The Toronto Raptors' offense has been a mystifying puzzle to figure out so far this season. While the team has had strong individual performances from players like Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl, and Dennis Schroder, something about the overall fit doesn't seem to be clicking right now.
Even though Toronto was taking on a banged-up Kevin Durant and his Phoenix Suns on the second half of a back-to-back just a few hours after a very tough loss to the Nets, Schroder and Poeltl were determined not to lose. Barnes and Pascal Siakam combined for 45 points, but this win wouldn't have happened without the German and Austrian vets.
Schroder finished with 12 assists while also chipping in a crucial scoop layup in the dying moments that iced this game for Toronto, while Poeltl amassed 17 points on 8-9 shooting despite primarily being matched up with Jusuf Nurkic on the interior.
The Raptors' offense might do well to use Poeltl's masterful finishing inside and Schroder's tremendous ability to find open teammates to their advantage. With Siakam still in a 3-point slump and Barnes playing poorly until the fourth quarter, their skills are invaluable.
The Toronto Raptors must lean on Dennis Schroder and Jakob Poeltl.
Some fans might not be all-in on Schroder due to the fact he isn't a good enough shooter to fix the team's spacing issues and often dominates the ball. However, he's one of the few on this team who can get to the rim and finish consistently while still shooting and defending well on the other end of the floor.
Poeltl struggled early in the season, but those numbers can be qualified as the result of playing an absolute murderer's row of centers and big men. Once the matchups evened out and he got his feet under him, Poeltl looked like a deadly pick-and-roll threat, rebounder, and paint protector for Toronto.
While the temptation to make everything about Barnes and Pascal Siakam is easy, Darko Rajakovic's offense is clearly operating better when Schroder is allowed to facilitate shot-creation for others at the point guard spot and Poeltl is viewed as a legitimate offensive threat. Phoenix found out the hard way.
The Raptors' offense is still very much a work in progress, as Rajakovic's scheme is often times not compatible with this roster. One area of his offense that is working with Toronto's current roster is letting Schroder and Poeltl make things happen irrespective of what the two main stars are doing.