TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors named eight assistants to new head coach Darko Rajakovic on Tuesday.
Pat Delany, Jama Mahlalela, James Wade and assistant coach Jim Sann will be on the front bench for Toronto. Mike Batiste, Vin Bhavnani, Drew Jones and Ivo Simovic will be on the back bench.
“This coaching staff reflects the team we want to see on the pitch: great character, a lot of energy and a lot of creativity,” Rajakovic said. “We’ve already started the work we know needs to be done as we head into our first season in Toronto together.
“We are excited for the talent, for the potential of our team and for the work that lies ahead.”
Rajakovic was named Toronto’s head coach on June 13, the 10th in team history.
Sann returns for his eighth season with the Raptors. Mahlalela returns to Toronto after two seasons as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors, where he helped capture the 2022 NBA Championship. He was an assistant coach for the Raptors during the 2020-21 campaign after two seasons (2018-20). as head coach of the 905 Raptors, Toronto’s G League affiliate.
Delany arrives in Toronto after two seasons (2021-23) as an assistant coach with the Washington Wizards. Delany also served as an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic (2018-21) and Charlotte Hornets (2014-18).
Wade joins the Raptors from the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, where she spent five years as the team’s general manager and head coach. In 2021, he led the Sky to the franchise’s first WNBA championship, following four straight years of postseason appearances.
Batiste moves to Toronto after one season as an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets. Bhavnani spent a dozen seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, including four as an assistant coach, where he worked alongside Rajakovic.
Jones joins the Raptors from the Detroit Pistons, where he spent two years as an assistant coach. Before that, he was part of the Philadelphia 76ers staff for two seasons (2019-21), focused on player development. Simovoic comes to Toronto from the University of California-Los Angeles, where he was an assistant coach last season.
The Raptors also hired Noah Lewis and Rashaun Broadus on Tuesday as assistant video coordinators/player development coaches. Lewis spent last season as an assistant coach at Raptors 905. Broadus comes to the Raptors from the Memphis Grizzlies and Hustle, where he was the video coordinator and assistant coach.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 4, 2023.
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