The Orlando Magic have become the second team in as many years to hire a Mavericks’ assistant coach as their new skipper. The other, the Houston Rockets, swiped Stephen Silas off Rick Carlisle’s staff a year ago. Mosley will be taking over a rebuilding team that recently shipped out veterans Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, and Nikola Vucevic. Jason Kidd’s new staff in Dallas is still coming together, with J.J. Barea and Sean Sweeney already on board.
For the Mavericks, losing Mosley is far from ideal. He was easily one of the most respected assistants in the league already, as was Silas the year before. While Silas had a major impact on what was a record-setting offense his last year in charge, Mosley was at the helm of what had been known as an underachieving defensive team. The Mavericks were just 21st in defensive rating this past season despite devoting a considerable amount of resources to that element of the game.
The Mavs famously shipped out sharpshooting-supreme Seth Curry as part of a deal for Josh Richardson, then drafted Josh Green and Tyler Bey for further perimeter defensive reinforcements. Richardson became entirely unplayable the deeper the first round playoff series against the Clippers got, and Green and Bey barely saw the floor all season long. As far as the lack of development from the rookies is concerned, the Mavericks will almost certainly see a change in rotation philosophy from Jason Kidd as opposed to Rick Carlisle, who religiously refused to play rookies significant minutes.
While Jason Kidd was a defensive star throughout his illustrious career, the Mavericks will need to do more than merely hiring a new voice at the top to offset the likely loss of Richardson and the departure of Mosley. The Magic are set up in an interesting position to contrast the age-old practice in Dallas of always pushing to put together a cast of veteran players at the expense of young growth.
Orlando boasts an impressive stable of future draft picks and younger prospects like Wendell Carter Jr., Cole Anthony, and Mo Bamba. Whether or not Mosley will be able to extract the very best out of his young thoroughbreds is going to be as interesting as the inevitable scrutinizing over the Luka Doncic-Jason Kidd dynamic. One further aspect of the Mosley departure is his well-known closeness with Doncic.
This is what made the lack of even a slight consideration of Mosley for the job a complete surprise. The Mavericks clearly went the route of bringing in a new regime that can recruit bigger fish to their team. The decision was strange considering this in all likelihood is the last year the Mavericks can have any kind of significant cap space given Dončić’s inevitable supermax extension. The crop of free agents this summer is pretty underwhelming as well, with Demar DeRozan and John Collins headlining an otherwise mediocre group. However, Kawhi Leonard does have a player option that has made the rumors swirl in Dallas…
For now, the Magic hiring Mosley and Dallas’ decision to make a controversial hire in the meantime has a very risky side to it, and the Mavericks could find themselves wishing they’d kept the coach closest to Dončić should things go sideways.
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