Bob MacKinnon -- one of the most accomplished coaches in the history of the NBA Developmental League -- tells DallasBasketball.com this afternoon he is joining the Dallas Mavericks family as head coach of the D-League Texas Legends. And he'll coach the Mavs' Summer League team in Orlando next week as well.
"I'm flying to Orlando tomorrow and the first game is 9 a.m. Saturday,'' said MacKinnon from his North Carolina home. "It's going to be a great time. The Summer League, to me, is like the D-League -- only on steroids. The energy is that powerful.''
MacKinnon will be one of the rare D-League coaches in history in charge of a Summer League team.
"I don't know that that's happened many times before, so it's very unusual,'' he said, adding that the "synergy makes sense. The players are hustling, trying to make an impression on people in a short time ... and they more connection there is between the (Mavs) and the (Legends), the better it is for ll involved.''
MacKinnon, 55, has a lengthy 30-year resume as an NBA scout, as a college assistant (including at North Carolina) and as a D-League coach, most recently with the Lakers affiliate the D-Fenders. He was with Springfield, Idaho and Colorado before that, his 14ers posting a 34-16 regular-season record and winning the D-League championship in 2008-09. He is the D-League's all-time leader in overseeing players who've gotten NBA call-ups.
MacKinnon — the son of the late NBA coach and administrator Bob McKinnon — is credited with developing a host of eventual NBA players and also has overseas connections due to his time coaching in the Chinese Basketball Association in 2011-12. He’ll replace coach Nick Van Exel (who has taken a job as an assistant coach in Memphis) for the Legends, which are owned by Mavs boss Donnie Nelson. And he'll continue a blossoming effort by the Mavs to fully utilize the D-League as a place to teach and refine talent. "Synergy,'' you see.
"That's especially important when have a young team,'' says MacKinnon. "The guys are running the same stuff (as the parent team), using the same terminology, not having to worry about new things. ... They'll just have to concern themselves with getting better.''
And with listening to Bob MacKinnon -- who has a track record of doing just that for aspiring NBA players.