Quin Snyder was made for the Utah Jazz. Or more accurately, Snyder was made to be an NBA coach.
I know. I’ve followed Snyder for a long time. In fact, I once wrote Snyder a letter. I was in high school. He was a freshman at Duke.
I actually remember Snyder before that. He grew up in Mercer Island, Wash., outside of Seattle. He was a McDonald’s All-American, a 6-foot-2 and 150-pound pogo stick of a point guard who dunked with ease and got straight A’s. That was the mid-1980s.
Anyway, when Snyder landed at Duke, I shipped him off a note. I was being recruited to play college basketball myself, and I asked Snyder for a little advice. I’m not sure why I picked Snyder. But I did — and he responded. He sent back a letter on Duke stationary, along with a Duke bumper sticker and a Duke button, all packaged in a Duke envelope.
Needless to say, I immediately became a Duke fan.
I’m also now a Jazz fan. Honest. I’ve followed Snyder wherever he’s gone. Maybe not closely, and maybe without letting him know. And no, he’s never been a "source." In fact, I could tell Snyder all of this, and I’m sure he wouldn’t remember. He’s had a lot of stuff happen in his basketball life.
I just like the fact that he’s stayed with the game. I’m just glad I got to stay with the game, too. It’s men like Snyder, men who love basketball and refuse to leave its side, men who I wanted to be like as a boy, that keep this game great.
Snyder has been everywhere. Scouts said he had NBA potential as a player when he came out of college. He apparently had little interest. He instead got into coaching. He was an assistant under Larry Brown with the Clippers, and Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, and Doug Collins with the 76ers, and on and on it went.
Last year, he assisted Mike Budenholzer with the Hawks, a team that valued making the extra pass. You can be sure the Jazz will improve in the assist department (where they ranked 26th in the league last season) under Snyder.
Anyway, this really isn’t a column so much as a memoir. It’s something you probably don’t care about — but something I wanted to write, anyway.
My job is to cover primarily the Cleveland Cavaliers, but also the entire NBA. So I root for no one, yet I root for everyone. I root for basketball. I root for players and people.
As a so-called "insider" it’s easy to get away from the fan part of me. Sometimes, I have no choice but to get away from it. The job demands it. But it exists, and it’s why I ever got involved with what I do in the first place. I was a basketball addict long before I became a basketball writer.
So, sometimes, I remember why I came to love this game in the first place. A lot of it was because of personalities like Snyder.
He’s a good man, a smart coach, and I have no doubt he’ll be a success. He was made for this job.
Along with Snyder, there’s plenty to like about the Jazz. Trey Burke proved to be an up-and-coming point guard with a fantastic future in his first season. Big man Derrick Favors is on the rise and plays with a winning edge. Ditto for leading scorer and swingman Gordon Hayward. And hopes are high for shooting guard Alec Burks.
Snyder will have some nice pieces. The Jazz also have the No. 5 overall pick in the draft. I don’t suspect they’ll make the playoffs next year, not as is anyway – but sometimes staying together and waiting your turn is the best plan of attack. Plus, it should be fun watching the nucleus of the Jazz getting to where they want to go.
By the way, welcome to the column. It’s called the Amico Report and it’s new (sort of). It will be posted each Sunday, starting today. Yes, even in the NBA’s offseason.
I will have plenty of news and notes and "rumors" and "insider" pieces throughout the week, and depending on the time of year, perhaps daily.
This will never be one of those columns. The purpose of this is to celebrate basketball. If you don’t like that, and you prefer a little dirt, hey, no problem. Just move along. This isn’t for you.
This is for folks who LOVE the game. If you’re one of those people, awesome. Glad to have you. Let’s have some fun.
More on Melo
Well, it sounds like Carmelo Anthony will opt out of contract with the Knicks. That’s his right. I don’t always like it — but that’s the way contracts are set up these days.
In all honesty, it might be cool to see what Carmelo could do next to Dwight Howard and James Harden in Houston, or a healthy Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in Chicago. (Or as I suggested on Twitter, in Cleveland with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James.)
I expressed my sentiments about this, a little, on Twitter. I said Anthony should accept some of the blame for the Knicks’ issues. I suggested stars like Anthony and the Timberwolves’ Kevin Love should man up and quit looking for new teams all the time.
Remember, Anthony got himself traded from Denver. He is the one that wanted to come to New York in the first place. No one forced him.
Now, things can get misunderstood on Twitter. For the most part, Twitter is stupid. I often end up defending points that I’m not sure I believe, simply because some college kid who can’t get a girlfriend misconstrued what I intended to say. And then we argue.
So a lot of what I tweeted about Anthony got lost in the idiocy of Twitter.
Here is what I meant: Carmelo has every right to do what he wants. Opt out, opt in, whatever. I’ve crossed paths with him a few times. He’s a really good dude. So do whatever, Melo. I could actually care less.
But just once, man, I would love to hear a guy own up to things. I would love to hear a guy who can opt out say, "I’m a New York Knick. Come at me."
That’s all I’m saying. A little loyalty, a little pride, a little less looking for the easy way out. And a little less praise from fans and media for guys who keep switching teams.
— For the record, the only time I get really mad about basketball is when I’m on Twitter. Read: You’ll be seeing a lot less of me on there. OK, probably not. I’ll probably just keep torturing myself. You know it, and so do I.
— Does anyone else absolutely love this time of year? It’s the NBA draft, followed by free agency, followed by summer league, and this summer, followed by the world championships.
— After about eight years off, I just started played basketball five nights a week, sometimes seven, and at my age, that’s a major accomplishment. A lot of times, it’s full-court five-on-five with guys half my age. When it’s not that, I’m putting up 200 shots a day. Come at me.
— The reason I bring this up is because I’m spending part of the summer driving around the country and playing on different outdoor courts. If you know of a good place to play near you (city and state don’t matter), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll write about it here if I visit.
— Cavs guard Matthew Dellavedova went undrafted, yet was one of the top rookies of the 2013 class. Here are some guys who could do something similar (go undrafted, then contribute in the NBA) in 2014: Michael Mayer, 6-9, C, Williams (N.C.); Billy Baron, 6-2, G, Canisius; Patrick Miller, 6-0, G, Tennessee State; Bryce Cotton, 6-1, G, Providence; Kendrick Perry, 6-0, G, Youngstown State; Shawn Glover, 6-7, F/G, Oral Roberts; Aaric Murray, 6-10, C, Texas-San Antonio.
— Thanks a ton for reading and have a super awesome day.