Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz will coach the Western Conference entry in next month's NBA All-Star Game, sources told ESPN.
While the league has not officially announced that the game is taking place March 7, if it holds to its typical timeline of selecting the coach of the team with the best record as of two weeks before the game -- which sources say the league intends to do -- then Snyder officially locked up the honor with Utah's win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.
Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel is ineligible to coach this year, having done so last season, while Monday's win clinched Utah having a better record than the LA Clippers no matter what happens the rest of this week.
Snyder, 54, has piloted Utah to the NBA's best record at 23-5, including wins in 19 of its last 20 games, entering tonight's showdown with the Clippers in Los Angeles. Utah has the league's fourth-best offensive rating (116.6 points per 100 possessions), second-best defensive rating (107.4) and best net rating (plus-9.2). The Jazz are the only team that resides in the top five in both offensive and defensive rating, and the Phoenix Suns are the only other team that is in the top 10 in both categories (10th and sixth, respectively).
Snyder will be the first Jazz coach to represent the West in the All-Star Game since Frank Layden in 1984. Remarkably, despite all of his success in Utah, Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan never did so in his more than two decades
76ers coach Doc Rivers is in line to coach the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game for what would be the third time in his career, having done so in both 2008 and 2011 when he was coaching the Boston Celtics.
Philadelphia, despite dropping its last three games heading into Wednesday night's home game against the Houston Rockets, remains two games up in the loss column on the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks. The Sixers will end the week with the best record in the Eastern Conference no matter what those teams do if they can win two of their three remaining games this week; they also play Friday night against the Chicago Bulls in Philadelphia, and Sunday in Tampa, Florida, against the Toronto Raptors.
The starters for next month's All-Star Game will be announced Thursday night on TNT, having been determined by a combination of fan voting (50%), media voting (25%) and player voting (25%). The seven reserve spots, which are voted on by the coaches in each conference, will be announced Tuesday on TNT.
Like in recent seasons, the NBA will again have the two top vote-getters choose teams from the remaining pool of 22 All-Stars. Meanwhile, while no decision has been made on the Elam Ending with a target score returning for a second season, it was deemed a big success for how competitive it made the ending of last year's game in Chicago, and it too could return for next month's game in Atlanta.