Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images
Quin Snyder wanted to set the record straight.
After a few tweets went viral this past week pointing out that Donovan Mitchell doesn’t pass the ball often to Rudy Gobert, the Utah Jazz head coach attempted to contextualize the numbers for reporters on Tuesday.
Donovan Mitchell averages 2 passes a game to Rudy Gobert.
Not assists. Passes 🤯 pic.twitter.com/Hgq7gwrAe7
“Trae Young and [Clint] Capela, that’s the comp that we’re using, right? You know, out of 3,442 possessions, he’s passed to Capela 472 times. OK. Donovan, out of 1600, he’s passed to Rudy 150 times. So those are roughly the same number, right?”
As Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune noted, Young passes to Capela on 13.7 percent of the Atlanta Hawks’ possessions, while Mitchell passes to Gobert on 9.4 percent of Utah’s possessions.
But Snyder also noted the comparison wasn’t “apples to apples.” Young operates as the primary ball-handler in Atlanta, directing the pick-and-roll with the rim-running Capela, while Snyder noted that Mike Conley is the primary facilitator for Utah and Mitchell is more of a secondary playmaker.
He added that the Jazz’s emphasis on shooting threes often limits Gobert’s touches.
“Let’s just not try to drive a wedge between some of these players and especially using numbers. We should be more responsible than that,” Snyder said. “… We’re not playing great all the time. We want to play better. But you don’t get there by trying to say that one player’s not passing to another.”
It was all part of a larger 19-minute oration to reporters before Tuesday’s matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies, with Utah’s recent struggles perhaps bubbling to the surface for Snyder. The Jazz have lost six of their past seven games, dropping to 46-32 and sixth in the Western Conference.
The Mitchell-Gobert partnership has come under the microscope in the past, namely in 2020, when Mitchell was reportedly unhappy with Gobert’s cavalier attitude toward the COVID-19 pandemic.
It appeared as though any rift between the pair had long since healed. Snyder is certainly looking to squash any basis for it to return.