The Toronto Raptors may have a very unusual roster outside of their two stars in Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam, but new head coach Darko Rajakovic has tried everything in his power to run a more traditional rotation with the speedy Dennis Schroder at point guard and 7-1 Jakob Poeltl at center.
This unwillingness to change the starting lineup has been one of the main reasons some Raptors fans have soured on Rajakovic. Barnes and Siakam are both playing excellent basketball, but the ball dominance of Schroder and the lack of spacing provided by Poeltl are hurting their production.
Fans have been crying out for some sort of change, especially with how often the Raptors have to dig themselves out of holes due to their own poor starts. The numbers back up the notion that Toronto needs to make some changes in order to further accentuate the talent of Barnes,.
When Barnes and Siakam are on the floor together, their net rating with Poeltl and Schroder on the floor are negative. They have three positive net ratings, however, when either one of Poeltl or Schroder is sent to the bench or both of them take a seat. The starting combination just isn't working.
Toronto Raptors' Darko Rajakovic must make lineup change to let Scottie Barnes cook.
It makes sense as to why Rajakovic might be a bit hesitant to make the change. Taking Schroder out of the lineup would remove a great ball-handler and passer from the lineup, and the Raptors lack anyone else on the roster who can provide the size, rebounding, and interior defense that Poeltl does.
Those concerns can be minimized, however, if Rajakovic takes a look at what has and has not worked during this difficult stretch. Going small has proven to be a winning formula in some of their wins, and Barnes has taken the necessary steps as a playmaker to be trusted in favor of Schroder.
The bread and butter of this Raptors offense should be getting Barnes and Siakam as many post touches as possible while letting them hunt for mismatches. Instead, many an offensive possession whimpers out due to Schroder playing hero ball and Poeltl clogging up the paint.
What is going to happen if Rajakovic switches up the lineup? The offense will struggle? It's struggling already! Knowing that whatever chance that he has of succeeding this season will depend on Siakam and Barnes thriving, a lineup change is the most practical way to shake things up.