The Dallas Mavericks changed almost their entire coaching staff this summer. Long-time head Rick Carlisle resigned after a second straight first-round playoff exit and his top assistant Jamahl Mosley became the head coach in Orlando. It was the first coaching change during the NBA career of Luka Doncic, and the first time Dallas hired a new head man since 2008. Mosley was the assistant the 22-year-old worked closest with leaving the Mavs with multiple voids to fill this summer.
They hired Jason Kidd as head coach and brought in Igor Kokoskov to join him on the front of the bench. Almost the entire staff is new and has the team energized during training camp, but grabbing Kokoskov was especially important for the Mavs because of his prior relationship with Luka. Kokoskov was the head coach of the Slovenian National Team when they won EuroBasket 2017 with a teenage Doncic making the All-Tournament team.
The 49-year-old gave up the head coaching job at Fenerbahce to join the Mavs this summer, and he is working closely with Luka daily. Here is a look at what we have seen so far, and why Kokoskov is key to bringing the best out of Luka.
Dallas Mavericks assistant Igor Kokoskov will bring the best out of Luka Doncic
Callie Caplan sent out this Tweet on Oct. 11 from Mavs practice.
It has been true for fans watching closely. Kokoskov has taken over the role of warming up Luka pregame, and the duo can be spotted getting reps in at practice daily. Luka and Igor have a fantastic relationship that appears to be growing as the 2021-2022 regular season opener approaches on Oct. 21.
Head coach Jason Kidd discussed their relationship and what Kokoskov has brought to the coaching staff with Dwain Price of Mavs.com. Kidd had this to say about their special bond.
"I think it can help, and it has helped because he can be honest with Luka if he’s doing something. I think there’s a big respect for one another, and he understands that Igor wants the best for him and will put him in a position to be successful, so there’s trust and respect at a very, very high level, and that’s key."
Doncic had a bit of a rocky relationship with Rick Carlisle, so having Kokoskov in Dallas working with him and providing honest feedback could be massive. Fans have already seen Luka have his game locked in in the first two preseason contests. Kokoskov could be a key factor in the 22-year-old superstar winning his first MVP honors and the Mavericks advancing deep into the playoffs because Kokoskov will help Luka play his best.
Fans should get used to seeing Luka Doncic and Igor Kokoskov working together because it will happen all season long. How can the Dallas Mavericks superstar take another step forward? Kokoskov has plenty of ideas and is helping Doncic make them a reality on a daily basis, so stay tuned for plenty more on the Mavs new dynamic duo.