The D-League is about to get a whole lot more personality.
The Toronto Raptors have opted to go with Jerry Stackhouse as the next head coach of their D-League affiliate, Raptors 905, according to a report from Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor.
As affable and quotable as they come, Stackhouse only has a year of experience on an NBA staff, having landed with the Raptors last summer. He does, however, bring some experience coaching at the AAU level, and he got a taste of running a team at Las Vegas Summer League last month. During his freshman season as an assistant, players spoke highly of working with Stackhosue one-on-one, particularly on the offensive end of the floor, and it’s clear his personality helps provide some amount of necessary levity at times.
It’s hard to get a gauge for how effective Stackhouse may be as the man in charge, and it will be interesting to see how the young players respond to him. (The 905 run the parent club’s schemes at each end of the floor, using largely the same playbook, but Stackhouse may ditch the Raptors’ offense in favor of nothing but long twos.) If nothing else, it should be a lot of fun to see and hear Stackhouse trash-talking from the sidelines.
"Oh yeah, I had 'Ballgame, it's over.' I still got my trash-talk with me now." – Stackhouse on sideline chirping. https://t.co/bqcnVKnkW9
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) July 12, 2016
This represents a great opportunity for Stackhouse to continue to grow his resume behind the bench. Other D-League coaches have appreciated the assignment, believing it not only provides experience as a head coach but can help improve a coach’s skill set for an eventual return to an assistant role. It’s the D-League for everyone, after all, and Stackhouse is on a good timeline just three years removed from the end of his playing career.
He’ll be replacing the outgoing Jesse Mermuys, who left the post after the inaugural season (in which he did a great job) to take the second chair on Luke Walton’s bench with the Los Angeles Lakers. It was originally believed that Raptors player development coach Jama Mahlalela was the frontrunner for the job, with 905 assistant David Gale potentially also in the mix (keep the 32-year-old Gale on your radar over the next couple of years). Mahlalela, who was the primary coach in Vegas, was cool on the idea, a source told Raptors Republic, and head coach Dwane Casey may not have loved the thought of losing his top player development assistant in back-to-back seasons. (The move still leaves Casey’s staff a little thin, having lost Andy Greer and now Stackhouse, and the team could look to bolster the bench in the coming weeks.)
It’s unclear what the Raptors 905 roster will look like for 2016-17 beyond the likely presences of Bruno Caboclo, Pascal Siakam, and Jakob Poeltl. The team retains the returning rights to anyone who finished last season on the roster (E.J. Singler and Davion Berry), have the rights to a few other names, and could look to acquire other player rights through trade (Drew Crawford) or the draft (Yanick Moreira), depending on who opts for the D-League over an international deal. Training camp began in early November last year.Follow @raptorsrepublic