honor the "best" coaching job performed that season in the NBA. Or at least, that isn't always the end result. It's more like the Coach Whose Team Overachieved In An Unexpected Way, Often In The Coach's First Year With The Team award.
...it's a little wordy. I guess I'm not surprised they decided to stick with Coach of the Year.
Anyway, this year's winner was announced over the weekend. It's Mike Budenholzer, head coach of the East #1 seed Atlanta Hawks and former boss of our very own Quin Snyder. And hey -- look who's RIGHT THERE in the "others receiving votes" category!
Atlanta's Mike Budenholzer wins NBA coach of the year; Jazz coach Quin Snyder finishes eighth in voting. http://t.co/OcBCWuch4C— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) April 21, 2015
(Side note: How great is it to have Jody back on the Jazz beat? Answer: SO GREAT.)
If you're curious, you can click the link in that tweet to view the full voting breakdown. Coach Snyder received one second-place vote, from Bob Rathbun (a Hawks TV guy), and four third-place votes, from the aforementioned Jody G, David Mayo (a Pistons beat writer), ESPN.com's Kevin Arnovitz, and the indefatigable Ron Boone. (All five, by the way, had Budenholzer as the winner.)
So out of nearly 130 top-3 ballots, Snyder appeared on a grand total of five. Seems low, no?
Let's look at the competition:
|Name||COY points||Team's 2013-14 Record||2014-15 record|
|Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta||513||38-44||60-22 (+22)|
|Steve Kerr, Golden State||471||51-31||67-15 (+16)|
|Jason Kidd, Milwaukee||57||15-67||41-41 (+26)|
|Brad Stevens, Boston||50||25-57||40-42 (+15)|
|Gregg Popovich, San Antonio||38||62-20||55-27 (-7)|
|Kevin McHale, Houston||13||54-28||56-26 (+2)|
|Tom Thibodeau, Chicago||10||48-34||50-32 (+2)|
|Quin Snyder, Utah||7||25-57||38-44 (+13)|
|David Blatt, Cleveland||3||33-49||53-29 (+20)|
Obviously, there are other factors to consider beyond wins and losses, and even those aren't entirely on the head coach. But according to our previously established assumption -- that the Coach of the Year award tends to go to the coach of the team that outperformed expectations by the greatest degree -- it makes more sense that Snyder placed eighth.
I admit that I didn't realize until writing this that five other teams had greater year-over-year improvements than the Jazz this season. Some of those include mitigating factors -- Cleveland got LeBron back, Golden State was already on the cusp of excellence (and made the addition-by-subtraction change of ditching Mark Jackson), and the other three teams are in the East. Still, as dramatic as Utah's turnaround feels, seeing that table above gives a bit more perspective. To me, anyway.
Having said all that...I still think Snyder should probably slot somewhere around fourth. Get McHale and Thibodeau out of there. Kerr deserves a ton of credit, but the Warriors were already good. Pop is the league's best coach overall, but the Spurs took a step back. And I'm not giving Stevens or Kidd too much credit for steering their teams to low-seed booby prizes in the tank-tastic East.
Honestly, I've probably devoted about 10 times more words to this than it deserves. It's a silly award, poorly named and misjudged. Quin Snyder got eighth. He probably deserved a little better, but that's life as a Jazz fan. (We don't have persecution complexes for nothing.)
Okay, no more whining. Amar gave you an update on the ol' Mock Draftery yesterday, but here's the latest from ESPN's Chad Ford:
12. Kevon Looney, Utah Jazz
Jazz's chances of winning lottery: 0.7 percent
The Jazz will probably be pinching themselves if somehow Looney lands here. He was widely regarded by scouts as a top-5 pick most of the year, but an uneven finish for him began to worry scouts about his NBA readiness and position. Still, it's tough to find many players with his combination of skills, length and versatility. He reminds me a bit of a young Lamar Odom and should be perfect backing up both Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward in Utah.
Ford's had the Jazz taking Looney for weeks, even when it looked like we would be drafting several spots higher. I haven't done my due diligence in researching draft prospects yet...but I guess that's what the doldrums of the next two months are for.
FanPosts! First, Combojazz puts "my money where my mouth is":
My wife and I have a yearly tradition when I bet on who the Jazz will draft, and she takes the field. I won in previous years when I predicted us getting Trey Burke (we made the bet before his stock rose in the tournament), and when I predicted Alec Burks.
Given my prowess (Not mentioning all the times I'm wrong--which is every other year ever), I should go with Kevin Durant this year, and see what happens.
But I won't do that. After two years of nailing predictions that were about as likely to get right as making a backwards-facing granny shot from half court, it's time to try to be smart. To jinx myself, I'm posting my prediction here, raising a litter of black cats, building a shrine to Greg Foster, smashing random mirrors in gas-station bathrooms, and pushing over ladders (is that right?).
Now the prediction...
BTork asks whether the Jazz can build their own star, or need to buy one:
Historically, the Jazz have never bought a Star like a Micheal Jordan or a Lebron James they have been content to find the diamonds in the rough to fill key needs at key moments.
I think that the Jazz should stick with Building, Gordon, Rudy and Derrick make a great foundation for a dynamic offense. Gordon is emerging as the Jazz leader, Rudy the Defensive General, and Derrick is the reliable 20 &10 player.
I think these players are the foundation for the future of the Utah Jazz and a great foundation to build upon.
And its_computers drops science, "mathmeckily":
in my mind, the Jazz were competitive from game 43 on, roughly half the season. fwiw, game 43 was the win in Milwaukee on 22 January. game 51 was the win against Sacramento on 7 February. the point is that the post all-star winning streak didn't surprise us as much as it did national writers, because we saw a sort of pre-streak materializing in the games leading up to the all-star break and the Kanter trade.
Lots of graphs in that one, so click through. Thanks, y'all!
Two quickies. First, behold Rudy Gobert and Ian Clark, tweeting in French:
Avoir une journée productive!— Ian Clark (@IanClark) April 21, 2015
C'est bien entraine toi fils. https://t.co/CFAvQXUGCe— rudy gobert (@rudygobert27) April 21, 2015
Twitter's Bing-powered translation tool presents these as: "Have a productive day!" and "It is well trained you son." I...don't speak French, but I get the gist. Feel free to provide a more accurate translation in the comments.
Hey, guess who figured out how to embed NBA videos? Turns out you just have to use the Facebook version. Anyway, here's Rodney Hood highlights:
2014-15 Season Highlights: Rodney HoodPosted by Utah Jazz on Tuesday, April 21, 2015