The Darko Rajakovic era started off with a bang for the Toronto Raptors. In front of what was an absolutely raucous crowd in Vancouver, it was a Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr.-led attack that reeled off a 112-99 victory over an imposing Sacramento Kings team.
The Raptors looked like a team that responded well to whatever Rajakovic and his new-look coaching staff were preaching, as the offense looked much more free-flowing than it did under Nick Nurse. It’s just the preseason, but this team seemed very comfortable in this offense.
As always, however, there is room for improvement in an offense that will demand ruthless, surgical execution consistently. Toronto will not be able to fully commit themselves to a postseason push unless they can cut out some of the mistakes they made.
These three players didn’t cover themselves in glory in the win against the Kings. They have a handful of extra preseason games to get back on track, and these three players will need to find some stroke of consistency if they want to head into the season with momentum.
3 Toronto Raptors who need to improve after preseason game vs. Kings.
3. Garrett Temple
While Temple seems like a pseudo-assistant who is going to be as important in the locker room as he is on the court, Rajakovic seems willing to give him at least a puncher’s chance of getting some slight rotation minutes until Otto Porter can return from his toe injury.
In Old Man Temple’s 12 minutes, he didn’t make his lone shot attempt and turned the ball over twice. The best way to leapfrog Porter on the depth chart is to stand out as a shooter, and Temple failed in this area. At 37 years old, Temple’s athletic ability isn’t exactly what it once was.
Will Garrett Temple play a role for the Toronto Raptors?
Temple shot over 40% from 3-point range with the Pelicans last season, but he hadn’t topped 35% from deep in any other season between the 2018-19 campaign and last year. If Porter can get back to his old self from 3-point range, Temple’s value becomes very limited.
To be fair, Temple wasn’t working with a ton, as he often shared the floor with four rookies (many of whom were two-way or Exhibit 10 contracts). Perhaps playing with more quality offensive players could be what gets him back on the right track as a scorer.