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Capital City Go-Go v Raptors 905 Photo by Christian Bonin/NBAE via Getty Images

Dial 905: Front Office and Coaching Changes

Revisiting the recent front office and coaching changes. Can these changes help the Raptors 905 bounce back from a disappointing season?

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Much like the Toronto Raptors, the Raptors 905 has undergone major changes as they prepare for the upcoming season. Coach Eric Khoury will be back at the helm as the Raptors 905 coach for the 2023-24 season. He’ll look to bounce back with a mix of new and familiar faces to help the team juggle the development of the main club’s prospects, improve the stock of their Raptors 905 players, and try to win simultaneously.

Returning Coaches

Ryerson Rams’ Arsalan Jamil becomes the longest-tenured Raptors 905 assistant coach, having served under coaches Jama Mahlalela, Patrick Mutombo, and Khoury.

Mississauga native Matt Gray returns for his second season with the Raptors 905. He was previously a video coordinator for the Boston College’s men’s basketball team.

Christian Siakam is also back for his second season as an assistant coach with the Raptors 905.

Who’s Out?

Charles Kissi left the Raptors 905 early last season after being appointed Justice of the Peace assigned to St. Catharines.

Noah Lewis appears to be moving to a player development coach with the main club. He’s also one of the defendants in this hilarious New York Knicks lawsuit.

Demetris Nichols moved on and found another gig as an assistant coach with the Wake Forest men’s basketball team.

New Faces

Brandon Leftwich joins coach Khoury’s bench after a season as a player development coach with the Wisconsin Herd (Milwaukee Bucks NBA G League team). Before that, he was a basketball operations graduate assistant at George Washington University after his stint as a grad transfer for the Colonials.

Fortune Solomon was recently an assistant coach with the South Bay Lakers (Los Angeles Lakers NBA G League team). Before that, he served as a player development analyst for the Oklahoma City Thunder when coach Darko Rajakovic was also an assistant coach. Solomon was the top assistant coach for the South Sudan Men’s National Team that made waves during the FIBA World Cup, helping lead the team to its first Olympic berth.

Joshua Henderson joins the Raptors 905 bench after spending the last four years with the Memphis Grizzlies as a player development coach. He was in charge of the development of the Grizzlies’ two-way contract players and NBA assignment players. “Coincidentally,” Henderson’s tenure with the Grizzlies overlapped with coach Darko’s.

Learn more from the new Raptors 905 assistant coach from Henderson’s appearance on Coast To Coast: All Things NBA podcast.

Analysis: Coach Khoury had a challenging season as a head coach, balancing in-game management, player management, player development, and the goal to win every game. Charles Kissi’s early departure also robbed the coaching staff of years of coaching and development experience. The three new additions should help bolster the team’s developmental environment in Mississauga, but overall, the coaching staff is a little lean on in-game coaching experience. Hopefully, coach Khoury can implement his “lessons learned” from his rookie season and turn over a new leaf with a mostly-new Raptors 905 roster this coming season.

Front Office Moves and Upcoming Key Dates

The Raptors and the Raptors 905 also made some front-office moves. Outgoing Raptors 905 GM Chad Sanders moved to the main club as the Director of Scouting. Sanders was promoted back in 2018 and, except for last season, has always managed to put up a strong squad, often competing in the playoffs. Sanders was named the NBA G-League Executive of the Year back in 2021.

Luke Winn joined the Raptors front office back in 2017 after a 15-year journalism career, including his last stop at Sports Illustrated as a senior writer covering basketball. Winn’s feature on Chris Boucher was one of the few articles available back in the days when information about him was sparse. Winn will have to juggle a couple of hats, one as the Raptors 905 GM and the Raptors’ Director of Prospect Strategy.

The Raptors 905, under their new GM Luke Winn, now prepare for the 2023-24 NBA G League Draft on October 28, 2023. From there, it’s a quick turnaround as they start the training camp on October 30, 2023, to prepare for the season opener on the road against the Long Island Nets on November 10, 2023.

Dial 905 will be back after the Raptors 905 training camp.

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