The Toronto Raptors have needed to overcome a monumental task early in the 2023-24 season, as Darko Rajakovic, Scottie Barnes, and the rest of the squad took on contenders like the Mavericks, 76ers, and Celtics in the early going. The dust has settled after nine games, and Toronto sports a 4-5 record.
On top of needing to overcome the brutal schedule they were handed, Toronto has been trying to take a roster that was primarily built for Nick Nurse’s preferred style and adjust on the fly to a more up-tempo offensive attack. The lack of depth is an issue that has carried over from last year.
Barnes and others have helped on occasion, but the overall body of work from the entire roster is a bit suspect. As is to be expected with a team that has so many young players in key roles, Toronto’s competency in a 3-point-heavy offense has varied from game to game.
Many of Toronto’s best players have lived up to billing and played just as well as one would expect in a new system. Unfortunately, as evidenced by the team’s often languid offense and propensity to play down to the handful of lower-tier opponents they’ve locked horns with, there have been a few stinkers so far.
Grading every Toronto Raptors player after an uneven 4-5 start
Dennis Schroder: A-
Gradey Dick: C+
Malachi Flynn: C+
Gary Trent Jr: C –
Where would this offense be without Schroder? After thrusting his way into the starting lineup following his free agent signing, Schroder has been an effective finisher, competent 3-point shooter, and electric passer all rolled into one. It’s hard to ask him to do much more.
Dick has struggled as a shooter, but his past history suggests that will come around. The first-round pick has had some very brutal moments on both ends, but he’s just 19 years old. He was worrying about physics class and who to ask to prom less than two years ago. The promising moments have been there on both ends.
Dennis Schroder has looked sharp for the Toronto Raptors.
In traditional Flynn fashion, he has followed some performances that made it look like he shouldn’t be in the NBA with some of the best individual games of his career. The Raptors seem content to ride the Flynn coaster for one more season, especially after some kind words from Rajakovic.
Trent has been a gigantic disappointment. After opting into the last year of his deal with the thought of being a Sixth Man of the Year contender and ace bench gunner, Trent has been ice cold to start the season. For an iffy on-ball defender, most of his value will lie in how well he’s scorching the nets.