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NBA Toronto Raptors assistant coach Jerry Stackhouse

NBA Coach Firing Season Opens Doors For Raptors Jerry Stackhouse

By Frank McLean

In the NFL they call it Black Monday. The day after the regular season ends and head coaches who have had a bad year don’t want to answer their cell phones, check their texts or emails because they are going to get fired. The NBA coach firing season starts on Black Thursday and this year it got underway before the sun even had a chance to rise in the eastern time zone.

In what was one of the worst kept secrets in the league the New York Knicks fired Jeff Hornacek early Thursday as their plane landed in New York City after they finished the season knocking off the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

Hornacek probably knew the noose was coming when all three of his bosses, president Steve Mills, general manager Scott Perry and player development director Craig Robinson, came along for the trip. They weren’t there to do a team evaluation, they know the Knicks stink and the job was to hand out a pink slip.

So since 2001 the Knicks will now be hiring their 11th coach since Jeff Van Gundy resigned in 2001.

11 coaches in 17 years, now if that is not the definition of a poorly run franchise, what is?

Also fired was assistant coach Kurt Rambis. Hornacek and Rambis are the last remaining pieces of the Phil Jackson era, so now, finally, the new management team can hire their own people.

Meanwhile in Orlando president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman and general manager John Hammond fired head coach Frank Vogel after two years on the job.

Vogel was a hire of previous management and it’s not because he had a 54-110 record with the Magic. They know he is a good coach and he had 250-184 record with the Indiana Pacers before Larry Bird fired him for reasons no could figure out after the Raptors eliminated them in a tough seven game first round playoff series.

It’s a case of Weltman and Hammond wanting to bring in their own coach.

In an article in Thursday mornings New York Post, Knicks beat writer Marc Berman listed names of possible candidates like ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, former and current head coaches David Fizdale, Jason Kidd, David Blatt, Doc Rivers if the Clippers release him and Raptors 905 G League head coach Jerry Stackhouse.

ESPN is already reporting that the Knicks have heavy interest in the Raptors 905 coach, but Orlando could also be a landing place for him and Stackhouse hinted he’s just waiting for his phone to ring.

“For a (NBA) team that needs a coaching change and we don’t know which teams those are, hopefully I get an opportunity to interview,” Stackhouse said after his loss in the G League Finals. “I hate speaking about other people’s jobs that haven’t even been taken yet. As those dominos fall, hopefully I get an opportunity to sit down and talk about what I’ve been able to witness being a part of the Raptors organization.”

Weltman is the former number two man to Raptors president Masai Ujiri and he would be crazy not to go after Stackhouse or Raptors assistant coach Nick Nurse who is another hot candidate likely to get a shot at coaching an NBA team.

Probably, by the time this day is through, it shouldn’t be a surprise if more coaches are fired. It is Black Thursday.

Here’s a hint. If you are an NBA coach and you finished with a record below .500, don’t answer the phone. You may be unemployed before it’s time for dinner.

 

 

DeMar DeRozan & Frank McLeanVeteran journalist Frank McLean has covered nearly every Raptors game in Toronto since their inaugural season at the Skydome back in 1995-96. He has seen it all. The good, the bad and the really bad and he is one of the very few journalists in Toronto that has kept coming back for more.

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors Jerry Stackhouse and Pascal Siakam 2017

Will The Raptors Lose Coach Jerry Stackhouse To The Knicks This Summer?

By Frank McLean

In professional sports when other teams look to try poaching your assistant coaches, or front office personnel it’s considered a compliment. It means your organization has been successful and teams which have not had much success will try to grab someone from a winning team in the hope that they can bring that success to them.

Such is the case of Raptors 905 coach Jerry Stackhouse. The work he is done with the Raptors G-League entry has not gone unnoticed in the front offices of the NBA’s other 29 teams.

After leading the 905 to the championship last season with a roster that had a lot of help from current Raptors Pascal Siakam and Fred Van Fleet, it was almost like they brought in ringers, but that wasn’t the case. It was player development and you can see it in their play on the big club this year.

This season, however, it’s been a different story.

With a roster that did not have half the talent that last year’s squad had, they started 4-9 and then went on a 27-10 tear to finish 31-19 and just one game back of the Westchester Knicks for first place in the Atlantic Division.

After knocking off Grand Rapids in a one game playoff at home they went to Westchester Monday night and beat the Knicks in another one game playoff highlighted by a stifling defense that shutdown the baby Knicks. If they can beat Erie Saturday night they get a shot at back-to-back championships.

As a result, a story in Wednesday’s edition of the New York Post has the Knicks interested in Stackhouse being their next head coach as current head coach Jeff Hornacek’s future on Broadway could be in doubt.

Now if Stackhouse does interview with Knicks it wouldn’t be the first time he looked for work in New York City.

In 2014, after he had retired with the Nets as a player at 38-years-old, Stackhouse interviewed with then Knicks President Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills as a player development coach and that’s what makes Stackhouse a good fit for a struggling team. He has proven he can teach the skills needed to be successful in the NBA and more importantly, teach you how to win.

The Knicks are a mess and they are going to have to start from scratch and rebuild and Stackhouse fits what they should be looking for in a coach. Unfortunately for the Knicks, as many as 10-other NBA teams looking for a coach in the offseason.

During the G-League Showcase back in January I talked to scouts and front office people from other NBA teams and they were all talking about the work Stackhouse has done. It would be a surprise if Stackhouse does not get a shot at an NBA head coaching spot this summer.

That’s what happens when you are good. Teams come for your people. The Raptors should be flattered.

 

 

DeMar DeRozan & Frank McLeanVeteran journalist Frank McLean has covered nearly every Raptors game in Toronto since their inaugural season at the Skydome back in 1995-96. He has seen it all. The good, the bad and the really bad and he is one of the very few journalists in Toronto that has kept coming back for more.

 

 

 

NBA D-League Mississauga Raptors 905 Edy Tavares

Raptors 905 Use Crushing Defense To Advance To East Finals

Raptors 905 advanced to the East Finals of the 2017 NBA D-League Playoffs after beating the Canton Charge with crushing defense, 108-90 Saturday night at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga.

“Defense, great defense,” Raptors 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “The guys were locked in. I thought our game plan was sound. After Game One we had film to watch and we watched every possession on film. The guys hate that, but it gets us better prepared. I thought they came out with a ton of energy and great focus.”

The 905 dominated from tip, holding the Charge to 4-24 shooting from the field in the first quarter on the back of 5 blocks and numerous changed shots by center Edy Tavares. Tavares finished the game with 7 points, a game-high 9 rebounds and 8 blocks and it looked like the official scorer missed at least one block in the fourth quarter.

“(Tavares) has unbelievable talent,” Stackhouse said. “The way he protects the rim for us. For the most part he just went up there and used his length. He has unbelievable timing.”

Four of five 905 starters scored in double-digits with sharp-shooting guard Brady Heslip pacing the team with 21 points off the bench.

“I am pretty sure we are the best defensive team in the league all year,” Heslip said. “It’s been great for me, for my development. I’ve gotten a lot better as a point guard and as a defender. I play a lot of minutes and we’re the best defensive team in the league and that’s got to say something. I love it, playing for (coach Stackhouse). It’s been amazing so far.”

E.J. Singler (17 points) led the 905 in the opening quarter as they took a 38-13 lead. The lead was 65-35 at the half and hit a 38 point advantage in the third before the 905 put things in cruise control the rest of the way.

With the win, the 905 has won their first D-League playoff series and earned a berth in the Conference Finals where they will face either Maine or Fort Wayne.

NBA D-League East Finals

Just prior to the game the 905 found out they would be without the services of Axel Toupane who led the team in the Game One victory with a franchise record 41 points. Toupane has been signed by the New Orleans Pelicans for the remainder of the NBA season.

Two Toronto Raptors players were assigned to the 905 for this playoff game. Bruno Caboclo had 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Pascal Siakam contributed 13 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist.

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kay Felder led Canton for the second-straight contest, posting 22 points in the loss.
 
 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

NBA D-League Mississauga Raptors 905 Jerry Stackhouse

Raptors 905 Coach Jerry Stackhouse Has Been An Instant Success

By Frank McLean

He’s only halfway through his first season as a head coach in professional basketball, but already Jerry Stackhouse is getting recognition for the job he has done with the NBA Development League (NBDL) Raptors 905.

After beating Canton 118-88, Stackhouse has the 905 sitting in first place in the Central Division with a 24-9 record, the second best in the league overall, just behind the Pacific Division leading Los Angeles Defenders who are 26-8. So he got the honor of coaching the NBDL’s Eastern Conference All-Stars as part of the NBA All-Star festivities in New Orleans.

Coby Karl who is the head coach of the Defenders will be Western Conference coach, and if the surname sounds familiar it is. Coby is the son of legendary NBA coach George Karl who has over a thousand wins as an NBA bench boss.

After spending last year as an assistant on Dwane Casey’s staff with the big club over at the Air Canada Centre, Casey and team president Masai Ujiri thought he would perfect fit to replace Jesse Mermuys with the 905 who had taken a job as an assistant coach on Luke Walton’s Los Angeles Lakers staff.

Being a head coach in the NBDL presents a whole different set of dynamics than it does in the NBA, and Stackhouse has handled it with no problems.

You have a roster full of players who are trying to get to an NBA roster as well as having players sent down from the parent club who need minutes to develop which they can’t get on the NBA squad. When young players like Bruno Caboclo, Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright or veterans like Jared Sullinger on an injury rehab assignment are sent to Mississauga for playing time those non-Raptors players end up on the bench or not dressing for the game at all.

“He wants us to do every detail, to be perfect,” Caboclo told Pro Bball Report earlier this season. “Basketball is a game of mistakes and with him, (he wants) less. He works us very hard every day.”

“The 905 is like everybody is family. Everybody helps each other, the coach too.”

Balancing egos and keeping player agents happy are a big part of your job description. Fortunately, managing people is something Stackhouse is comfortable with.

“Managing people, managing the players, managing the different personalities not so much the basketball part of it is something I have been doing all my life and I feel comfortable with it,” Stackhouse said. “I think I’m a little bit father figure, little bit big brother. These guys are real young. Some of these guys I got they are kids aged 19-20. I’m a father figure to them but at the same time I have to forge a relationship with them so they can talk to me about things.”

One of the things Stackhouse and his coaching staff do every day at practice is run a drill where the coaches take on the players. At 41 Stackhouse is still in great shape and he will tell you he thinks he could still give some minutes in an NBA game if called upon. He can ball when he gets a chance to go one-on-one with his players.

But, Stackhouse will tell you his real joy is to get players to the NBA.

“It would be great to win the D-League championship, but my job is to try and help them (the players) get to the next level,” Stackhouse said. If we get 10 of these guys called up, man that would be the best thing to happen to me this season.”

Stackhouse earned his moment in the limelight at All-Star weekend as a coach and the work he has done so far has proved Casey and Ujiri right when they tapped him for the Raptors 905 job.

 

   

DeMar DeRozan & Frank McLeanVeteran journalist Frank McLean has covered nearly every Raptors game in Toronto since their inaugural season at the Skydome back in 1995-96. He has seen it all. The good, the bad and the really bad and he is one of the very few journalists in Toronto that has kept coming back for more.

 

 

 

 

NBA D-League Mississauga Raptors 905 Jerry Stackhouse

Jerry Stackhouse Takes His Next Step As A Coach With Raptors 905

By Frank McLean

After one year as an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors, NBA great Jerry Stackhouse has taken the next step in the journey to become a head coach in the NBA someday by heading over to Mississauga and taking over as the head coach of the NBDL Raptors 905 in their second season.

The opening at the head coach’s seat came available when Jesse Mermuys, who ran the team in its inaugural season, took a job with the Los Angeles Lakers to be on new head coach Luke Walton’s staff.

In a conversation I had recently with Stackhouse he said that Raptors head coach Dwane Casey and team President Masi Ujiri thought that this would be a great opportunity for him.

Stackhouse also picked the brain of another Raptors assistant Nick Nurse who spent six years coaching in the NBDL and he decided to go for it.

“It’s an opportunity to get some coaching reps,” Stackhouse said.  “I get a chance to teach these guys (players on the 905) a lot of what I know. I’m learning a lot of different scenarios. I’ve got the first seat and it’s a good experience for me.”

The roster of the 905 this year is going to be able to tap in to a guy who during an 18-year NBA career was a Raptors killer on the court.

His career started in 1995 with Philadelphia and had stops in Detroit, Washington, Dallas, Milwaukee, Miami, Atlanta and Brooklyn.

It’s in Brooklyn in 2012-13 where head coach Avery Johnson used Stackhouse as a player coach and he asked him to join his staff, but that fell through when the Nets decided to fire Johnson.

When I asked him about his coaching style, Stackhouse said he has learnt from all the great coaches he has played for. However, the first name he brings up is that of the late great North Carolina Tar Heel coach Dean Smith who he played for at that university.

“I try to coach the game similar to Smith,” Stackhouse said.

“Doug Collins is one of my favorites too,” Stackhouse added. “He was the best Xs-and-Os coaches I ever played for.”

Being a head coach in the NBDL is more than just coaching basketball and Stackhouse knows that. You are dealing with young players who were drafted by NBA teams and did not make it or were not drafted at all. You have a roster of players who still don’t want to give up the dream of playing in the NBA.

“I’m a little bit of a father figure and a little bit big brother. These guys are really young. Some of these guys, I’ve got kids their age 19-20. Myself, I’m a father figure and I want to forge a relationship with them so they can be open and talk about their game and their goals.”

And what goals does Stackhouse have for the upcoming season.

“My goals would be to win the D-League championship, but my (real) goal is to help the guys get to the next level. If we get 10 of these guys here right now called up to the NBA that would be the best thing that could happen to me this season.”

That in a nutshell is the purpose of the Raptors 905, to get players ready for the NBA.

Last year you saw players like Norman Powell and Delon Wright parlay their time in Mississauga into minutes with the big club downtown. Stackhouse knows that being on the Raptors coaching staff last season and he’s ready to get this year’s crop of 905ers ready for the big show.

 

 

DeMar DeRozan & Frank McLeanVeteran journalist Frank McLean has covered nearly every Raptors game in Toronto since their inaugural season at the Skydome back in 1995-96. He has seen it all. The good, the bad and the really bad and he is one of the very few journalists in Toronto that has kept coming back for more.