SALT LAKE CITY — There's not some magic reason Quin Snyder will be coaching in the All-Star Game on March 7. He knows the criteria: The coach whose team has the best record in its respective conference (with some exceptions) gets the honor.
So when he was asked about his thought of being an All-Star coach, he immediately went to praising his team.
"It's just a statement about our team and our players," Snyder said. "The way that they've played, obviously winning games and that's ultimately, that's the reason you're there is because your team is winning — you don't have to read too much into that."
In his seventh season in Utah, Snyder has led the Jazz to a league-best record 23-5 heading into Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers. That record is good enough to clinch the best record in the West among eligible coaches through Sunday (Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel is ineligible to coach this year after coaching in the game last season). The NBA has traditionally selected the All-Stars based on the records two weeks before the All-Star Game.
With the selection, Snyder made Jazz history.
The late Hall-of-Fame coach Jerry Sloan is well known for never having won Coach of the Year, despite hardly ever missing the postseason. But here's the other strange but true fact: Sloan also never coached in the All-Star game. Snyder will be the first Jazz coach to lead an All-Star team since Frank Layden did so in 1984.
So it's an honor, yes, but one that he thinks the team is far more deserving of than he.
"It's particularly gratifying to me to see the way that they've been winning, and also to feel their enthusiasm for me being able to do that and really to represent them," Snyder said. "I'm honored to do that. Again, it's a credit to them that I'm getting a chance to represent our group and in that capacity."
Snyder is the first official Jazz representative at the All-Star game, but he likely won't be the last. While no Jazz players are expected to be named All-Star Game starters when they are announced on Thursday, Utah should get at least a couple into the game as reserves.
Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are widely seen as locks to repeat as All-Star, and Mike Conley had also made a strong case before a tight right hamstring forced him to miss time. Wednesday's game at the Clippers is Conley's sixth straight game missed.
But those players will all agree with Snyder: It's a nice honor, but they are much more focused on the things they haven't yet accomplished.
"You feel grateful to have the opportunity," Snyder said. "I think something our whole group has been consistent with is we appreciate the way we're playing, but, again, not to diminish anything that's happened and particularly that honor, but we haven't achieved some of the things that we want to try to achieve and that begins with the second half of the season.
"The thing that felt the best to me is to have those guys congratulate me on really something that they did."