Notebook: Snyder’s Appreciation For Jordan, Magic Moment, Jazzed Up
SALT LAKE CITY – Jazz head coach Quin Snyder used a football metaphor last year to describe DeAndre Jordan working like a middle linebacker the way he calls out the defense for the Clippers. This year, he turned to baseball for his analogy.
Snyder always makes it a point to compliment the job Jordan does not just physically with his defense, but also with his intelligence defensively, anticipating what’s coming from the opponent and getting his teammates set up to react.
“I’ve had an appreciation for DeAndre for quite some time,” Snyder said Monday. “One of the things that’s interesting, and it wouldn’t be something that you’d typically say, ‘He’s great at that,’ because he’s great at so many things, but he won’t leave me alone on the bench. He steals all of our calls.
“You think it’s Chris Paul, it’s him too, but invariably (Jordan) knows what we’re doing on the court, so it’s almost like baseball to get anything by him. You have to have an indicator and all that stuff. It speaks to what a smart player he is and how much he likes to win.”
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said getting a big to talk in general can be a challenge. Jordan’s a rare breed of big man who not only communicates well, but also knows what’s about to come.
“He signals it down to us,” Rivers said. “It’s really important. (Kevin) Garnett did that, guys like … Rasheed (Wallace) was great at that as well, as he was talking to the refs he was doing that as well. But it’s really important, Chris does it as well, you have to actually do homework. You have to study the other team.”
Or, in Jazz center Rudy Gobert’s case, the other player.
Snyder said he believes Jordan is a player his 24-year-old center looks up to, and considering their many similarities – position, length, impact, among them – he hopes Jordan is a player Gobert can emulate.
“Those guys affect your bottom line,” Snyder said. “They affect winning and losing in a way that’s not always as emblematic as what’s printed.”
But even if a box score doesn’t show their full impact, the coaches see it. That’s why it was the coaches who voted Jordan into his first All-Star Game this year.
Rivers said “it’s about time” not only for Jordan, but for players of Jordan’s ilk and style, whose greatest impact comes with rebounds and defending rather than scoring. The Jazz’s young center fits the same mold, and Rivers believes it won’t be long before Gobert earns the same honor as Jordan.
“Gobert will be on the All-Star Team some day because he’s a rebounder, he’s a defender and he’s an intimidator, and that’s a big role,” Rivers said.
For a player such as Jamal Crawford, who’s earned a record three Sixth Man of the Year awards, who sits second all-time in bench scoring and who is now in the top five all-time in made 3-pointers, not every jump up a leaderboard moves the needle for him.
But he couldn’t ignore one of his recent milestones.
During the Clippers’ road trip, Crawford moved into No. 74 all-time in scoring, passing Magic Johnson, who happens to be Crawford’s second favorite player ever behind Michael Jordan.
“I don’t get into the lists and all that, but passing him, that was like … that’s unbelievable,” Crawford said. “You don’t even dream of that. Your favorites…like, he’s my second favorite player to ever play basketball.”
While he’ll always hold the Sixth Man trophies dear, there’s something special to Crawford about being mentioned along the likes of Magic, a player Crawford said he snuck into The Forum to go see when Magic came out of retirement.
“It’s the latest (accolade), obviously – but Magic…that’s Magic Johnson,” Crawford said. “I used to have his shoes.”
Prior to the Clippers holding the Jazz to 72 points Monday, they’d only held an opponent to fewer than 80 points once this season.
That, too, was against the Jazz.
The Clippers have had Utah’s number for years, with Monday marking the 17th time the Clippers beat the Jazz in the last 18 matchups between the teams, a dominance the Clippers’ players downplayed after the win. Blake Griffin said, if anything, the Clippers just know going into any Jazz game, they’re going to get a well-coached team that plays hard.
“I think a lot times we know coming in it’s going to be a fight,” Griffin said. “We can’t come in and play soft and not play hard against these guys or you’re going to get embarrassed, so it’s one of those games you’re going to have to get up for.”
That hasn’t been a problem, once again using their defense to suffocate Utah’s offensive attack. The Clippers had allowed at least 100 points in 11 straight games entering the night, but they were coming off a stouter defensive performance in Charlotte, nearly holding the Hornets under the century mark.
They’d seen flashes of defensive improvement in short spurts, but nothing like what they did Monday night.
“Maybe not doing it for a quarter or a half, definitely not for a game,” said J.J. Redick. “Tonight was a pretty complete defensive effort.”
Added Griffin: “It was as close to 48 minutes as you could get.”