After being hired by the Golden State Warriors away from the Toronto Raptors to become their director of player development, assistant coach Jama Mahlalela is returning to the Toronto Raptors after two seasons with Steve Kerr’s coaching staff.
This time, he’ll be a top assistant behind new Raptors head coach Darko Rajaković, sharing that role with Washington Wizards assistant Pat Delany.
The Toronto Raptors are hiring Wizards assistant Pat Delany and Warriors assistant Jama Mahlalela as top assistant coaches on Darko Rajakovic’s new staff, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 15, 2023
After Mike Brown’s departure after the 2021-22 championship season, Mahlalela was promoted to a front-bench assistant who was in charge of the rotation pattern, much like what Brown did (in addition to his defensive coordinator duties).
Mahlalela is credited with helping the development of current Raptors stalwarts Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, both of whom became important pieces in the Raptors’ 2019 NBA Championship run. The Warriors saw his value as a developmental specialist and hired him to oversee the development of their own young pieces in Jordan Poole, James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody.
Poole broke out during his third season, while Kuminga flashed potential as an athletic two-way wing. Moody proved himself a legitimate rotation contributor who just needed chances to show as such.
Wiseman never really developed into the kind of franchise big the organization was hoping he could become, even while Mahlalela and fellow assistant Dejan Milojević reportedly spent a lot of developmental time on the former Warriors prospect.
Mahlalela returns to the organization that jumpstarted his NBA career. He started as a member of the Raptors’ community development staff, was eventually promoted to an assistant coach role in 2013-14, and was appointed head coach of the Raptors’ G League affiliate, Raptors 905.
Mahlalela leaves the Warriors as a two-time NBA Champion, having won titles with the Raptors in 2019 and the Warriors in 2022.