Jamahl Mosley

Magic Notes: Chippy Play, Fultz, Game 1 Flop, Lineup, Mosley

Game 1 between the Magic and Cavaliers had an edge to it and it could get even more chippier as the series goes along, The Athletic’s Josh Robbins opines. Orlando’s Markelle Fultz was assessed a Flagrant-1 foul and the Cavs’ Georges Niang received a technical foul for an altercation during the series opener.

“Either he was going to hit me first or I was going to hit him,” Fultz said. “So, I just took the initiative to body up, not trying to hurt nobody or anything like that but just deliver a hit, make it be known that we’re not soft.”

Cleveland’s Isaac Okoro received a technical foul for shoving Moritz Wagner during another incident.

“We love that stuff,” Magic guard Cole Anthony said. “Especially for us, we’re a hard-nosed team. We want the game to be physical. So, I think that for us that works in our favor.”

We have more on the Magic:

  • The Magic tried to quickly move on from their 97-83 loss in Game 1, in which they shot a woeful 32.6% from the field. “It’s the first game,” center Wendell Carter said. “We don’t want to overreact to anything. The first game on the road, we got to see what kind of game they want to play. I think we’re good. I thought we did really good defensively. I think offensively we struggled. Holding a team under 100 is always a good defensive outing.”
  • There will be no changes to the starting lineup for Game 2 tonight, Robbins tweets. Jalen Suggs, Gary Harris, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Jonathan Isaac will take the court for the opening tip.
  • In a subscriber-only piece, Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel details how Jamahl Mosley‘s methods propelled his team to the postseason, comparing and contrasting him to other recent first time head coaches who flopped on rebuilding teams.

Doncic, Gilgeous-Alexander, Jokic Named MVP Finalists

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Nuggets center Nikola Jokic were revealed on Sunday as the finalists for the Most Valuable Player award, according to the NBA (Twitter link).

Doncic led the league in scoring (33.9 points per game) and finished second in assists (9.8) while also grabbing 9.2 rebounds per contest. Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder to the top seed in the Western Conference by averaging 30.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 2.0 steals per contest. Jokic, who is widely considered the favorite to win his third MVP trophy, averaged 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists per night.

The NBA also announced the finalists for six other postseason awards. Here are the finalists for all of those awards:

Most Valuable Player

Sixth Man

Defensive Player of the Year

Most Improved Player

Note: Sengun appeared in just 63 games but was eligible for award consideration based on the season-ending injury exception described in our glossary entry on the 65-game rule.

Coach of the Year

  • Mark Daigneault, Thunder
  • Chris Finch, Timberwolves
  • Jamahl Mosley, Magic

Rookie of the Year

Clutch Player of the Year

Thunder’s Mark Daigneault Wins Coaches Association Award

Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault has won the Michael H. Goldberg award for the 2023/24 season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports that Daigneault has been named the National Basketball Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year.

This award, introduced in 2017 and named after longtime NBCA executive director Michael H. Goldberg, is voted on by the NBA’s 30 head coaches, none of whom can vote for himself.

However, it isn’t the NBA’s official Coach of the Year award, which is voted on by media members and is represented by the Red Auerbach Trophy. The winner of that award will be announced later this spring.

J.B. Bickerstaff (Cavaliers), Chris Finch (Timberwolves), Joe Mazzulla (Celtics), and Jamahl Mosley (Magic) also received votes from their fellow coaches for this year’s NBCA award, per Wojnarowski.

Daigneault, who is just 39 years old, has overseen the rebuild in Oklahoma City since 2020. After winning just 22 games in his first year on the job, the Thunder increased that total to 24 in 2021/22, 40 in ’22/23, and 57 in ’23/24. That 57-25 record this season made the Thunder the improbable No. 1 seed in the West in their first trip to the playoffs during Daigneault’s tenure.

As Wojnarowski points out, Oklahoma City was one of just two NBA teams this season – along with Boston – to finish in the top five in both offensive and defensive rating. The Thunder’s 118.3 offensive rating ranked third in the NBA, while their 111.0 defensive rating was fourth.

The NBCA Coach of the Year award has frequently been a bellwether for the NBA’s Coach of the Year honor, which bodes well for Daigneault. In five of the seven years since the award’s inception, the winner has gone on to be named the NBA’s Coach of the Year.

Southeast Notes: Love, Heat, Mosley, Kispert

There was some positive news on the Heat’s injury report on Monday. Kevin Love has been upgraded to questionable for Tuesday’s game, Anthony Chiang of The Athletic tweets. Love, who holds a $4MM option on his contract for next season, hasn’t played since Feb. 27 due to a heel injury.

Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson will remain sidelined for the Heat’s game against the Warriors.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat are trying to avoid the play-in tournament for the second straight season, which makes the remaining games crucial, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. Their head coach knows that is meaningful to his players. “We beat ourselves up after poor performances, and we just can’t wait to get back out there again and try to make amends for it,” Erik Spoelstra said. “And that’s the thing I really admire about this group. This group cares.”
  • Magic guard Cole Anthony believes Jamahl Mosley‘s body of work should be considered when votes are taken for Coach of the Year honors, Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. “Just seeing the direction, the trajectory he’s going on. That should tell you what it is right here. We really haven’t changed the roster much. … We all, obviously, have gotten better and he’s obviously gotten better as a coach, too,” Anthony said.
  • In a feature story, The Washington Post’s Ava Wallace takes a closer look on how Corey Kispert has become a fixture for the Wizards during their rebuild. Kispert is averaging 12.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game but the numbers don’t tell the whole story, Wallace notes. His pick-and-roll usage is up, along with his field goal attempts, and he’s far more active in the paint. Kispert is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Wright, Peterson, Mosley

Ted Leonsisplan to move the Wizards from Washington, D.C. to Alexandria, Virginia appears to be on life support, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic.

As Aldridge details, Virginia senator Louise Lucas, who is the chair of the state senate’s Finance and Appropriations Committee, removed the proposal to build a new arena and “entertainment district” from the state’s 2024 budget, and that budget was approved on Saturday by Virginia’s General Assembly.

While it’s possible that proposal will be revived and regain momentum as a result of various political maneuvering, Aldridge believes the setback gives Leonsis a chance to return to the bargaining table with D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser to figure out a deal that would keep the Wizards in Washington going forward. Reaching a compromise to keep the Wizards in the nation’s capital would allow everyone to save face, Aldridge contends.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Heat guard Delon Wright, who signed with Miami last month after being waived by Washington, has been a DNP-CD for five straight games, including a surprising loss to his former team on Sunday. However, he’s not complaining about his role, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “I’m just trying to stay as ready as I can,” Wright said. “I can’t complain too much because I’m coming into a different situation with a team that just went to the Finals. I’m just trying to fit in. I’m not in a position to be moping around. So I just have to stay ready whenever I’m called upon and do the best I can with whatever role they give me.”
  • Nets guard Dennis Schröder, who knew Jeff Peterson in Atlanta before reuniting with him briefly in Brooklyn, said the Hornets‘ new head of basketball operations is a “great human being” who is honest, straightforward, and holds people accountable, per Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Peterson is already making a positive impression on Hornets players, Boone adds. “Yeah, he’s engaged,” Miles Bridges said. “He’s coming to every practice, every game. And just to have a GM who cares and shows up all the time means a lot.”
  • Jamahl Mosley‘s new four-year extension with the Magic doesn’t include a team option for the 2027/28 season, a league source tells Josh Robbins of The Athletic. That reporting suggests the deal is fully guaranteed.

Magic, Jamahl Mosley Agree To Four-Year Extension

8:35am: The Magic have officially announced Mosley’s contract extension, confirming in a press release that it runs through 2027/28.

“Jamahl and his staff have done a tremendous job not only this season, but since we hired him back in 2021,” president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said in a statement. “His preparation, work ethic, ability to connect with the players, and passion he brings to the job every day brings positive results, both on the court and off. We are very happy to have Jamahl lead the Magic for years to come.”

8:14am: The Magic have agreed to a new long-term contract with Jamahl Mosley, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports that Orlando’s head coach is set to sign a four-year extension that will take him through the 2027/28 season.

Mosley, who was hired by the Magic to replace Steve Clifford in 2021, got off to a slow start with a rebuilding Orlando club, leading the team to a 22-60 record in ’21/22. However, he has improved upon that mark in each of the two subsequent seasons.

The Magic went 34-48 last season and are 37-28 so far in ’23/24. Overall, Mosley has a modest 93-136 (.406) record, but he has Orlando on pace to post its highest winning percentage since 2010/11 and well positioned to earn its first playoff berth since 2020.

As Wojnarowski notes, the Magic’s defensive turnaround under Mosley has been impressive. After ranking 26th in defensive rating during Clifford’s final season, the team improved each year under Mosley and is currently fifth in the NBA with a 111.3 defensive rating this season.

Prior to being hired by the Magic, Mosley spent seven years as a Mavericks assistant under Rick Carlisle. He transitioned from playing to coaching in 2005 and began his coaching career with stints in Denver (2005-10) and Cleveland (2010-14).

Mosley’s initial contract with the Magic was reported at the time to be a four-year deal, but it’s possible that fourth year (2024/25) was a team option. Based on Wojnarowski’s reporting, it sounds like the new four-year extension will begin in ’24/25, perhaps replacing that option year.

Southeast Notes: Bey, Windler, Wizards, Mosley

Hawks forward Saddiq Bey is no stranger to hard work, transforming himself into a more physical player who’s averaging a career-high 6.5 rebounds per game and is driving to the basket more often, writes Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscriber link).

Williams dives into Bey’s regimen and work with trainer Myron Flowers. Bey, who will be a restricted free agent this offseason if he’s extended a qualifying offer, has played a variety of roles for the Hawks.

Bey is averaging 13.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest this season. He’s in the final year of his rookie contract, making $4.6MM this season, and recently met the “starter criteria” for potential restricted free agents, so if he’s extended a qualifying offer, it will be worth $8.5MM.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks signed Dylan Windler to a two-way contract on Monday, and he’s already seeing how he can mesh with the team, Williams writes in a separate story. “I mean, even just from the little bits I’ve seen and playing against the Hawks from time to time, seeing Coach Quin’s system, I think it’s a system that I fit right into it,” Windler said. “A lot of threes up, run, good spacing, crash the offensive glass, prioritize next possessions. And so I think it’s a system I good fit really well into.
  • The Wizards fell to Orlando on Wednesday, blowing a 21-point lead en route to a franchise record-tying 16th consecutive loss, The Washington Post’s Ava Wallace observes. “Yeah, we addressed [the streak],” point guard Tyus Jones said. “But six games, 16 games, you don’t want to lose many in a row, ever. Regardless of how many it is. At this point … we’ve got to be more desperate. We’ve got to want it more. We don’t want it enough right now. We’ve got to come out and by any means get a win, and that’s not the attitude we have right now.
  • The Magic, conversely, won their fifth straight game by beating Washington and are in fourth in the Eastern Conference. Josh Robbins of The Athletic explores the job Jamahl Mosley has done in Orlando this season, writing that he should at least be in the conversation for Coach of the Year. Paolo Banchero, Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony and Moritz Wagner are key contributors who praise Mosley’s ability. “He has some fire to him,” Wagner said. “Obviously, you need to have that. I think we all trust him. I think he trusts us to respond. He cares a lot. As players, we feel that when your coach cares about you. So, you take to heart what he says.

Magic’s Mosley, Timberwolves’ Finch Earn Coach Of Month Honors

The Magic‘s Jamahl Mosley has been named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month, the NBA announced today (via Twitter). The Timberwolves Chris Finch earned Western Conference Coach of the Month honors.

This is the first time that Mosley has won the league’s monthly award for coaches. It’s also the first time a Magic head coach has received the honor since Steve Clifford in March/April 2019. During October and November, Mosley guided Orlando to a 13-5 record, which was second-best in the Eastern Conference and third-best in the NBA. The Magic went 11-3 in November.

Finch also gained the honor the first time. He’s the third Timberwolves head coach to win the award and the first since Kevin McHale in January 2009. The team’s 14-4 start marked the best 18-game record to begin a season in Timberwolves history. Finch also led Minnesota to a 13-2 record in November.

J.B. Bickerstaff (Cavaliers), Rick Carlisle (Pacers), Joe Mazzulla (Celtics) and Nick Nurse (Sixers) were the other nominees in the East. Mark Daigneault (Thunder), Jason Kidd (Mavericks), Michael Malone (Nuggets) and Ime Udoka (Rockets) were the other nominees in the West (Twitter link).

Southeast Notes: Jovic, Anthony, Mosley, Bridges

Despite a promising summer that saw him play a key role for Serbia’s national team at the World Cup, Nikola Jovic has been unable to crack the Heat‘s regular rotation so far this season, appearing in just two games for the club. Noting that the former first-round pick “needs to play,” head coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed on Saturday that Jovic will be sent to the G League for “a few games,” according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

Jovic doesn’t see the assignment to the Sioux Falls Skyforce as a step back, explaining that he welcomes the opportunity to get on the court.

“I just want to play. That’s it,” the 20-year-old said. “I just want to get some playing time, stay in a rhythm, you never know what’s going to happen [with the Heat]. Maybe they’ll need more help from me, you never know. I just want to improve and these guys do a great job at it. Even being in the G League, I feel like it’s going to be great for me.”

As Chiang explains, while Jovic has flashed an intriguing combination of ball-handling, facilitating, and shooting for his size (6’10”), his defense is still very much a “work in progress,” which is a key reason why he hasn’t been able to establish a consistent role in Miami.

Here are a few more items from around the Southeast:

  • Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Magic guard Cole Anthony suggested that competing in the World Cup helped teammates Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner become “more complete players” and said that making the playoffs is Orlando’s goal this season. Anthony also reiterated a point he made last month, telling Scotto that he’s happy to have resolved his contract situation by signing a rookie scale contract extension due to the security it provides. “It allowed me to play the game without the stress of worrying if I play badly that shoot, that’s my career,” Anthony said.
  • In that same conversation, Anthony lauded Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley for the role he has played in the team’s growth, telling Scotto that Mosley is “up front” and “candid” with his players. “I can tell why people in Dallas spoke highly of him,” Anthony said of the former Mavericks assistant. “He’s a really good dude who cares about his players about all of us beyond basketball. It’s been fun to play for him. He allows us to play through a lot of our mistakes. He’s also grown as a coach. This is his first head coaching gig. He’s doing a great job. He’s gotten better as a coach, and we’ve gotten better as players. It’s been fun.”
  • In an appearance on Sportsnet 590 The Fan (Twitter video link), NBA commissioner Adam Silver discussed the status of Miles Bridges, who returned on Friday from a suspension related to domestic violence charges, despite the fact that the Hornets forward faces newer allegations. As Silver explained, the league intends to let the legal process play out before deciding whether to assess an additional punishment related to those allegations.

Team USA Finalizes Select Team Roster

USA Basketball has officially announced its Select Team roster, announcing in a press release that 14 players will get the opportunity to train with and scrimmage against the primary 12-man national team roster as it prepares for the 2023 World Cup.

Those 14 players, most of whom have been previous reported, are as follows:

As Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press notes (via Twitter), Galloway, Jenkins, and Mika aren’t currently in the NBA but were among the players who suited up for Team USA during the qualifying games for the World Cup, ensuring that the U.S. earned a spot in the tournament. They’ll be rewarded for their contributions by getting spots on the select team and taking part in the lead-up to the World Cup.

“We are confident that our USA Men’s Select Team will do a great job helping prepare the men’s national team for the 2023 Men’s FIBA World Cup,” national team managing director Grant Hill said in a statement. “We have a good mix of young NBA players and those who helped us qualify for the World Cup, all of who will play a huge role in our success in Manila, as we continue to develop the national team pipeline for years to come.”

The select team will be coached by Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley, who will be joined by assistants Jim Boylen and Matt Painter. Boylen, a former Bulls head coach and current Pacers assistant, was Team USA’s head coach during the qualifying contests. Painter has been the longtime head coach at Purdue.

As we’ve previously noted, members of the U.S. select team would be candidates for promotion if any players from the national team roster have to withdraw from the World Cup for any reason.

Even if no substitutions are necessary, the players on the select team could eventually be called upon by USA Basketball to join future Olympic or World Cup teams. Brandon Ingram, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Mikal Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Jalen Brunson are among those on this year’s World Cup roster who were members of the U.S. select teams for the 2016 Olympics, 2019 World Cup, or 2021 Olympics.

In addition to Ingram, Edwards, Haliburton, Bridges, Jackson, and Brunson, the U.S. World Cup roster consists of Cameron Johnson, Austin Reaves, Paolo Banchero, Bobby Portis, Josh Hart, and Walker Kessler.