Brad Jones and Eric Musselman took their respective D-League ball clubs to the Finals last season. Now, with the recent hiring of Jones by the Utah Jazz, both coaches will start new opportunities and not return to the D-League next season.
Easily the D-League's top 2 coaches from last season, Jones and Musselman both excelled during their time in the league, and will likely continue to do so outside of the D-League as well.
Musselman was the first of the two to depart from his D-League coaching duties, when it was announced at the beginning of this month that he had been hired by Arizona State as an assistant coach. Musselman led the Los Angeles D-Fenders to a 38-12 record last season, helping the team establish themselves as the top-seed in last year's D-League Playoffs.
Musselman coached six players to receive call-ups last season. He helped the D-Fenders accomplish a number of firsts for the organization last season, including best home record (21-4) in league history, wins in a season, longest win streak (10 games), largest margin of victory (40 points), largest road margin of victory (31 points), and most three pointers in a game (17). Needless to say, the D-Fenders will be hard pressed to find a coach of Musselman's caliber next season.
If there was a coach who managed to one-up Musselman's coaching performance last season, however, it was Brad Jones. Jones and the Austin Toros defeated Musselman's D-Fenders for the D-League title in impressive fashion last season, after dropping the first game in the best of 3 series.
Among Jones' achievements last season was the chance to coach the West All-Stars after posting the highest winning percentage entering All-Star weekend. He now returns to Salt Lake City with the Utah Jazz, where he previously served as regional scout from 2001-2007. Jones also spent time as the head coach for the now extinct Utah Flash in the D-League, from 2007-2010.
Here was Jones at the very beginning of what would be a championship season for the Austin Toros.
Coach Brad Jones.mp4 (via austintoros)
Jones and Musselman are both fine examples of the coaching talent that can be found in the NBA D-League. The two coaches are truly a testament to the D-League's ability to help develop not just players, but coaches as well.