With a scribble of pen to paper, the Utah Jazz locked up head coach Quin Snyder to a long-term contract extension, keeping 52-year old coach in the Beehive State years beyond the 2020-21 deadline of his previous deal.
This upcoming season will by Snyder’s sixth on the bench for the Jazz. That half decade of head coaching in one place gives him the ninth-longest tenure in the NBA. He’s just a month behind Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
At times it feels like the Snyder era has been going on forever despite its five short years of life. That’s probably because compared to many of the other team’s coaches, he has.
The current average tenure of NBA is 3.6 years. Take out Greg Popovich’s absurd 24-year reign in San Antonio, plus the 12-season spans of Miami’s Erik Spoelstra and Dallas’ Rick Carlisle, and that average plummets to just 2.4 years. Nearly half (14) of the league’s current coaches have been hired since May 2018.
For all the talk of continuity last year with the players (sorry for beating a dead horse on this), but a much forgotten aspect of continuity for Utah has been its head coach. One of the worst parts of the Ty Corbin era was the elongated period of Corbin’s time on the hot seat, something that made the 2013-14 rebuild/tank season all the more confusing and frustrating for die-hard fans sticking with the team and the players who had to live through that experience.
Now, outside of a few outlying and, perhaps, hard-to-please fans, calls for Quin’s head to roll are non-existent.
Culture is one of the most underrated parts of building a championship team. Rare is the franchise that puts together more than one winning season in a short span without a stable front office and locker room. Since joining the team, Snyder has made clear the kind of culture he wants and the moves he and the front office have made fit that vision. The result? Wins.
In his third year, Snyder became only the second Jazz head coach to win 50 games in a season (guess who the other one is). He has a 149-97 record since 2016, the fifth-best mark among coaches in that span. Only Kerr, Popovich, Mike D’Antoni and Brad Stevens have more. Snyder has been a few short steps behind those guys in terms of wins despite lacking much of the same ultra-star talent those coaches had at their disposal.
Utah’s front office is loyal to its coaches, especially those that bring success to the team. That’s something that is being reciprocated by Snyder in both action and word. Just look at what he said after a practice earlier this week about the thought of not coaching the Jazz.
“I think I’d be sick to my stomach if I saw someone else coaching this team.”
Those are the words of a Jazzman through and through.
With the season now upon us, Snyder will get the chance to prove he’s well worth the money Gail Miller is spending on him. Dennis Lindsey and Justin Zanik have pulled some serious wizardry to give Snyder a roster capable of not just winning 50 regular season games, but winning 16 playoff contests on top of that.
And who knows? Maybe Snyder will do something Sloan never could do: Bring a Larry O’Brien Trophy home to Utah.