Ever since the Los Angeles D-Fenders started playing their home games at the uniquely intimate Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California, the organization has landed well-known coaching figures to run their team. From former NBA head coach Eric Musselman, to another former NBA head coach and player Reggie Theus, the club has been in serious talks to make Mark "Mad Dog" Madsen their next head coach according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Madsen averaged 2.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11.8 minutes during his NBA career, but was known as a reliable spark off the bench, and great teammate. After nine years in the NBA, Madsen is now focused on coaching, and most recently was an assistant coach with his Alma Mater Stanford University. Madsen spent two years as an assistant coach in the D-League for the Utah Flash, but now looks ready to rejoin the NBADL coaching ranks once again.
Last season, another former NBA player not too far removed from his playing days, Eduardo Najera, became the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks' D-League affiliate Texas Legends. For players who established strong relationships with franchises they played for (i.e. Najera and Madsen), it seems that organizations are open to the idea of implementing them into their NBADL coaching system. For aspiring former players looking to become coaches, the NBADL is the perfect setting for them to learn the intricacies of coaching at the professional level.
Madsen will likely take over after Reggie Theus and the club finished 21-29 and missed the playoffs. It was Theus' first time coaching in the NBA D-League, and he told RidiculousUpside.com this past season that coaching in the NBADL was "the toughest coaching job I've ever had." Madsen has already experienced the unique structure of the D-League after serving two seasons with the Utah Flash (now the Delaware Sevens), so it won't take long for the former NBA forward to get acclimated.
If the reports are accurate, Madsen will become the fifth coach in D-Fenders history after Dan Panaggio, Chucky Brown, Eric Musselman, and Reggie Theus. The Lakers organization has invested heavily in the D-Fenders franchise, Joey Buss is currently the President/CEO of the single affiliate. In fact, the Lakers were the first NBA team to buy its own NBADL affiliate.
The D-Fenders gig is a logical step forward for Madsen, as he continues to expand upon his coaching experience. With the entire Lakers' organization a stone's throw away, Madsen will have every opportunity to work closely with one of the league's most historic franchises. This move makes sense for both Madsen, and the future of the D-Fenders organization.