Dribbles: My Quin Snyder connection and Cavs’ In-Season tourney bid

CLEVELAND — Random dribbles ahead of the Cavaliers’ In-Season Tournament home game against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.Trae Young and coach Quin Snyder (Getty)

1. Yes, this is it: The In-Season Tournament finale. I doubt anyone will remember it come February. But I don’t think it’s been a horrible idea in the NBA’s early going. For some people, it sure beats your run-of-the-mill regular season game.

2. I think most people are just still confused by it. I know I am. All I know is the Cavs need a win to have any hope of a “wild card” and to advance to the “knockout round.” If not, as I’ve written before, they will need to schedule two games on the fly.

3. I don’t think anyone cares if their favorite team wins the NBA Cup. But again, I have no issue with the idea. It’s a fun way to get people talking, and love it or hate it, some people are talking about it. As I’ve also written, I’m one traditionalist who actually likes the colorful courts — bright red, blue, whatever. Bring ’em all on.

4. Alright, enough about that. The Cavs (9-8) are about to match up with a team that is fairly similar to them and has similar aspirations. Cleveland has Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland in the backcourt. The Hawks (8-8) have Trae Young and Dejounte Murray.

5. Young has been on an absolute scoring tear over the past five games, as I wrote here. Michell has really struggled over the last two, as I wrote here. No would be a good time for Mitchell to get it going. The Cavs will probably need it.

6. I think the Cavs are overall better than the Hawks, but not by much. Jarrett Allen is an underrated center in Cleveland. Clint Capela is the same with Atlanta. There really are tons of similarities. But I think when healthy, the Cavs have the edge.

7. Mitchell is a big fan of Hawks coach Quin Snyder, by the way. The two bonded during their time with the Jazz.

8. Many years ago, when I was in high school and we were doing our homework via chisel and granite, Snyder was a freshman at Duke. He was a McDonald’s All-American out of Mercer Island, Washington, as a player. He’s only about 6-foot-1 but one of the best dunkers I’ve ever seen at the high school level. 

9. Not sure why, but I wrote him a letter and sent it to Duke. He wrote back and sent all sorts of things — a Duke bumper sticker, Duke pennant, Duke stationery, and I don’t really remember what else. I just know it had a Blue Devil on it. Up until that point, I was a North Carolina guy. Since, I’m probably the lone person in history who has rooted for both.

10. Who would’ve guessed that I’d spend my later years occasionally making fun of him and his Duke roommate, Danny Ferry?

11. OK, I don’t really make fun of them. But I have openly questioned Snyder’s bright red eyeglass frames. At any rate, Snyder is up there with Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, the University of Houston’s Phi Slama Jama, Larry Bird, Mark Price, Fennis Dembo and Akron legend Joe Jakubick (cut by the Cavs) as reasons I fell in love with the game at an early age.

12. OK, back to this year. The Hawks made a run to the Eastern Conference finals two seasons ago, where they lost to the eventual-champion Milwaukee Bucks. They haven’t been the same since. I can see this year’s Cavs being a new version of those Hawks. The NBA is wide open, as the Miami Heat proved last year by advancing to the Finals. These Cavs have the talent. They just have to stay healthy and on the court when it means the most.

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