Darko Rajakovic and his Toronto Raptors have been the definition of mediocrity through their first 20 games of the season, as they are sporting a 9-11 record and currently have many of the same problems from last season coming back to bite them in the rear end once again.
While Nick Nurse had plenty of faults as coach of the Raptors, one thing he did bring to the table after the championship was a consistent ethos and identity. It was a very flawed identity that brought a ton of extra problems along with it at times, but his teams all played very hard behind a swarming, relentless defense.
With how wildly inconsistent the Raptors have been in the last few weeks, it's hard to really get a feel for what this team is on any given night. While it's reasonable for fans to have that opinion, the fact that Rajakovic himself seems unaware of what this team should be trying to do might get some fans alarmed.
Rajakovic said the Raptors are still in the process of figuring out what kind of team they want to be and how they want to play. While this might be true in practice, the fact it seems as though an NBA head coach one-quarter of the way through a season gave some vague, milquetoast answers on how he wants his team to play is concerning.
Darko Rajakovic says the Toronto Raptors lack a true identity.
It seems there is a clear conflict between the team Rajakovic wants to coach and the one he is being forced to coach due to roster constraints. Rajakovic wants to pick up the pace and shoot as many 3-pointers as possible, but the team's lack of great marksmen makes it challenging to accomplish that.
That must mean the Raptors are a dominant defensive team, right? Well, the Raptors have some tremendous individual players like OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes, but they have toned down all the crazy switching this roster was built to execute last season.
Despite all that, Rajakovic has received some very big co-signs on his coaching acumen from Pascal Siakam and former Suns pupil Devin Booker. Maybe things will turn around?
Rajakovic is still a rookie head coach, and he has been held in high regard for his ability to keep the vibes high in the locker room, but answers like this are not going to land well for a fanbase that already has some issues with how things have been operating.