The Raptors didn’t need to go far in their search for the next head coach of Raptors 905. Toronto’s front office announced today that Jama Mahlalela, former assistant coach with the Raptors, will coach the team’s G League affiliate.
The @Raptors announced that Jama Mahlalela has been named head coach of their NBA G League affiliate, @Raptors905 . Mahlalela becomes the third head coach in team history and joins the club following five seasons as an assistant coach at the NBA level. pic.twitter.com/U79e5CeGY2— RaptorsMR (@RaptorsMR) June 19, 2018
Mahlalela has been a mainstay with the Raptors organization for a few years now, slowly moving his way down the bench to be one of Dwane Casey’s best assistants during the 2017-18 campaign. He replaces Jerry Stackhouse, who left the Raptors to join the Memphis Grizzlies assistant coaching staff. Also, with Nick Nurse’s promotion and Rex Kalamian’s departure, Mahlalela makes sense as an internal candidate that can promote the same systems and style of the “big league” team with the 905.
Mahlalela joined Toronto in 2011 as the director of player development before transitioning to game planning, individual skill-development and off-season programs in 2013-14. There’s a great feature from The Athletic’s Eric Koreen on Mahlalela, published on Vice Sports in 2016, that removes the curtain from this kind of work. In a word, it portrayed the coach as “enthusiastic”, and while I admittedly can’t critique his work personally, this seems to be the consensus on who he is as a coach. That contagious positivity will be a huge benefit to developing players with the 905.
This move also signals a need for the Raptors to start hiring a bench for Nick Nurse. Expect the next move to come in this area.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled trade machine programming.