2. Scottie Barnes
Part of the reason Rajakovic was hired was his plan to get Barnes elevated to star status. While Pascal Siakam has since overtaken him as the team's leading scorer, Barnes might be the most impactful player on the team when you take all of his contributions into account.
Barnes is averaging 19.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game (all of which are improvements from what he amassed last year) while flexing his defensive muscles with 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. His 38% 3-point percentage shows a sizeable improvement in an area of weakness.
Scottie Barnes is playing well on both ends for the Raptors.
Barnes seemed to stagnate under Nurse. On top of the fact there was no path for him ever to overtake Siakam and Fred VanVleet in Nurse's offense, his scoring flatlining in Year 2 with no improvement in his 3-point shooting was likely one of the main reasons Masai Ujiri pulled the plug.
While Barnes faces a long road to potentially earning an All-Star nomination, the fact he has a possible path to Indianapolis is very encouraging. If the Raptors feel confident in Barnes as their franchise player, the hire of Rajakovic will be regarded as a tremendous success for Ujiri.