While the NBA All-Star break, for some, is full of the festivities and celebrations that take place in the All-Star host city, for many around the league, it’s a time to rest and rejuvenate.

Last season, the Utah Jazz had not only three players in Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley making All-Star Game appearances, but Quin Snyder and his coaching staff were in Atlanta to coach the All-Star Game as well.

This season Conley and Snyder, not a part of the All-Star invitees, took the opportunity to get away from the game.

Many of the Jazz players noted that the schedule, injuries, losses and COVID-19 made January 2022 one of the most grueling and trying months of their careers, and were more than happy to be able to take a moment to breathe.

“Being around my family and my kids as much as anything reminds you that this is a game. Basketball is what we do and we love it and we’re grateful, but it doesn’t love you back.” — Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder

“It takes a little bit of time to settle and take a breath,” Snyder said. “It’s healthy to put it down, so to speak, for a couple days and to the extent you can, get refreshed and refocused.”

For Snyder, who has been described as a mad scientist when it comes to basketball, getting refreshed doesn’t involve golf or a tropical destination as it would with many NBA players. Instead, he refocuses by surrounding himself with family. 

“Being around my family and my kids as much as anything reminds you that this is a game,” Snyder said. “Basketball is what we do and we love it and we’re grateful, but it doesn’t love you back.”

Not being loved back by the game that they love is something the Jazz felt too often over the last six weeks or so.

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Injuries to the Jazz’s two best players, Mitchell and Gobert, kept them sidelined for weeks, and during that time the Jazz were also dealing with COVID-19 hitting the team for the first time this season, in the middle of a schedule that put them up against the best teams in the league.

On top of it all, the Jazz went through a trade deadline that was immediately preceded by watching Joe Ingles, one of the elder statesmen of this team, go down with a season-ending ACL tear.

The Jazz didn’t come away from those mental and physical tests unscathed and finished January with a 4-12 record, dropping out of the top three in the Western Conference standings.

Conley, who said he hasn’t had a vacation with his wife in roughly six years, felt like the All-Star break couldn’t come soon enough.

“I’m going on vacation this year,” Conley said with a laugh. “I haven’t had one in a long time and this year has been — the last few weeks have been — hard. It’s definitely timely and needed. I’m going to spend some time with my wife and the kids are going to go with their grandparents.”

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Snyder is fully supportive, especially this season, of his players taking a break and finding some time to balance themselves in whatever way they see fit. He knows the kind of mental and physical beating his players took through the first part of the 2022 calendar and he wants them to come back from the break feeling like they’re ready to take on the final 24 games of the season with a renewed sense of ferocity.

Of course, he wouldn’t be Quin Snyder if he wasn’t also already making plans for the post All-Star break run.

“You go into the All-Star break with an idea of what you want to do coming out of it,” Snyder said. “But you try to shut that down a little bit because that doesn’t help you get refreshed.”

Easier said than done.

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