Toronto Raptors announce Coaching Staff

It's official!

It’s been announced officially, here are the guys!

Jama Mahlalela, lead assistant: Beloved member of the Raptors run up to the championship, and a decorated player and coach at this point in time. Former UBC basketball player (1999-2004), assistant coach at the University of Toronto (2004-2008), Raptors community development (2006-2013), Raptors assistant (2013-2018), head coach of the Raptors 905 (2018-2020), Raptors assistant (2020-2021), Assistant coach and head of player development with the Warriors (2021-2023), and now finally a lead assistant back with the Raptors.

During all of this he’s had significant impact on NBA player development and grassroots development wherever he’s gone, as he’s always involved in youth clinics here, and abroad. He’s well liked by everyone I’ve talked to.

Pat Delany, lead assistant: Sioux Falls Skyforce Head Coach (2013-2014), Charlotte Hornets Assistant Coach (2014-2018), Orlando Magic Assistant Coach (2018-2021), Washington Wizards Assistant Coach (2021-2023), and now a lead assistant with the Raptors. Admittedly, I know much less about his life and story, but I’m hoping to learn more at Summer League.

James Wade, lead assistant: Had a 13-year playing career all across Europe, started as a coaching intern with the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars while focusing on player development and eventually a full time assistant coach in 2013, took an assistant coaching role with BLMA (a women’s French league team) during the WNBA offseasons, coaching with both teams until 2016. He was an assistant coach, and WNBA champion for the Minnesota Lynx (2017-2018), he was an assistant coach UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia (2017-2020), and in late 2018 he was named the Head Coach and General Manager for the Chicago Sky where he would win coach of the year (2019), became a WNBA champion (2021), and won Executive of the Year (2022). He is now an assistant for the Raptors.

He was the winning coach of the first ever WNBA game in Canada. I was there to cover that game and got to talk to him: he was really great. Very charismatic, a vibes-bringer, as it were. Looking forward to more conversations with him, and what he’ll bring to the coaching staff.

Back of bench + Development

Jim Sann: Legendary development coach for the Raptors since 2016, after stints with the Houston Rockets (2004-05), New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets (2005-10, 2013-16) and Chicago Bulls (2010-12). He first joined the Raptors as an assistant coach during the 2003-04 season, and began his career with the New York Knicks, where he held various positions over his 11 seasons with the team. Sann graduated from the University of Colorado.

Ivo Simovic, assistant coach: In 2001, Simovic started coaching the same Serbian youth system that Rajakovic got his start in. In 2007, he became head coach of Espacio Torrelodones, a job that Rajakovic would succeed him in, after Simovic went into management. Simovic was an international scout for the Spurs, and was an assistant coach for them during 2013 and 2014 Summer League. At the collegiate level, Simovic has been on staff at: Hartford, UNC Charlotte, Loyola, and UCLA (where he just left).

A frequent collaborator of Rajakovic’s, and another coach with a long history of development.

Vin Bhavnani, assistant coach: most notably, Bhavnani was a development coach for the Thunder during Darko’s time with the team. He got his start as a video coordinator for the San Antonio Spurs. Most recently, he’s been a self-employed skills coach in the Oklahoma City area.

Michael Batiste, assistant coach: played 14 years professionally, including 75 games played in the NBA, and heaps of Euroleague accolades and championships. His coaching career started in 2014 with the Canton charge as an assistant coach, he then moved on to the Brooklyn Nets as an assistant development coach, and in the time since he’s been an assistant coach for Charlotte, Orlando, Washington, and Houston.

Drew Jones: joins the Raptors from the Detroit Pistons, where he spent two years as an assistant coach. Prior to that, he was part of the Philadelphia 76ers staff for two seasons (2019-21), focused on player development. He began his professional career with the Thunder, spending nearly five years with the organization and working as a video analyst, player development coach and as an assistant coach with their G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue. Jones played college basketball at Penn State (2006-11), and before receiving a Master of Education from the university in 2015, he played professionally in Slovakia, Greece and Ukraine.

The Raptors have also hired Noah Lewis and Rashaun Broadus as assistant video coordinators/player development coaches. Lewis spent last season as an assistant coach with Raptors 905, and joined the organization in 2021 as a Wayne and Theresa Embry Fellow. He graduated from Mount Royal University and has a Master of Sport Science from Loughborough University London in the United Kingdom. Broadus comes to the Raptors from the Memphis Grizzlies and Hustle, where he was a video coordinator and assistant coach. He has played professionally overseas, and in the International Basketball League and National Basketball League of Canada.

A young staff, with a lot of development experience. “This coaching staff reflects the team we want to see on the court – high character, high energy, and high creativity,” Rajaković said. “We’ve already begun the work we know needs to be done as we head into our first season in Toronto together. We’re excited by the talent, by our team’s potential, and by the job ahead.”

Have a blessed day.