The Dallas Mavericks made plenty of changes in the 2021 offseason. One of the most underrated roles in the NBA is assistant coaching. They often deal with individual players more than the head coach, and if they can strike a good relationship, it can be paramount to the team's success. It was a massive hire when first-year head coach Jason Kidd brought Igor Kokoskov to the Mavs' staff as a lead assistant.
Kokoskov is well-traveled as he has coached in Serbia, Georgia, and Turkey, along with assistant coaching jobs at numerous different spots in the NBA. He, for one season, was the Suns head coach during the 2018-19 season, which is his only head coaching job in the NBA to date.
Kokoskov's impact on this Mavericks team is being heavily undervalued, and it is time more fans notice how important he is.
The underrated impact of Igor Kokoskov on the Dallas Mavericks
Igor Kokoskov's brief stint as the Suns head coach was somewhat disappointing, but fans should not forget how accomplished and seasoned he is in the league. Kokoskov has been an assistant coach of seven different franchises before joining the Mavericks staff. He most notably was an assistant during the Pistons 2004 title run. Kokoskov knows what it takes to win, and he will help Kidd instill that winning attitude into the team.
Kokoskov has also built a reputation around the league as a fantastic talent developer. He's helped develop guys like Ricky Rubio, Donovan Mitchell, Mikal Bridges, and many more throughout his credentialed career. Devin Booker even went on to say that Kokoskov was a "student of the game." Kokoskov drew positive reviews from Booker for his advanced basketball mind, even after he was let go by the Suns.
This part of Kokoskov's skill set is crucial because the Mavs have had trouble recently developing young players. Kokoskov's gift of player development will help elevate everyone, but it will benefit the younger guys like Moses Brown and Josh Green the most.
While the earlier mentioned positives Igor Kokoskov brings are excellent, his most significant impact is his special relationship with Mavs superstar Luka Doncic. A good assistant coach with a good relationship with players is a massive asset. Keeping players happy is enormous, and Kokoskov helps that in the most significant way.
Kokoshov was head of Luka and the Slovenian National Team when they won EuroBasket 2017, and the two have an excellent relationship. Luka losing his go-to guy in Jamahl Mosely to the Magic makes it extremely important that Doncic now has someone to lean on when he's having trouble.
Many people underrate the impact that assistant coaches can have on a team. Jason Kidd knows that himself, and it is a big reason he has filled out the coaching staff with a lot of his former teammates that he's won championships with, whether as a coach or player. That championship pedigree is something teams need, and having Igor Kokoskov will prove to be a sneaky but vital piece for the Dallas Mavericks.