When Gordon Hayward left EnergySolutions Arena last year at Locker clear-out, he was a frustrated man. For the first time, he had voiced specific frustration about the offense. Hayward talked about a lack of tempo and a lack of space.
Today, Hayward voiced that he hopes those things have changed.
“With the spacing it makes everything easier on us,” Hayward said. “Things aren’t going to be as crowded, we aren’t going to be as down-to-the-wire on the shot clock where you have to make a play 1-on-1 to get a shot off. I envision something where the ball is moving around so much that you are getting a shot, or you attack or make a pass. It’s going to make the decision-making easier.”
Last year, the Jazz used 33% of their possessions in the final 10 seconds of the shot clock—the most of any team in the NBA. This year, Quin Snyder has talked about playing with pace. The pace is not only moving the ball up the floor quickly to get into the offense, but also making plays and decisions with alacrity. The vision is that with this pace the Jazz can get an edge and then continue to exploit more and more as the possession develops.
Quin Snyder revealed a phrase with the media today that his players will hear time and time again this season: “obvious unselfishness.”
“The biggest thing I have asked from them is to be unselfish—to have obvious unselfishness, to have it resonate with people that have watched us practice,” Snyder said.
Each of the last two days have had great examples of “obvious unselfishness.” Yesterday in the 4-on-4 setting, Derrick Favors took a pass off the pick-and-roll on the right side of the lane. Favors caught it in traffic in the lane and rather than forcing the shot, he immediately moved the pass to the corner for a wide open 3-pointer. For Snyder, that is “obvious unselfishness.”
Today, the Jazz were playing a high-intensity 5-on-5 where the defense must get three straight stops. The defense accomplished this on a missed three attempt by Rodney Hood, but Snyder was ecstatic about the play Enes Kanter had just made.
Kanter caught the ball on the left block and started a move to the middle. However, the space evaporated. Kanter, who had only eight assists as a rookie and averaged 0.9 per game last year, fired the ball to the top of the key to Hood for a wide-open look. It was “obvious unselfishness.”
Today was officially Day 1 for the players, but for Quin Snyder and his coaching staff it represented several months of work coming to fruition.
From the moment Snyder took over as the Utah Jazz head coach, his staff has been working tirelessly to be prepared for today’s practice and the rest of training camp.
“We have worked at it pretty hard. I felt it was important for our staff to really, really have a strong command of what we want to teach and what I want to see,” Snyder said. “The level of intensity and the juice you bring into the gym, that to me is hugely important for our players to feel that when we start. To have a really clear picture of how we want to do things allows [the coaches] to be passionate in teaching it. If you are little gray then it is hard to be as demanding.”
The “clear picture of how we want to do things” started with a multi-day coaching retreat in which the staff dissected every aspect of the game and how they would teach it. The retreat included team-building moments, but was dominated by endless hours of basketball coaching philosophy.
From there the group spent hours debating and the ins and outs of how they would teach. The went from the meeting rooms down to the hardwood, breaking down the tiniest details of spacing, pick angles and more.
Most recently, Snyder had his coaches prepare scouting reports for FIBA teams and take the other coaches through a film session and a shootaround for this “practice” scouting report. Snyder says the details got down to what to capitalize and what to boldface in your reports.
This work came to fruition today as Snyder and his staff ran the players through a briskly paced practice that incorporated somewhere from 15 to 20 stations.
Universally, the players were impressed. All of them mentioned the quick pace when speaking to the media after their practice had ended. The words “details,” “pace,” and “intention” were used consistently as the players described the coaches’ approach to the first practice of training camp.
The yearly NBA rookie survery is out—here’s a LINK.
Jazz rookies Danté Exum and Rodney Hood showed up in the following manners …
- Hood got a vote for Rookie of the Year and a vote for best career.
- Hood got a vote for best shooter.
- Exum ranked #4 for best playmaker (behind Tyler Ennis, Kyle Anderson and Marcus Smart).