I’m going to say something rude that I believe to be true: Despite the fact that they have been near the top of the Western Conference standings for more than half a decade and employ some highly skilled basketball players, there is no successful team in the NBA that non-local fans spend less time thinking about than the Utah Jazz. Because what is there to really dig into? They kick ass in the regular season and then flame out in the playoffs; Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are kind of sour personalities who don’t really seem to like each other that much; Quin Snyder has a very intense face. All of these things have been apparent for several years now, and there’s not much more to say or think about any of it.
Nobody told that to Snyder, though. Having apparently never heard of the Streisand Effect, he delivered a long, tortured, and at-times pathetic monologue to media members before last night’s victory over the Grizzlies. What did Snyder want to talk about at such great length? Well, like all people who are in total control of their environment and unthreatened by any outside forces or opinions, he wanted to address many of the false narratives about his team that have recently been propagated by irresponsible haters and losers.
Snyder was specifically fired up about two statistics that members of the local media had recently seized upon, one of which illustrated how many fourth-quarter leads the Jazz have blown this year, and the other showing that Mitchell hardly ever passes the ball to Gobert. Again, these are things I would wager nobody outside of Utah has spent much time thinking or forming an opinion about, and these are the sorts of storylines that swirl around basically every NBA team at some point during a season. Savvy coaches and players across the league are adept at brushing aside questions about poor performance or internal discord (We’re not too concerned with what people outside of our team think. All that matters to us is everyone in this locker room is on the same page, etc.), because nothing good ever comes out of getting defensive.
Different coaches have different philosophies for handling the media, but it’s hard to find anything useful in the head coach of a perennially successful team rambling for nearly 20 minutes in an attempt to refute some mildly critical coverage from the local media. I can’t in good conscience recommend listening to Snyder’s entire spiel, but it really is one of the funniest things to come out of this entire NBA season.
Here, for example, is part of what Snyder had to say about his team’s poor performances in the fourth quarter:
Regarding squandered fourth-quarter leads, I think we can all agree that a 10-point lead in the first quarter is different than a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. Um, so out of 10 games, right, and you guys correct me if I’m wrong, seven times we’ve lost—I’m sorry, 10 times we’ve lost the lead, right? Double-digit leads. Help me out Derek [someone, presumably Derek, says something away from the mic]. Seven times. Is that correct, in the fourth quarter? OK, you guys can look at this if you want, but we’re 3-4 in those games. That’s 43 percent, right? Is that correct? Boston is 2-3. They’ve just done it five times and we’ve done it seven. And they’re 2-3, so they’re at a 40-percent mark, so I guess what I’m trying to say is you could also look at this and say, we lost the lead, right, and we got it back. Three times out of seven, which maybe that means we’re a resilient team.
Quin, my man, no thank you! This is an argument so half-baked that I don’t even think the most partisan SB Nation blogger or message board denizen would feel comfortable making it. You are the head coach of an NBA franchise, man. You can’t just go out there and fire off takes that even @Gobert4MVP69 would be too ashamed to post.
Snyder went to even more ridiculous lengths while trying to prove that Mitchell actually passes the ball to Gobert the proper number of times each game, and though I don’t have the stamina to transcribe that entire segment of his argument here, I will say that it involved comparing Mitchell and Gobert to Trae Young and Clint Capela, for some reason, and eventually ended with Snyder saying, “The inference there is that [Mitchell] doesn’t pass to [Gobert], and there’s a problem between the two of them—those aren’t illogical jumps, come on. So, I haven’t seen that. I haven’t seen that at all. They sit at the same table when they eat sometimes.”
They sit at the same table when they eat sometimes. Incredible. Perfect. I cannot wait for that quote to be resurfaced over and over again after the Jazz get booted in the second round of the playoffs and Mitchell demands a trade.