Hawks hire former Jazz coach Quin Snyder to replace Nate McMillan
The Atlanta Hawks did not wait to find their Nate McMillan replacement.
On Sunday, just days after firing McMillan, the Hawks reached a deal with former Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder to become their permanent head coach, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Assistant coach Joe Prunty had been working as the interim head coach during the short process.
Snyder is expected to join the team as early as Tuesday. His five-year deal, per Wojnarowski, includes the rest of this season.
ESPN Sources: Quin Snyder has reached agreement on a five-year deal — including the rest of this season — to become coach of the Atlanta Hawks. Snyder is expected to be on sidelines as soon as Tuesday vs. Washington. pic.twitter.com/ZYLx7y4v9V
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 26, 2023
Milwaukee Bucks assistant Charles Lee and Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson were among the other reported candidates for the job.
The hire gives the Hawks a proven head coach, who accrued a 372-264 record in eight seasons during his Jazz tenure. It will also be a familiar setting for Snyder, who was a Hawks assistant for one season before getting the Utah job.
What Quin Snyder brings to the Hawks
Snyder and the Jazz made the playoffs in each of his final six seasons with the team, peaking in 2020-21 when they earned the top seed in the Western Conference with a 52-20 record.
With Rudy Gobert anchoring the paint, the Jazz were regularly among the top defensive teams in the NBA and found their offensive footing thanks to the arrival of Donovan Mitchell. It was a team of defined roles, and the system delivered them a perennial spot in the playoffs.
Of course, there is a reason Snyder is available and Gobert and Mitchell are no longer on the Jazz right now. While the system worked during the regular season, the team never moved past the Western Conference semifinals.
The team's playoff infamy grew with each lackluster performance, reaching its nadir in that 2020-21 season when it blew a 2-0 series lead to the Los Angeles Clippers. Despite losing Kawhi Leonard to an ACL tear in Game 4, the Clippers won four straight games to break through their own playoff struggles and capped the whole thing off with a 25-point comeback in Game 6.
Synder resigned one year later, after losing in the first round for the third time in four seasons.
The Hawks will gladly take the playoffs right now
As rough as the end of that Jazz era was, the Hawks have bigger worries than getting through the Eastern Conference semifinals right now.
This was supposed to be the season that reached another level after Atlanta traded for Dejounte Murray, which added an All-Star to their core of Trae Young, De'Andre Hunter and John Collins. That has not happened.
After going 43-39 last year, the Hawks currently sit at 31-30, which is good for eighth place in the East. Per The Athletic's Shams Charania, the team's leadership believe the issue to be a culture problem, and are betting on Snyder's ability to build a winning culture like he did in Utah.
Given where the team stands in the playoff hunt, they'll want Snyder to get to work quickly.