One of the reasons the Dallas Mavericks hired Igor Kokoskov this past summer to be an assistant coach on Jason Kidd’s staff is because of his close relationship with Luka Doncic.
And also because of his incredible basketball mind.
Kokoskov was the head coach of the Slovenia men’s national team that won EuroBasket in 2017. That’s the same team that Doncic starred on before he joined the Mavericks and became one of the NBA’s brightest stars.
“When you talk about Igor, he and Luka’s relationship is great,” Kidd said. “I think that’s something that we thought about as we put this staff together.
“I think it can help and it has helped, because he can be honest with Luka if he’s doing something. I think there’s a big respect for one another, and he understands that Igor wants the best for him and will put him in a position to be successful, so there’s trust and respect at a very, very high level, and that’s key.”
Also key in Kokoskov’s employment is the solid X and O factor that he brings to the table. From 2000-18, Kokoskov made the rounds in the NBA as he was an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz before becoming the head coach of the Suns in 2018j.
Kokoskov only lasted one year with the Suns before becoming an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings. Now he’s back with Doncic and hoping to bring some of that EuroBasket magic with him.
“Relationships are big in this league if you want to have success,” Kidd said. “Just not the relationship of that, but also Igor has a chip on his shoulders with what’s taken place in the past in the NBA.
“So that hunger and that appetite that we all have, for whatever reason I thought was another big reason for having him on board, so I’m excited. I’m very lucky to have him and it’s going to be fun because each time I talk to him I’m learning, too.”
What Kidd said he’s learned from Kokoskov is his innate ability to call plays with the best of them.
“He’s very talented with the play calling,” Kidd said. “I think when you talk about Igor, Igor is an incredible coach and more of a genius when you talk about play calls and being able to put guys in different positions to be successful.
“And I think when you have that relationship when you talk about offensive coordinator and quarterback, it’s smooth. And that’s going to give us an advantage, because when you talk about the best player having the ball, and that feel that Igor has is just going to put guys in position to have success.”
New court — with players’ names
The Mavs unveiled their new basketball court, and it is indeed a one-of-a-kind family affair. In fact, the names of all 336 players who have played in a regular season game for the Mavs in their entire history are listed somewhere around the court’s borders.
“I just thought it would be a great idea,” owner Mark Cuban told Mavs.com. “Ran it by (Mavs Chief Executive Officer) Cynt (Marshall) and (Chief Marketing Officer) Iris (Diaz) and they loved it and figured out an amazing way to do it.
“It showed all the Mavs who have put on a uniform are part of our culture and I thought it would be great to recognize them. All of them.”
Mavs coach Jason Kidd happened to see his name on the floor. And it happened to be right in front of him by the team’s bench – and also in other places around the court.
“I think it’s very cool,” Kidd said. “The history of the Mavs is very important, and it should be talked about more.
“When you talk about when they first started with my bowling shirt – it’s getting a lot of attention right now – that was the warmups, and they were good. There’s a lot of history and hopefully I can help the younger guys that are on this team understand who those names are, and that’s my responsibility.”
Mavs still buzzing about Brunson’s dunk
The Mavs are still buzzing about the dunk guard Jalen Brunson perfected in the second half of Wednesday’s 111-101 win over the Utah Jazz.
Brunson had four total dunks during his rookie season – the 2018-’19 campaign. And he hadn’t had another dunk since then — until the one he had on Wednesday that brought the entre Mavs’ bench to their feet.
“I think everybody was taken aback,” coach Jason Kidd said. “I think they were all in shock. I think it just shows how hard he worked this summer on his vertical.
“I think he’s always probably been able to dunk. I think it just shows where he’s at in preseason.”
Brunson let out a hearty laugh when asked about his dunk.
“Long time coming,” he said. “That was, you can say, those were fresh legs. You won’t see that too much.”
Because Brunson was up in rarified air, that sent a positive message to Kidd.
“He’s ready to go,” Kidd said. “I think it gave everybody a boost, too.
“It was a beautiful thing because you saw the bench and how they reacted. That’s just a natural thing from our group is for us to cheer for one another.”