Atlanta Hawks coach fires back at controversial media reports

Atlanta Hawks, Quin Snyder. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks, Quin Snyder. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite the recent revelation that Atlanta Hawks star point guard Trae Young won’t be traded this offseason, the rumor mill is not quieting down for the Atlanta Hawks.

The latest media report keys in on newly minted head coach Quin Snyder, who took over the reins for Nate McMillan in February after a very clunky opening act to the season for Atlanta. The report, via The Athletic (subscription required) from earlier this week, states that it was “widely believed” that Snyder only took the Atlanta coaching position on the condition that he would have significant control over the team’s roster decisions.

However, the former Jazz head coach and Hawks assistant is now firing back at those reports, stating that “the only role Landry [Fields] and Kyle [Korver] and I talked about when I agreed to come to Atlanta is me coaching the team.”

This speculation frenzy is just the latest piece of negative press to hit the Hawks in what has already been a rather tumultuous summer for the franchise. There have already been several rounds of largely unfounded trade rumors surrounding Young, which thankfully were put to bed for good earlier this week as previously mentioned.

There has also been speculation involving shooting guard Dejounte Murray and what his potential market value may look like, which the former San Antonio Spur responded to in a since-deleted tweet.

Of course, John Collins seems to find his name in the rumor mill every year around this time, and 2023 has been no different. In fact, there are probably fewer players on the Hawks’ roster right now who haven’t had their names thrown around in the press than have.

It was only a matter of time before things escalated

Now, perhaps inevitably, the discourse has trickled to the front office and coaching staff in the form of this report about Snyder.

Let’s make one thing clear: if Snyder did indeed require his input on the roster to be a stipulation of coaching in Atlanta, that should not be considered a red flag. After all, he is the one coaching the team. If he has an idea for how to make said team better, he should be allowed to voice that opinion on no uncertain terms.

As a coach who has been on the cutting edge of the analytics movement since its origins, Snyder has a better idea than most of what sort of roster structure will be ideal for the team to generate the most high-quality shot attempts.

It probably doesn’t feature a power forward who shoots 29% from three-point range. Instead, one would think it features several lengthy, versatile forwards who can defend on the perimeter and knock down catch-and-shoot threes. Surely Snyder was well aware of the foundational issues with Atlanta’s current roster when he accepted this job four months ago, and one would be naive to expect him to sit back and be content with a group of players who don’t have the ability to execute his more modernized vision for the offense.

Does that mean Snyder should have full authoritarian control over every roster transaction that takes place? Of course not. Atlanta fans already saw what happened when the team extended that privilege to former coach Mike Budenholzer, who proceeded to run the 60-win roster into the ground with a series of regrettable decisions, most notably bringing in a certain Atlanta native for a season that later became known as the Dwightmare.

So yes, the roster decision-making process should be collaborative. But Snyder most definitely should have a voice, and perhaps the loudest voice in the room. Surely the Hawks’ brass didn’t think that any coach, no matter how accomplished, could take the current iteration of this team very far.

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It will take some resculpting to bring the most out of this roster, and Snyder should be at the controls.