Today we will continue a series of profiles on the Cavaliers Coaching Staff by looking the one holdover from Byron Scott’s coaching staff, Jamahl Mosley.
When Mike Brown was hired to return as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, he quickly began forming an entirely new coaching staff as the majority of former coach Byron Scott’s staff moved on to other things. This is common in the NBA, as head coaches want assistants they know and trust. In Brown’s case however, he did originally retain assistant coaches Nate Tibbetts and Jamahl Mosley. While Tibbetts has moved on to the Portland Trailblazers, Mosley will return to the Cavaliers coaching staff. Today we will shed some light on Mosley’s background and what he brings to the Cavaliers coaching staff.
At 33 years old, Mosley is the youngest member of the Cavaliers coaching staff profiled so far, but he does have several years of NBA coaching experience. After playing for the University of Colorado from 1997 to 2001, Mosley played for years of professional basketball overseas, with stops in Australia, Spain, and Korea. Immediately after his playing career ended, Mosley joined the Denver Nuggets working in the areas of player development and advance scouting. After two years Mosley was promoted to assistant coach. He credits former Nuggets coach George Karl and assistant Tim Grgurich as coaching mentors during his time as an assistant in Denver. After three years on Karl’s staff, the Cavaliers hired Mosley as an assistant to former head coach Byron Scott in July 2010.
During his time working under Scott, Scott frequently praised Mosley for his energy and work ethic. Scott even gave him the responsibility of coaching the defense for the Cavaliers last season. While this fact may give anyone who watched the team play defense pause in regards to Mosley’s coaching abilities, he is also noted for his one-on-one work with players on various aspects of their games. Most notably, Mosley is credited as the coach who has worked most frequently with forward Tristan Thompson since his being drafted by the Cavaliers in 2011. Thompson’s developmental curve in his first two seasons in the NBA has been tremendous, particularly last season after Anderson Varejao was lost for the season to injury. Mosley also showed his appreciation for Scott, who like Karl, is known as a coach who gives his assistants true responsibility and listens to their input. Since being retained by the Cavaliers and Brown, Mosley’s first responsibility was coaching the Cavaliers’ Summer League team, which finished with 3-2 record in Las Vegas.
So what does Mosley bring to Mike Brown’s coaching staff besides the ability to coach a decent Summer League team? While he is unlikely to coach the defense this year due to Brown’s expertise and lack of familiarity with Brown’s system, Mosley’s work with the Cavaliers’ players, particularly Thompson cannot be dismissed. While Phil Handy and Vitaly Potapenko are the designated player development coaches, Mosley’s expertise in this area will undoubtedly be utilized. As the only returning member of the previous coaching staff, Mosley is also the coach most familiar with the skills, personalities, and needs of players such as Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee, C.J. Miles, Tyler Zeller, and Thompson. This knowledge will be invaluable to Brown and the rest of the coaching staff as they familiarize themselves with the players on the roster. Mosley is also a familiar face to those players as they adjust to the new coaching staff and the changes that go along with that. Finally, Mosley’s three years as an assistant for Scott, coupled with his five years working under Karl, the reigning NBA Coach of the Year, brings another perspective on ways to best utilize the skill of each player on the Cavaliers’ roster. While Brown will undoubtedly have the final say on these decisions, the more positive ideas brought to the coaching staff, the greater chance of the Cavaliers having success both this season and beyond. Mosley brings a set of skills as an assistant coach that could very well be a large part of that success.