As it stands, there are currently seven head coaching positions available in the NBA D-League, or rather, seven tremendous opportunities. As NBADL teams and franchises strengthen their relationships with their NBA parent clubs, coaches look to be the real beneficiaries.
Newly hired head coach Bob MacKinnon of the Los Angeles D-Fenders, understands the importance of working closely with NBA clubs via their NBA D-League affiliate. In fact, his latest decision to coach in L.A. was influenced by the idea of coaching closely with the Lakers organization.
"Being apart of the Lakers organization, and having the opportunity to work closely with Joey Buss and Glen Carraro is really exciting from a personal standpoint. Working with Billy King, Milton Lee and other members of the Brooklyn Nets organization was great, the people are what you really take away from things. In Springfield, we were three hours away from Brooklyn, now in L.A., our offices will be three minutes away from the parent club, it will be very nice." MacKinnon said.
MacKinnon joined RidiculousUpside.com for a conversation recently, and discussed the unique opportunity that he, and the other coaches in the NBADL currently have.
"Ultimately, every coach would like the opportunity to coach in the NBA, it's the best league in the world. However, I believe the NBA D-League is the second best league in the world, and coaching at this level is really a privilege. If you look at coaching staffs across the NBA, nearly every staff has a coach with NBA D-League experience, the D-League has become a true minor league system." MacKinnon added.
The D-Fenders will be the fourth NBADL team that MacKinnon has coached. In the 2008-2009 season he led the Colorado 14ers to the NBA D-League championship. During his time in the NBA D-League, MacKinnon has seen various changes, but he's noticed one thing in particular. "The talent level has gone up. From players to officials, to front office and PR people, it really shows."
The league seems to be blossoming collectively, and MacKinnon's comments carry value as he's one of the more experienced D-League minds in the league. After Mark Madsen received the Call-Up to Mike D'Antoni's staff shortly after taking the D-Fenders head coaching job, the Lakers targeted MacKinnon, and for good reason, he is a proven leader with the ability to develop talent at a high level. Given the Lakers current roster, the D-Fenders may be used more than ever in terms of potential Call-Up players, and player assignments. MacKinnon will play a crucial role in having his team ready, while also amounting wins for the Lakers' affiliate.
Head Coaches Wanted
MacKinnon's departure from Springfield, leaves Brooklyn Nets General Manager of Minor League Operations Milton Lee, without a head coach. According to Jason Remillard of The Republican, Springfield Armor President Alex Schwerin is unaware of a timetable regarding their search for a new head coach.
However, Fort Wayne Mad Ants President Jeff Potter is looking to fill his team's head coaching vacancy by mid-September, as Justin A. Cohn of The Journal Gazette reported. The Armor and Mad Ants jobs are just two of the seven open head coaching positions currently available in the NBADL.
The reason for the vacancies is positive at least, NBA teams are gladly hiring coaches from the NBADL due to the fact that coaches in the D-League are becoming more qualified and enticing as they implement their NBA parent club's strategies. D-League head coaches are also working closely with their NBA affiliate's personnel as seen at NBA Summer League, where numerous coaches flanked team's benches during the mid-Summer event.
With the Memphis Grizzlies hiring of former NBA D-League coach Dave Joerger, as well as the head coaching Call-Ups of Nick Nurse, Taylor Jenkins, Duane Ticknor, and Alex Jensen, success at the NBADL level translates to NBA opportunities. There's no denying the connection that NBADL teams and their NBA affiliates currently have, and there will likely be heavy interest from head coaching hopefuls as the leaves turn color, and NBADL tryouts begin in the fall.
MacKinnon Will Share His Opportunity
MacKinnon embodies the spirit and passion that coaches in the NBADL have, it was something that he learned from his father, who was a GM and coach of the Nets in the 1980's. In an interview with nbadleague.com roughly two years ago, MacKinnon explained his father's words of wisdom to Kevin Scheitrum.
MacKinnon Jr. expressed his gratitude to all the people that he's learned from, and also to those who he will continue to learn from. "Everything that I've done in coaching, I've learned it from other people. I still like to think that I learn everyday from the players in practice too."
Players who will be fortunate enough to play for MacKinnon this upcoming season, will have a lot to look forward to. As MacKinnon stated to RidiculousUpside.com, he plans on sharing his opportunity with his players, as they will have the unique ability to showcase their talent to Lakers management (who will be located literally down the hall). "The opportunity they have, the opportunity for the players to be seen by the Lakers brass, and to build upon their skills, makes this a special place." MacKinnon concluded.
The Lakers organization landed a true professional in MacKinnon, and the 30-year coaching veteran sounds ready for the task at hand in guiding the D-Fenders back the NBA D-League Finals, while also creating a mutual relationship with the Lakers.