The Toronto Raptors have put some puzzling choices on their initial list of head coaching candidates, as names like Darko Rajakovic and Jordi Fernandez did not show up on many other team’s shortlists. One name on their list that is an unusually hot name in the coaching circle is Milwaukee Bucks assistant Charles Lee.
Lee, who has been one of Mike Budenholzer’s top assistants for the last nine seasons, was promoted to associate head coach after Darvin Ham took the Lakers job. Lee may have his pick of three available jobs, showing what a terrific job he has done of building a coaching resume.
Lee not only is on the Raptors’ shortlist and interviewed with the Detroit Pistons for their coaching vacancy, but he appears to be one of the top candidates to replace the embattled Budenholzer if Milwaukee decides to move on following a very tough first-round exit.
Lee has the perfect combination of youth, experience, and history as a developer of young talent to warrant consideration from the Raptors. They need to act fast, as Lee is a hot name who will likely have the luxury of being able to pick the best spot for him on the open market.
Will the Toronto Raptors hire Charles Lee?
For those who are worried that Lee doesn’t have a background in player development, he can put those fears to bed. His work with Giannis Antetokounmpo will get attention, but names like Khris Middleton and Grayson Allen have also benefitted from Lee’s sage advice.
The Budenholzer coaching tree, which started as a sampling derived from Gregg Popovich’s venerable web of connections, has been quite fruitful in the last few years. Ham has revitalized the Lakers, Quin Snyder has succeeded in Utah and Atlanta, and Taylor Jenkins has turned the Grizzlies around.
Lee could be the next in that great line of coaches, as he could bring the Budenhozler offensive scheme to Toronto without the lack of adjustments that has often clouded the last few non-title seasons on Milwaukee. Anyone who comes promising an offensive upgrade must get consideration from Toronto.
While hiring Lee over a known internal candidate like Adrian Griffin might go against how Masai Ujiri has operated in the last few years, everything about his resume suggests that he can bring a high-flying offense that benefits the young stars Toronto has on the team. That could be a winning formula.