Four years after playing his last NBA game, Jerry Stackhouse is receiving formal recognition for his coaching work. The NBA D-League announced today in a press release that Stackhouse, the coach of the Raptors 905, Toronto’s NBADL affiliate, has been named the D-League’s Coach of the Year for the 2016/17 season.
Stackhouse, who took over as head coach of the Raptors 905 last offseason, led the club to a 39-11 regular season record, the best mark in the D-League. Toronto’s affiliate made it through the first round of the NBADL playoffs and is now facing the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s D-League affiliate, for the right to advance to the championship round. A Raptors 905 win tonight would send the club to the D-League Finals.
While we typically wouldn’t dedicate a full story to a D-League award, Stackhouse’s achievement is worth noting because his name has increasingly been mentioned this year among the NBA’s ascendant head coaching candidates.
Sam Fortier of The Ringer profiled Stackhouse last month, writing that the longtime NBA star hopes to join the ranks of the league’s head coaches in the near future. Stackhouse told Fortier that he looked at the quick jumps from playing to coaching made by Derek Fisher and Jason Kidd, and believed he could follow suit.
“Seeing [Fisher and Kidd] get those head-coaching jobs, I was like, I know I’m — you hate to say better — but I know I’m damn as good as those guys when it comes to coaching,” Stackhouse said. “I’ve had more experience. …
“I wouldn’t have been ready [to be a head coach] in 2012–13, but Jason Kidd came in and my mind was like, ‘I have more of a pulse of this team than he could ever have. They respect me.’ I look at all of the other relationships you have to have to make it work, and the people you need to know in organizations. … It’s hard to get that.”
It doesn’t appear that many teams will make head coaching changes this spring, after more than one third of the league’s clubs hired new coaches in 2016. But when NBA jobs start to open up again, there’s a chance that Stackhouse will draw some interest.