Neophyte head coach Darko Rajakovic and Toronto Raptors picked up their best individual win of the young 2023 season, overcoming the mighty Victor Wembanyama and the rest of Gregg Popovich’s San Antonio Spurs thanks to perhaps the best game of Scottie Barnes’ young career.
Games like this will only continue to improve the Raptors coach’s standing in the league. He wasn’t a heralded assistant, and he isn’t the most bombastic quote machine, but Popovich seems to think Rajakovic is on track to stardom if he keeps this up.
Popovich knows as well as anyone that Rajakovic is the type of coach who will thrive in the modern NBA, as Pop got a first-hand look at him during his time with the Spurs as a scout. Rajakovic received one of the biggest co-signs an NBA coach can possibly earn when Popovich vouched for his ability.
“Darko is great,” Popovich said. “He is one of those under-the-radar kind of guys. He doesn’t seek attention or anything like that. But he has a really brilliant mind… I’m really pulling for him.” Rajakovic has some important people in his corner; now, he needs to reward their trust.
More Raptors news
- After missing the last four games due to a groin injury, all signs point to Precious Achiuwa making his return against the Dallas Mavericks. Achiuwa should help a Raptors team that has often struggled with consistently dominating the boards and finishing at the basket.
- Rising star point guard Dennis Schroder said that Scottie Barnes took matters into his own hands in the waning stages of the Spurs win. Barnes overruled Rajakovic’s play call late in the game, choosing instead to shoot the same stepback 3-pointer that ultimately sunk San Antonio’s chances.
- The Los Angeles Lakers are so perturbed with the lack of fouls called on LeBron James that they have filed an official complaint with the league. Specifically, they are pointing to multiple egregious misses in their recent tussle against the Miami Heat that may have cost them a victory.
- Heat star Udonis Haslem, who spent his two-decade career exclusively in South Beach, isn’t going to go far from Miami as he tries to find his first post-NBA gig. Haslem is staying with the Heat as vice president of basketball development, ensuring that he will stay close to this team.
Will Rajakovic and Barnes keep their winning ways up?