The Texas Legends’ 2016-17 season is now officially in the books, and this season was the first for our local NBA D-League franchise under the tutelage of new head coach Bob MacKinnon Jr, and there were some big positives to come out of this recently-concluded season.
This year, the Legends, who finished 25-25, set a new franchise record for victories since the club relocated from Colorado after the 2008-2009 season. Texas also saw five different players receive call-ups to the NB, another franchise record, and the Legends also ranked third in the D-League with 117.6 points per game and tied for fifth in the circuit with 22.8 assists per game.
Given these numbers, along with the impressive work the Legends continue to do in the community, it’s understandable why their head coach is pleased with how his first season in Frisco went.
I think it’s been a very good year,” MacKinnon Jr. said. “Obviously, we’d like to get a few more wins, but I’m fortunate that I’m in an organization where the mission statement is development and community, then wins. They support us in those goals. It’s not just something that they say. Player development is very important and I’m proud of the fact that we got five call-ups.”
The veteran coach is ecstatic over seeing five of his players get an opportunity in the NBA. This group included Manny Harris and Pierre Jackson who were both signed by the Legends’ parent club, the Dallas Mavericks.
However, MacKinnon Jr. also has equally immense pride in the impact his players have had in the community throughout the season.
I’m proud of the fact that our guys, when we ask them do things in the community and you ask for volunteers, every hand in the locker room goes up,” MacKinnon Jr. said. “The things our organization does with our community… It’s just an honor to be a part of an organization that has a commitment to where we live.”
The Legends’ primary goal of player development was furthered this season by having several players who had previously played in the NBA on the roster. Guys like Renaldo Balkman, former Maverick DeJuan Blair, and former Association regular Ben Gordon.
MacKinnon Jr. has also benefitted from having several former NBA players on his coaching staff this season in Vin Baker, Charlie Bell, and Zendon Hamilton. Even though he recently concluded his first season coaching the Legends, it wasn’t like Frisco was a complete unknown to him when he became their new head coach last summer.
No, MacKinnon Jr. was already well-acquainted with what to expect in terms of fan support when he came aboard to coach the Legends. He admits the experience of being part of this and the Maverick organization for his first season here has been nothing short of amazing.
“Well, as a visitor, I always thought it was the best-run (organization in the league) and the best-attended game in our league. Now, to experience it has been tremendous,” MacKinnon Jr. said.
MacKinnon Jr. came to Frisco with a solid resume from previously coaching three other D-League franchises. In 2008-09, he led the Colorado 14ers to the league championship. That was the franchise’s last season in the Rockies as they moved to Frisco after that season to become the Legends in 2010.
Coach Mac also led both the LA D-Fenders and Springfield Armor to the playoffs during his tenures there. The Legends haven’t made the postseason since their inaugural season of 2010-11, but is a playoff return in the works for next season?
We’ll have to wait and see on that one, but given the strides Bob MacKinnon Jr. has made in year one of coaching the Legends, seeing them return to the playoffs next spring is almost expected.
Season Highlights for Manny Harris
Season Highlights for Pierre Jackson