Scottie Barnes and the Toronto Raptors have been quite an uneven bunch through the first 14 games of the season, as they have vacillated between an exciting young team with a tremendous defense and one of the more painful slogs on offense in the entire league. Darko Rajakovic is still in the process of identifying and stamping out the team's issues.
Toronto has been very open about making this season about turning Barnes into a star and figuring out which players can play well around him. While Barnes has been thriving, it’s clear to see where some of the issues with this still-growing team currently lie, and easy to figure out how to sandblast them away.
Rajakovic didn’t necessarily cause most of these problems, as he inherited a flawed roster that was built by Masai Ujiri for a coach with a different style of play in Nick Nurse. Toronto will need to make some tweaks if they want to stay alive in a very competitive Eastern Conference.
The Raptors need to take a very long look at these three possible improvements and find a way to best tweak their gameday approach to meld them in. Rajakovic needs to show some innovation if he’s going to become an excellent coach in this league in this season or in the future.
3 improvements the Toronto Raptors must make ASAP
3. More post-up work from Pascal Siakam
The Raptors’ offense has seen some wild swings in effectiveness early in this season, depending almost entirely on the performance of Siakam in the post. This has given Pascal an avenue to be successful despite the fact Barnes has assumed a primary offensive role.
Siakam has boldly claimed that he is one of the best players in the league down on the block, and it’s hard to argue against that statement if you turn the Raptors on for even a second. Rajakovic’s offense has had success when either Barnes or Siakam takes control, even if it breaks the “0.5 offense” tenants.
The Toronto Raptors must give Pascal Siakam more touches.
As much as Toronto wanted to avoid a re-run of last season, the reason Toronto is even a viable offense at this point is Siakam and Barnes have been so individually excellent. The bench is nonexistent, the shooting is poor, and Rajakovic’s offense still hasn’t been fully installed on this young team.
While Dennis Schroder has generally been a terrific signing, the quick fix for Toronto’s offense might be giving Siakam and Barnes more elbow touches. That dynamic frontcourt duo make up the only above-average overall scorers on the team, and taking the ball out of their hands would be foolish.