Why Raptors’ Eric Khoury could be next rising star coach

TAMPA, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 31: A general view of the Toronto Raptors logo (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 31: A general view of the Toronto Raptors logo (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors may not have lost any professional assistants to vacant assistant coach roles, but they did suffer a noteworthy loss from their G League staff. Former Raptors 905 coach Patrick Mutombo joined the Phoenix Suns as an assistant, but he was replaced by Eric Khoury.

Saying that Khoury has had an irregular path to the NBA is being very generous. While the 33-year-old is a University of Toronto graduate, he joined the Raptors while trying to become a Master of Applied Science in experimental fluid dynamics. You don’t get too many of those guys floating around in the NBA.

Khoury is, in a sense, the best of both basketball worlds. While initially hired as a director of analytics who tried to look for ways for Toronto to get an edge through Data, Khoury has spent time as an assistant at both the G League and professional ranks under Nick Nurse.

Other basketball teams must like what Toronto does at the G League level considering how often they will pluck some of their coaches and use them for their own gain. If all goes as planned, Khoury and his brain might be on their way to an NBA head coaching job down the line.

Toronto Raptors: Eric Khoury will lead Raptors 905

Khoury has experience on the bench with both the NBA and G League teams. After helping the Raptors to a 4-1 record in Summer League play, it became clear that he was the right man for the job in Mississauga. Raptors 905 will be under even more scrutiny this season.

On top of the fact that top prospect Christian Koloko is likely going to spend most of his rookie season under Khoury, names like Justin Champagnie and Dalano Banton could also receive assignments. You need someone who is both knowledgeable and a perfect button-pusher to man the HC role, and Khoury checks those boxes.

All four of the 905 coaches who have come before Khoury are in the middle of successful coaching careers. Mutombo (Suns), Jesse Mermuys (Magic), and Jama Mahlalela (Warriors) all have NBA assistant jobs, while Jerry Stackhouse is still the leading man at Vanderbilt.

We know that Khoury has the mental acuity needed to become a success at the G League level. If he can help Koloko develop his offensive game and the Mississauga-based squad competes for some silverware, NBA teams could get him and his agent on the phone quickly.

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