Ranking top 10 NBA coaches: Where Houston Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni lands
6. Quin Snyder-Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz had gone 25-57 in the year before current coach Quin Snyder took over. Over the last three years, the Jazz have gone 149-97 and have finished no worse than the fifth seed in the highly competitive Western Conference. Snyder’s Jazz teams have been built on playing suffocating defense, as they’ve finished no lower than fourth in points allowed in each of the last three years.
In addition, they’ve finished second in defensive rating in each of the last two seasons. The Jazz were expected to have a drop off following the departure of former All-Star Gordon Hayward in 2017, but they finished with the same seeding in the West as they did during Hayward’s final season. Snyder turned Donovan Mitchell into the go-to scorer Hayward was for the team.
One of the best examples of the greatness of Snyder involves Ricky Rubio. Snyder turned Ricky Rubio into one of the top four scorers for the Jazz in each of the last two years, which is no small feat as Rubio was a 10.3 points per game career scorer prior to his arrival in Utah. But Rubio averaged 12.9 points per game for the Jazz and shot 35 percent from three in his first year with the Jazz, which is a career best for Rubio. In addition, Rubio became a much more efficient scorer with the Jazz, as he had his two highest field goal percentages of his career in each of his two years in Utah. Prior to his arrival in Utah, Rubio was a career 37.5 percent scorer, but he shot 41.2 percent from the field in Utah.
Each of the playoff series’ the Jazz won in 2016 and 2017 were actually against teams who had a higher seed than them, as the Los Angeles Clippers had the fourth seed in the 2016-2017 season and the Jazz had the fifth seed. In addition, in the 2017-2018 season, the Jazz defeated Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder who had the fourth seed as well.
Unfortunately for Snyder, they’ve run into a bigger buzzsaw of the Rockets, who have eliminated the Jazz in each of the last two postseasons. But the biggest testament to the greatness of Snyder is the fact that the Jazz haven’t had a single All-Star in either of the last two years yet have averaged 49 wins during the same span. The Jazz were the only team within the top seven of the Western Conference to not have a single All-Star this past season, and were the only Western Conference playoff team to not have a single All-Star. This speaks volumes to the coaching ability of Snyder and his ability to get the most out of this Utah Jazz roster.
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