Quin Snyder

Tom Thibodeau Named Coach Of The Year

Tom Thibodeau has been named Coach of the Year, according to a league press release.

Thibodeau guided the Knicks to their first postseason appearance since the 2012/13 season. The Knicks finished the regular season with a 41-31 record, ending a string of seven consecutive losing seasons. They were 21-45 last season and 17-65 in 2018/19.

It’s the second Coach of the Year award for Thibodeau, who also earned the honor in the 2010/11 season with the Bulls in his first season as a head coach.  No one had previously won the award in his first season with two different franchises.

Suns coach Monty Williams actually received more first-place votes (45) than Thibodeau (43). However, Thibodeau earned 351 total points while Williams had 340 points.  The 11-point difference between the first- and second-place finishers was the smallest margin since the voting format was introduced in the 2002/03 season.

The Jazz‘s Quin Snyder finished third with 161 points (10 first-place votes). Four other coaches received votes — Doc Rivers (Sixers), Nate McMillan (Hawks), Steve Nash (Nets), and Michael Malone (Nuggets).

Thibodeau is the first Knicks coach since Pat Riley (1992/93) to win the award.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell, Snyder, Fan Incidents

In limited minutes, Jazz All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell looked like his old self Thursday night, his first game back since spraining his right ankle on April 16, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Mitchell scored 25 points in 26 minutes of game action.

The 24-year-old’s return to the floor helped galvanize the Jazz. Utah ultimately beat the Grizzlies 141-129 to knot their first-round series at 1-1.

“I felt better than I anticipated, and as a whole, I think the biggest thing as a team is we did a lot of good things tonight … so it made my job easier,” Mitchell said of his return to the Jazz. “I didn’t have to come in and just do everything. I was able to find my spots and attack. And kind of just do what I do. And my teammates made it really easy for me.” 

There’s more out of Utah:

  • Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune examines the circuitous journey Jazz head coach Quin Snyder undertook before landing in Utah. Snyder had stints with the now-Austin Spurs of the G League (then the Austin Toros of the D League), the Sixers, the Lakers, CSKA Moscow, and the Hawks. He began his journey from the college ranks to the pros in a cross-country adventure in a 2002 Volkswagen Eurovan, after his seven-year tenure as the men’s basketball head coach for Missouri ended in 2006. “I was in North Carolina living by myself, I had a great black Lab, and I was trying to figure out, kind of, ‘What next?’ And, the (next) question is, ‘Where?’ And ‘What?’” Snyder said. “And I came to the conclusion that, really, it was like, ‘Anywhere,’ because it really didn’t matter at that point. And it was a little bit of ‘Anything.’ I wasn’t sure I wanted to coach again.”
  • During the Jazz’s Game 2 victory over the Grizzlies, Vivint Arena security ejected three fans for unruly verbal behavior directed toward the parents of star Memphis point guard Ja Morant, writes Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The team has banned the individuals from Utah’s home arena indefinitely.
  • A Utah judge has rejected a $100MM lawsuit filed by two other Jazz fans against Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook and the Jazz, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The fans, who claimed defamation and infliction of emotional stress in their suit, had also been banned indefinitely for comments and taunts directed towards Westbrook, then with the Thunder, in a March 2019 Jazz game.

Finalists For Major 2020/21 NBA Awards Announced

During a TNT broadcast ahead of tonight’s Wizards-Pacers play-in matchup, the finalists for six big end-of-season 2020/21 awards were announced. Here is the full list, as voted on by reporters.

NBA Most Valuable Player:

NBA Defensive Player of the Year:

NBA Rookie of the Year:

NBA Most Improved Player:

NBA Sixth Man of the Year:

NBA Coach of the Year:

  • Quin Snyder (Jazz)
  • Tom Thibodeau (Knicks)
  • Monty Williams (Suns)

Some of these current contenders are familiar with the hardware they’re up for again. Curry is a two-time MVP, having won the award previously in 2015 and 2016. Gobert and Green have both previously won Defensive Player of the Year awards — Green in 2017 and Gobert in 2018 and 2019. Thibodeau was voted Coach of the Year a decade ago while with the Bulls.

The winners for the awards will be announced during the 2020/21 NBA playoffs.

Monty Williams Wins Coaches Association Award

Suns head coach Monty Williams has won the 2020/21 Michael H. Goldberg award, as voted on by the National Basketball Coaches Association, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

This award, introduced in 2017 and named after longtime NBCA executive director Michael H. Goldberg, is voted on by the NBA’s 30 head coaches, none of whom can vote for himself. However, it isn’t the NBA’s official Coach of the Year award, which is voted on by media members and is represented by the Red Auerbach Trophy. The winner of that award will be announced later in the year.

Williams earned the Coaches Association’s award after leading the Suns to a 51-21 record, good for second in the NBA. The club had the league’s sixth-ranked defense and seventh-ranked offense, Wojnarowski notes.

The Suns, who were 19-63 in 2018/19, became just the fifth team in NBA history to improve by at least 15 games in back-to-back seasons, per Woj. Williams accomplished that feat in his first two years in Phoenix despite dealing with pandemic-shortened seasons, making the feat even more impressive.

According to Wojnarowski, Scott Brooks (Wizards), Michael Malone (Nuggets), Nate McMillan (Hawks), Doc Rivers (Sixers), Quin Snyder (Jazz), and Tom Thibodeau (Knicks) were among the other coaches who received votes.

The previous winners of this award are as follows:

  • 2020: Mike Budenholzer and Billy Donovan
  • 2019: Mike Budenholzer
  • 2018: Dwane Casey
  • 2017: Mike D’Antoni and Erik Spoelstra

Community Shootaround: Western All-Stars

Voting for the NBA’s All-Star starters has now closed, and the league will reveal on TNT on Thursday night the 10 players who have been named starters for this year’s game, with an announcement on the All-Star reserves to follow next Tuesday.

Before that happens, we want to get your take on which 24 players deserve to make this year’s All-Star Game, starting today in the Western Conference.

This year’s Western Conference All-Stars, who will be represented by Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN, have six clear frontrunners for the five starting spots.

Lakers star LeBron James, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, and Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard are the odds-on favorites to claim the three frontcourt openings, while Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic will vie for the two backcourt spots.

While it remains to be seen which five players will earn starting spots, it’s safe to say that all six will safely make the team. That leaves six other spots up for grabs.

The general consensus among Marc Stein of The New York Times, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, and Josh Robbins of The Athletic – all of whom made their picks this week – is that four of those spots will be claimed by Anthony Davis, Paul George, and the Jazz duo of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, which would make sense, given those players’ importance to the top three clubs in the conference.

After that, there’s little consensus. Stein and Robbins have Jazz guard Mike Conley nabbing one of the last two spots, while Stein and O’Connor each penciled in Suns guard Chris Paul. O’Connor also has Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander making his team, while Robbins opted for Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan.

Suns guard Devin Booker, Pelicans forwards Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, Rockets big man Christian Wood, and Grizzlies guard Ja Morant all merited consideration and/or honorable mention from Stein, O’Connor, and Robbins. Beyond that, it’s hard to find legitimate candidates whose cases haven’t been hurt by injuries or COVID-19, as is the case for Blazers guard CJ McCollum, among others.

Following the format of four guards, six frontcourt players, and two wild cards, my picks would be Curry, Doncic, LeBron, Jokic, and Kawhi in the starting lineup, with Lillard, Mitchell, Davis, George, Gobert, Paul, and DeRozan on the bench. If Davis remains sidelined through the All-Star break due to his calf injury, picking a frontcourt player to replace him would be tricky, but for now I’d lean toward Williamson.

What do you think? Which 12 Western Conference players would be on your All-Star squad for the 2020/21 season?

Head to the comment section below to weigh in!

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Porter Jr., Clarkson, Prigioni

Adding a new starter to the Nuggets lineup via a trade is an unlikely scenario, according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic. Continuity has been one of Denver’s strength and a big trade would force the team to make the pieces fit at a time when other contenders are finding their footing, Kosmider continues. Playing Michael Porter Jr. remains a priority for the organization, Kosmider adds, and in a way he can be considered that major new addition.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Porter got his first start on Sunday due to injuries and thrived, posting 19 points and six rebounds. Porter has already seen action at shooting guard and both forward spots and is learning the plays from all three positions, Christopher Dempsey of the team’s website notes. “It’s tough, but that’s what the great players do,” Porter said. “LeBron (James) knows where everybody on the court is supposed to be at all times, offensively and defensively. So, that’s where I want to be.”
  • Jazz coach Quin Snyder had inquired about and expressed interest in obtaining Jordan Clarkson during the offseason, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune relays. Snyder was intrigued by Clarkson’s shot-making and playmaking despite the guard’s  penchant for freelancing out of the system, Walden adds. Clarkson was acquired from Cleveland a week ago in the first NBA trade since mid-July.
  • Assistant coach and former NBA player Pablo Prigioni has made his mark with Timberwolves players due to his frenetic style, as Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. “He takes Red Bull out there or something,” guard Jeff Teague told Hine. “He’s always up and at it, running around. He can run all day, doesn’t get tired. … He’s crazy.”

Western Notes: Crowder, Lakers, Holiday, Bates-Diop

Former Jazz forward Jae Crowder took time this week to discuss his time with the team, detailing the close friendships he made and the impact head coach Quin Snyder had on him.

Crowder, who was acquired by the Grizzlies last July, also discussed Memphis’ slow start to the 2019/20 season in an interview with Aaron Falk of Jazz.com.

“We’ve come out on the losing end, so obviously we’re not where we want to be but we’re figuring it out,” Crowder said. “We’re competing at a high level and trying to do what it takes to win games. At this level, with a young team, it’s just hard to win games. We’re learning from our losses and wins and trying to build every day.”

The Jazz traded for Crowder in February of 2018, giving the 29-year-old roughly one-and-a-half seasons with the franchise. He averaged 11.9 points in 80 games for the team last season, quickly gaining respect from the fans and confidence from the coaching staff.

“He just gave me a mindset that added on to fueling my fire,” Crowder said of Snyder. “To always compete at a high level and always embrace wherever you’re at in life. He gave me a role on that team and I’m appreciative of him. I’ve told him that personally. I appreciate him believing in me, believing in my effort and coaching me the way that he coached me.”

There’s more from the Western Conference today:

  • The Lakers tied a team record on Friday for the best start in franchise history, extending their current record to 17-2. The team recorded their 10th straight win with a victory over Washington, led by the likes of Anthony Davis (26 points, 13 rebounds) and LeBron James (23 points, 11 assists). “Obviously, this is a historic franchise; they have done so many great things,” Davis said, as relayed by Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. “To be a part of a franchise like this is definitely amazing. I just want to leave my mark here and just keep it going. Obviously, our goal is to add another banner here. It’s something we feel like we can do, and if we do that, to be a part of that would be nothing but great.”
  • Andre Iguodala, one of the league’s all-time great defenders, has tabbed Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday as the best defensive player in the NBA today. “Best defender in the league… @Jrue_Holiday11”, Iguodala wrote on social media. Holiday is consistently mentioned as one of the toughest defenders in the NBA, with the 29-year-old making the All-Defensive Second Team in 2019 and All-Defensive First Team in 2018.
  • Timberwolves forward Keita Bates-Diop is slowly but surely forcing his way into the team’s rotation, Chris Hine writes for the Star Tribune. Bates-Diop, 23, was drafted 48th overall in 2018 by the Wolves after spending four seasons at Ohio State. He’s averaged 8.9 points in seven games (17.9 MPG) this season.

Jazz, Quin Snyder Agree To Long-Term Extension

The Jazz have reached an agreement with Quin Snyder on a long-term contract extension for their head coach, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

While the exact terms of the new deal aren’t known, Wojnarowski hears from sources that Snyder still had two years left on his current contract and that his new extension will tack on multiple years beyond that.

Snyder, who took over as Utah’s head coach before the 2014/15 season, has guided the team to a playoff spot in each of the last three seasons, winning two postseason series during that stretch. In total, he has a 227-183 (.554) regular-season record with the Jazz.

Having traded for Mike Conley and signed Bojan Bogdanovic during the offseason, the Jazz are looking to make a deeper playoff run next spring. After upgrading their roster, locking up Snyder to a longer-term deal was a “top organizational priority,” according to Wojnarowski.

Dwane Casey Chosen Coach Of Year

Dwane Casey was named the league’s Coach of the Year at the NBA’s second annual awards show.

This continues the awkwardness of Casey getting a top coaching award for his efforts with a franchise that fired him after the playoffs. He was let go by the Raptors after they were swept by the Cavaliers. His peers at the National Basketball Coaches Association also named him their Coach of the Year days before he fired.

He was named the Pistons’ new head coach earlier this month.

The Jazz’s Quin Snyder and Celtics’ Brad Stevens were the other finalists. The Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni earned the honor the previous season.

Finalists For NBA Awards Announced

The top three finalists for each of this year’s NBA awards are being released on tonight’s TNT pre-game show. The trophies will be presented June 25 at the league’s official awards show.

Here’s an ongoing list that we will update as the candidates are announced, along with links to our staff’s picks for each honor:

Rookie of the Year

Hoops Rumors Analysis: ROY


Most Improved Player

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MIP


Sixth Man of the Year

Hoops Rumors Analysis: Sixth Man


Coach of the Year

  • Dwane Casey (Raptors)
  • Quin Snyder (Jazz)
  • Brad Stevens (Celtics)

Hoops Rumors Analysis: COY


Defensive Player of the Year

Hoops Rumors Analysis: DPOY


Most Valuable Player

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MVP