Stackhouse, Raptors 905 Cap Historic Season With NBA D-League Championship

By Brian Kotloff | April 28, 2017

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO — With a 122-96 victory over the RGV Vipers in a winner-take-all Game 3, Raptors 905 is the NBA D-League champion in just its second season as the Toronto Raptors’ minor-league affiliate.

The win caps a historic season for first-year head coach Jerry Stackhouse and the 905, who finish the season with the second-most wins in league history at 45-12.

The 905 received a boost from The Six, as three Raptors — forwards Bruno Caboclo and Pascal Siakam and guard Fred VanVleet — joined the affiliate club on their Finals run. Siakam earned MVP honors after averaging 23.0 points and 9.0 rebounds.

Minutes after the organization clinched the NBA D-League championship victory, the Raptors clinched their third series win over the Bucks in Milwaukee.

After losing Game 1 in McAllen, Texas, the 905 rallied to take both Games 2 and 3 at home in Mississauga, a suburb about 15 miles from Toronto. Their top-ranked defense held the Vipers’ top-ranked offense — which averaged 120.1 points per game during the regular season — to 85 and 96 points in the final two contests.

Stackhouse — who got his start coaching an AAU team in Atlanta and eventually joined the Raptors as an assistant in Toronto last season — said he tried to instill the qualities of successful NBA teams in the 905.

“I didn’t know what to expect, really,” said the 18-year NBA veteran and 2017 NBA D-League Coach of the Year. “I just knew that the way I like to play basketball, if I could teach the guys to play that then they’d be successful. … Sharing the ball, playing with each other and not having one or two guys dominate the ball. That’s a fun way to play. Guys feel more a part of whats going on.”

Players bought in immediately, as Stackhouse’s squad raced out to the league’s best record, outscoring opponents by more than eight points per game.

“It’s an 18-year NBA vet. Once you get that type of leadership in front of you, players gravitate toward that,” said guard John Jordan. “Players want to know what it’s like to be in that position, in the NBA for a long time. He’s been going through some of the grinds we’ve been going through.”

“I’ve sat in every one of their seats,” added Stackhouse, “from being a star player to being a guy that was at the end of my career and just looking to coach as the 14th or 15th guy. I’ve seen everything in between. … Hopefully seeing all those things and being able relate to them will help give my guys a mentality of how to make it in the League.”

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