Raptors longtime assistant Jama Mahlalela hired by Golden State

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Trung Ho/trungho.ca

In what was almost inadvertently swept past Toronto fans and writers alike, surprising news broke Wednesday night regarding the Toronto Raptors coaching staff.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Anthony Slater (Golden State Warriors beat writer), longtime Raptors assistant coach Jama Mahlalela has been hired by the Golden State Warriors.

Mahlalela joins a transformed Warriors staff that saw Steve Kerr also add former Brooklyn Nets head coach, Kenny Atkinson. Atkinson will join the incumbent Mike Brown as lead assistants beside Kerr. As well as both Mahlalela and Atkinson, Golden State hired Dejan Milojević. Milojević is well known amongst basketball circles as the former Adriatic League head coach of current NBA MVP Nikola Jokic.

Steve Kerr’s lead assistant and former NBA-er, Jarron Collins parted ways with the organization at the conclusion of the NBA season, leaving a large vacancy for Kerr to fill.

Mahlalela joined the Raptors staff prior to the 2013-2014 season under Dwane Casey. He worked as an assistant for four full seasons, mainly in a player-development role. From 2018-2020, he served as the head coach for the Toronto Raptors G-League franchise, Raptors 905. He finished with a 51-42 record as a head coach (2019-2020 season was cancelled midway due to COVID-19 pandemic). He then returned for the 2020-2021 NBA season to work as an assistant under Nick Nurse.

Jama Mahlalela was deeply connected to the local fabric of the Toronto community. He was heavily involved in local basketball initiatives and camps. Before even becoming an assistant, Jama began his Raptors ‘career’ as a member of their community development staff. He was a large part of the Raptors Basketball Academy and contributed to basketball clinics nationwide before he ventured into coaching.

This adds to the already-departed Sergio Scariolo, who was hired in June as the newest head coach of Italian lega Basket Serie A club, Virtus Bologna.

With the Warriors holding both the 7th and 14th selections in the 2021 NBA Draft, as well as selecting James Wiseman in the 2020 NBA Draft — Steve Kerr has placed a clear emphasis on player and skill development.

Mahlalela presumes to take on a massive role in the progression plan laid out for the Golden State Warriors.

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