The Toronto Raptors introduced Tuesday they’ve named Darko Rajaković as head coach.
Rajaković turns into the tenth head coach in franchise historical past, after spending the previous three seasons as an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies.
“We’re coming into a brand new period – one the place we’re embracing new concepts, a brand new perspective, and now a brand new head coach – however our targets stay the identical. A championship. Successful,” Raptors Vice-Chairman and President Masai Ujiri stated. “Darko shares these targets, and our perception in tradition, professionalism, and exhausting work. His dedication to each studying and educating our sport is elite, and we’re all very excited to welcome him to the Raptors household.”
A local of Serbia, Rajaković was an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns for one season (2019-20) following seven years (2012-19) with the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder group, the place he served as an assistant coach for 5 seasons (2014-19). The Thunder averaged 49 wins throughout his 5 years on the teaching workers, with 4 playoff appearances – together with a visit to the 2016 Western Convention Finals.
Rajaković joined the Thunder in 2012 as head coach of the crew’s then G League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers, turning into the primary head coach born outdoors North America in league historical past. In two seasons (2012-14) on the helm of the 66ers, the crew posted a 51-49 document (.510) and reached the G League semifinals in 2013. Whereas serving as Tulsa’s head coach, he was additionally included as one of many Thunder’s assistant coaches on the 2014 NBA All-Star Recreation in New Orleans.
“To affix and to steer an elite group just like the Raptors is what I’ve been working for my whole skilled life,” Rajaković stated. “That is an incredible alternative, to affix a franchise with a supportive possession group, unbelievable entrance workplace and fanbase, and elite gamers. I’m trying ahead to the journey forward as we work collectively to realize our targets: growth, playoffs, championships.”
Previous to becoming a member of Oklahoma Metropolis, Rajaković was the top coach of Espacio Torrelodones in Spain for 3 profitable seasons (2009-12), the place he led the crew to the championship of the Primera Division de Baloncesto in Madrid in his first 12 months. From 2004-11, he additionally served as European scouting advisor and NBA Summer season League assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs.
Rajaković started his teaching profession on the age of 16, with the Borac Cacak Youth Group in his hometown of Cacak, Serbia. After three seasons (1996-99) with Borac Cacak, he was named the top coach of the U20 and U18 groups of Purple Star Belgrade and led Purple Star to 2 Serbian Youth championships throughout his eight-year tenure (1999-2007).
On the worldwide stage, Rajaković was as an assistant coach for Serbia on the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, serving to his nation to a fifth place end on the match, which included a win over the US within the classification spherical.
Rajaković, 44, obtained a basketball teaching diploma from the Belgrade Basketball Academy in 2004 and a level in sports activities administration from Alfa BK College in Belgrade in 2006. He and his spouse Gaga have a son, Luka, who’s 5.