Fields said the team wanted to be aggressive and quickly identified the characteristics the team needed in its next leader. So, he asked Hawks assistant general manager Kyle Korver to reach out to Snyder, and the team quickly got the ball rolling.
Fields and Snyder acknowledged the challenges ahead, but they look at it as a chance to start laying a new foundation early. They even see a chance to potentially spark a solid postseason run.
“I think players want to get better, and they want to be coached,” said Snyder, who met with players and staff Monday morning. “And, I think the relationships are what allows you to coach them effectively. And, so, in those things again, it’s part of the reason I wanted to start now, and I think that our group here needs to just decide to trust each other. And it’s incumbent upon all of us – myself, first and foremost – to not violate that trust.”
One of the players Snyder will have to connect with quickly is guard Trae Young.
“I think one of the things about, and this is true of all our guys, that going through games together and competing together is one of the best ways to, to get to know somebody, learn about each other, you figure things out, you go through hard times, good times,” Snyder told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after his news conference.
“And, as you mentioned, you see how Trae plays, like I think his mind for the game is something that it’s a real strength. And, you encourage him and have already to be instinctive, but also to be mindful and how he plays.”
Snyder takes over for interim coach Joe Prunty on Tuesday, when the Hawks (31-30) host the Wizards at State Farm Arena. The new head coach said he will lean on the coaching staff throughout the final 21 games of the regular season, as well as potentially during the postseason. That group is expected to finish the season, and Snyder will make some decisions afterward.
For now, though, Snyder’s main focus is to finish the season strong while learning his new team and helping it grow.
The Hawks have a young roster made up of plenty of talent that still has room for development. The average years of experience on this Hawks roster are about 3.1 years, with just five players over age 25.
Snyder brings years of experience in player development, and he understands that this Hawks roster has players eager to learn.
“Youth can be deceiving,” he said. “We’ve got some guys that you can tell already, they want to get better. And that, to me, is one of the most gratifying things about this job, is a chance to see players improve individually and also help them feel the opportunity to have the whole team be even (greater) than the sum of the parts.”