Darko Rajakovic and the Toronto Raptors have officially picked a direction after years of fan complaints over their continued mediocrity. The trades of Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby signaled this team is ready to fully rebuild around their new core of Barnes, RJ Barrett, and Immanuel Quickley.
After a nearly unprecedented domination of the Heat, the Raptors have started to show just how inexperienced this new group is. The Jakob Poeltl injury leaving them without a true center coupled with all of the moving pieces has led to them dropping some embarrassing games in the last few weeks.
With Toronto's No. 6 overall pick currently in range of conveying back to them, it would behoove this team to keeplosing and potentially draft a cornerstone in the offseason. Rajakovic seems to be all-in on this goal, as he is well aware of the tough times ahead.
Rajakovic said the "big picture" will trump all going into the final months of the season, also adding this team will not "sacrifice anything" that aids in their player development. Fans expecting to see a run for one of the play-in spots might be severely disappointed by this mindset.
Darko Rajakovic braces Toronto Raptors fans for tough developmental period.
The Raptors need to make sure Barnes, Barrett, and Quickley are all on the same page. While all three of them were on fire before the Poeltl injury, losing that man in the middle has led them all to have some weird moments together on the floor. Consistency will be key these next few months.
With so many players coming in and out and the trade rumors surrounding many of the veterans still left on the roster, it's hard for everyone to be operating on the same wavelength. Rajakovic even compared their last few games to training camp, as players need to learn their offense and get familiar with one another.
The Raptors will likely bring back most of their starting lineup next season, with a new guard to replace Gary Trent Jr. if he leaves in free agency. The bench is a complete mishmash of ill-fitting veterans and young players trying to stick, which is not ideal for a team trying to figure out how to compete in the NBA.
The Raptors may eventually have a ton of playoff appearances at the end of this rainbow, but the time it will take to get there will be laden with some very challenging moments. Rajakovic is telling fans right up front that tough losses will all be part of the learning process.