Quin Snyder will make his debut as Atlanta’s head coach Tuesday night when the Hawks host the Washington Wizards.
Snyder takes over for Nate McMillan, who was fired over the All-Star break. Interim coach Joe Prunty led the Hawks to two straight wins, including Sunday’s buzzer-beating 129-127 victory over Brooklyn.
Snyder, who signed a five-year deal with Atlanta, is best known for the eight years he spent on the bench in Utah from 2014-22. He took the Jazz to the playoffs in six straight seasons, and the 2020-21 team went 52-20 and had the best record in the NBA.
“From our first conversation, it was clear that Quin had all the characteristics we were looking for in our head coach,” Atlanta general manager Landry Fields said. “He has both an incredible basketball and emotional IQ and we share core values and basketball philosophies of having honest communication and collaboration with players, tremendous attention to detail and placing a great emphasis on player development.”
The key may be how Snyder can coexist with Atlanta star Trae Young, who frequently butted heads with McMillan. Despite his defensive deficiencies, Young is one of the more electric offensive players in the league, averaging 27.0 points and 10.2 assists. He scored the game-winning basket as the clock expired to beat the Nets on Sunday.
Dejounte Murray said Atlanta’s fate is up to the players.
“We have no control over what the front office does,” he said. “We’re going to continue to work and try to build as many wins as we can.”
The Wizards have lost two straight since the All-Star Game. Washington is coming off a 102-82 loss at Chicago on Sunday. The Wizards played without Kristaps Porzingis (left knee soreness) and Monte Morris, who was a late scratch with lower back soreness.
“We have to do a better job of screening guys up,” said Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. “Those (16) turnovers were costly. Those are empty possessions for us and leads to some transition opportunities for them. We’ve got to do a better job of that, fighting force with force.”
Washington guard Delon Wright said, “We just have to regroup and bring more effort and more focus.”
The Wizards are led by Bradley Beal, who averages 22.7 points and 5.3 assists. He is shooting a career-best 51.5 percent from the field. In 30 career games against Atlanta, Beal is averaging 21.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists.
In a scheduling quirk, this will be the first of four meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals over the next six weeks. The Hawks won the series 3-1 last season and have won the series in back-to-back years. The Hawk have prevailed in the last six meetings in Atlanta, where Washington hasn’t won since Dec. 5, 2018.
Both teams are currently in position to make the play-in for the playoffs and have a lot of ground to make up to make the top six in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta is No. 8 and entered Monday trailing sixth-place New York by 2 1/2 games. Washington is No. 10 with only a half-game lead over Chicago; the Wizards are 2 1/2 games behind Atlanta.
–Field Level Media