Search for Utah Jazz Chief Internship will point in the direction of the franchise

Over eight years ago, the Utah Jazz hired a young, under-the-radar coach from Mercer Island, Washington. At the time, this coach, who stopped in Atlanta, Moscow, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Austin, Texas, had a head coaching experience at the NBA level. He entered a new role, in a new setting, with the Utah Jazz hoping to carve out a new path toward title contention.

Today, that under-the-radar coach, Quinn Snyder, is leaving the organization as one of the most respected and appreciated coaches in the NBA. In his eight years, he helped restructure and rebuild the identity and culture of the crumbling team in Utah, and led one of the most successful five-year basketball spells in jazz history. Although he did not fly any banners during his tenure, Snyder left this organization after leading some of the best basketball teams Utah has seen since the late 1990s.

With his passing, the Jazz team find themselves in a situation less similar to their last coaching hunt than you might think. Like the 2013-2014 season, the jazz band is now looking for a new sense of direction: They need a new voice to help guide a roster struggling to find its own culture and identity. They need a new voice to help chart a new path toward competing for the championship once again.

Rob Gray – USA TODAY Sports

But unlike the hiring process eight years ago, today’s trajectory toward NBA immortality looks much more murky. They miss recruiting choices, young players with untapped potential, and perhaps most of all, time. Since their first-round loss to the Dallas Mavericks (and perhaps as backwards as their playoff loss to the Los Angeles Clippers), the timer has begun to undo Donovan Mitchell’s tenure with the Utah Jazz. After writer representing CAA Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the Civil Aviation Authority that represented Mitchell is currently feeling “concerned” and “unstable” with the current situation in Utah, it is clear that the young star and his agency have already begun to take a stand for More control within the organization. And given the way jazz has played Mitchell’s needs so far, can you blame them?

Since storming the scene, much of the organization has worked according to Mitchell’s needs, both on and off the field. Mitchell’s dominant, ball-centric playing style often dominates Utah’s attack, especially the late game. Utah’s medical and training staff come from Camp Mitchell. Utah’s player development staff includes Mitchell’s personal team. Utah training camps were moved to different cities, at Mitchell’s request. List changes, such as trading for Eric Paschall, were made with Mitchell’s requests in mind. So what’s to bend over to Mitchell’s requests again and appoint the coach he wants?

As Tony Jones of The Athletic described it in a recent podcast with Jake Fischer, this may have benefits. CAA represents Johnny Bryant, and presumably Coach Mitchell wants, “Donovan Mitchell could say no. That’s right, there’s something right now, it might be the number one thing that this organization needs at this point, to tell you the truth.” But it can also be a risky move. Should Mitchell win after next season, the Jazz is left after they hired a coach with little or no experience in major coaching, college or the NBA. While it goes without saying that Bryant is a fantastic coach and deserves the opportunity to lead a team at some point in his career, it’s also fair to question the weather or his unpreparedness for the position at the moment.

Houston Rockets vs Utah Jazz, 2018 NBA Western Conference Semifinals

Kit number: X161886 TK1

But if Utah’s goals aren’t just focused on pleasing Mitchell, their options expand exponentially. If they are looking for a successful coach now, options like Terry Stotts and Frank Vogel, who are highly successful and respected coaches, could fit the bill. Stotts, known for his time with the Portland Trailblazers, had created highly effective offenses around junior rangers before. On the other hand, Vogel has built a solid reputation for making up some of the best defensive teams in the NBA, which is a big reason why he won a championship with the Lakers in the bubble.

If Utah, instead, is looking at hiring another candidate under the radar, similar to their hiring of Snyder, options like Chris Quinn of the Miami Heat, Sean Sweeney of the Dallas Mavericks, Charles Lee of the Milwaukee Bucks, and Joe Mazzola of the Boston Celtics could work. All of these coaches, in their own rights, have built their reputation as great assistant coaches and offer the potential for continued development, something Stotts and Vogel may not have.

This may seem obvious, but I personally think jazz should hire whoever they see as the strongest candidate. Getting lost in trying to please one party or the other in the organization may lead to further division and leaving Jazz with a coach who may not be a good fit for their future. While it is important to listen to the input of players like Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, letting them guide the decision-making process can be dangerous. The importance of this recruitment and hiring cannot be overstated, and the Jazz team has done a fine job thus far in leading a thorough search. Fortunately, Danny Ainge has made a two-for-two job as a head coach in his career. Let’s see if he can do it a third time.

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