Darko Rajakovic has tried to completely shift how Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors operate on the offensive end, as he is eschewing the Nick Nurse-led style of offense in favor of a more egalitarian attack that is built on always making the extra pass and setting up teammates for success.
The Raptors are currently second in the league in assists per game, trailing only an Indiana Pacers team that is trying to create the league's most breakneck offense ever. While the halfcourt offense looked stagnant at times, Rajakovic has done a tremendous job of turning things around.
Siakam seems to be all-in on this new style, which gets everyone involved and places even more of a premium on making the right pass at the right time. Pascal is a big believer in the idea of this offense taking off once everyone gets their feet under them.
"It's playing fast and advancing the ball so you have to take one dribble and get to the rim and that's an assist, or like, from the elbow with Jakob (Poeltl) making plays and passing out to guys," Siakam said. "There's just different ways to have an opportunity to have assists, and I think that our cutting game has got to continue to increase and get better."
Toronto Raptors' Pascal Siakam likes Darko Rajakovic's offense
The Raptors still rank just 25th in the league in half-court efficiency, though they have improved to 17th in their last 10 games (6-4 record in that span). Rajakovic's offense won't take shape overnight, but he is doing everything he can to show that he can turn this group into an excellent all-around unit.
Perhaps Rajakovic's greatest achievement early in this season is finding a fairly effective way to get Siakam involved as the team's leading scorer while also giving Scottie Barnes an avenue to dominate and grow into his own. Barnes' shooting leap should be viewed as another major achievement for Rajakovic.
The next step for the Raptors is figuring out how to perform well against the best defenses in the league. Toronto is just 1-7 against teams ranked outside of the bottom 10 in the league in defensive rating, averaging barely over 100 points per contest in those games. Against everyone else, they are 7-1 and average over 120 points per game.
While Rajakovic may have beaten up on some creampuffs early on, the fact that players like Siakam, Barnes, and Poeltl have bought into this offense should speak volumes about what this team thinks this coaching staff can do.