Why Dallas Deserves Props for this Offseason


Every last Mavericks fan was anxiously awaiting their team’s big free agent move this offseason, only to be thoroughly disappointed again with the results. But, the closer you look, the more fans should be quite happy with the team’s free agent performance. Nico Harrison has shown no growing pains in his first shot at an NBA offseason, and the roster is better for it.

Sterling Brown, Reggie Bullock and Moses Brown are all quality additions to a roster that found itself short on rotation players in last year’s playoffs. Bullock is exactly the type of player the Mavs have been missing for years, a sturdy defensive wing who can bury threes at a respectable clip. Brown gives Dallas another outside threat and a modest shot creator, while Brown is perhaps the team’s most exciting young prospect on the team now. 

Retaining Tim Hardaway Jr. and Boban Marjanovic were no brainers as well. But where Dallas absolutely crushed this offseason was the coaching staff around Jason Kidd. Make no mistake, it is far from a good thing Rick Carlisle is no longer the man in charge in Dallas. While a bit lacking in the player relationship department, Carlisle arguably did more with less over the years than almost any other coach. While he brings a lot to the table, the same just can’t be said about Jason Kidd. 

But the faces joining Kidd’s staff ease any concerns about him. He first brought longtime assistant Sean Sweeney with him to Dallas. Sweeney was with Kidd both in Brooklyn and Milwaukee, and upon moving to the Pistons afterwards, was noted for building a close relationship with Pistons’ big man Isaiah Stewart. Perhaps a similar type of dynamic can be achieved with either Kristaps Porzingis or Moses Brown, or both. 

Sweeney appears to be someone who will sit behind the bench and if nothing else, provide a confidant to Kidd who is surrounded by a completely new situation. Kidd then brought in one other familiar face, Greg St. Jean. St. Jean is the son of former Kings’ coach Garry St. Jean, who also ran the Warriors’ basketball operations for a time in the late ‘90s. St. Jean coached the Mavs’ summer league roster this year, to less than amazing results. 

The two also worked together in the past in Los Angeles. Kidd followed the traditional playbook of hiring multiple experienced assistants to aid him in his new job. J.J. Barea, a former backcourt mate of Kidd’s in Dallas, is also rejoining the organization in a yet-to-be-determined role, though it is widely assumed he will join the coaching staff in a player development capacity. 

Kidd then went completely outside his comfort zone with his main in-game assistant coaches. Perhaps Dallas’s best move of the entire offseason was bringing in Igor Kokoskov. A former head coach in Phoenix and the skipper of the Slovenian national team, Kokoskov is tight with Luka Doncic, something Carlisle most definitely wasn’t. Nabbing such a trusted piece for the team’s franchise player is a home run. 

But Kokoskov’s raw coaching chops shouldn’t be overlooked either. The concerns over the supposed drop-off in X’s and O’s from Carlisle to Kidd are addressed with this hire. Kidd now has a proven tactical brain to his side that will help supply the team with tweaks and adjustments throughout a tense playoff series. 

Dallas kept busy, adding Kristi Toliver to the bench as well. Toliver was a three-time WNBA all-star and becomes the second female coach in franchise history, replacing Jenny Boucek. Toliver was a lights-out shooter throughout her career and might just give the team a shot in the arm when it comes to free throw shooting, an area the team was sorely lacking in a season ago. 

The most unique hire Jason Kidd made, however, was Jared Dudley. One of the most talkative and popular players around the league, Dudley is going to bring some energy and enthusiasm to the Mavericks that players will absolutely love. As of now, Dudley appears as though he’s going to be a front row coach, erasing any concern that he’d just be in a transition period from playing and not all that involved. 

All told, Dallas added several good if unspectacular players and backed them up with a potentially excellent coaching staff that has a great contrast and mix of strengths and backgrounds. It will take some time to get the team used to one another, but Dallas has done well under the circumstances in Nico Harrison’s first offseason. 

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