The Charlotte Bobcats are currently searching for a coach and, after having a delightfully D-League feel in their initial interviews, they've narrowed their candidates down to three finalists. While Brian Shaw and Jerry Sloan were obvious choices to advance through the first round of talks, Snyder's name ending up in the Top 3 was a surprise to most.
It probably would have been most pleasing to those that frequent this site to see Memphis Grizzlies assistant Dave Joerger and Nate Tibbetts of the Cleveland Cavaliers also earn second interviews considering they also paid their dues in the D-League, but the inclusion of Snyder alone certainly isn't a bad consolation prize.
Basketball aficionados and those familiar with Snyder's work likely weren't disappointed to see him be moved on to the next round, either, considering he's one of the more cerebral coaches currently in the game. The man is likely most famous for his time as head coach of the Missouri Tigers, but he's spent his post-playing career honing his craft under coaching legends Larry Brown and Mike Krzyzewski while also developing himself as a team-runner in the San Antonio Spurs system with a stint as head coach of the NBA Development League's Austin Toros.
Since leaving the Toros, Snyder has spent a season apiece with the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers, but it was during his career in the D-League that I became quite familiar with what Snyder might bring to an NBA sideline someday. The D-League is essentially a playground for development and, while watching Austin, it seemed as though Snyder was taking total advantage of that area.
Not only were Snyder's Toros developing players that could make the jump to the NBA -- Cleveland Cavaliers wing Alonzo Gee and Marcus Williams were probably the top two prospects (the latter averaged 32 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists in China while shooting nearly 62 percent from the field) -- but Snyder himself was developing plays that could translate to the NBA level.
Snyder wasn't exclusively running his own sets during his three years in Austin (because the Spurs bought the Toros for a reason), but he was able to include wrinkles of an intricate offense he's devised while coaching the Toros. Your's truly was never privy to a playbook, unfortunately, but I can tell you that Snyder is an expert when it comes to the plain old pick-and-roll.
Not just the plain and old pick-and-roll, however, but every variation of the pick-and-roll that's possible. He even co-authored a very detailed article, published in the FIBA Assist magazine back in 2009, regarding the different permutations of the P'n'R. It's an excellent read for anyone looking for insight into the philosophies of Snyder or, and perhaps especially, those simply interested in being smarter about the game of basketball.
Snder's introoduction to the study is blockquoted below (check the above link for the entire story (and diagrams!).
Over the past few years, through discussion and observation, I have attempted to improve my understanding
of the pick-and-roll game. This process led me to compile an in-depth catalog of various types of pick-and-roll. The initial purpose of recording my thoughts and observations was to create a tool to help me more carefully examine and understand the intricacies of pick-and-roll.
I had hoped to more thoroughly study the history of pick-and-roll and to properly acknowledge the innovative coaches and players who are responsible for its evolution. I apologize that time has not permitted me the opportunity to identify the specific contributions of these individuals.
The article that follows is not born from any desire to reinvent the wheel. It is merely an exercise in recording my observations about pick-and-roll. The evolution of the article itself is a product of not just my thoughts, but many coaches and players who enthusiastically provided feedback, observation, and criticism. My hope is that it will be useful in some way.
The category of plays referred to as "Pick-and-Roll" has dominated the strategic thinking of coaches for decades. By observing the evolution of pick-and-roll, coaches have found windows of creativity to use for the development of new types of pick-and-roll. Equally influential in the innovative process are the instinctive and creative abilities of players. Players modify pick-and-roll action. Coaches, through observation, use these modifications to maximize players' strengths and minimize weaknesses in execution. For their part, players have made pick-and-roll increasingly complex yet simple at the same time.
Anyway, moving away from the pick-and-roll and back to Snyder as the next head coach of Charlotte Bobcats basketball (catch the fever!), things like the above should allow those deriding Coach Q as a candidate to sleep a little bit better at night.
Snyder might not be the favorite for the Bobcats coaching job, but there's a very good chance he won't disappoint if he's indeed given the reins to the struggling offense.