Raptors news: Players love Darko Rajakovic, Precious Achiuwa injury update

Rajakovic is winning players like Achiuwa over.
Oct 20, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic talks to guard
Oct 20, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic talks to guard / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors took a big gamble in the 2023 offseason, firing Nick Nurse and replacing him with a relative unknown in Memphis Grizzlies assistant Darko Rajakovic. The jury is still very much out on him, but it's hard to deny that there have been some impressive moments.

Rajakovic is by no means infallible. He seems to change his rotation every single game, and his game management in crunch time has been the subject of much criticism. One of the biggest positives in Rajakovic's favor has been his ability to keep the vibes strong.

According to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, Raptors players have been "truly impressed" with the atmosphere he is creating around the team, the fact he checks in with every player on a daily basis, and his ability to increase the level of communication after lacking it was such a sore spot for Toronto last year.

Rajakovic hasn't been perfect as he adjusts to life as an NBA coach, but the fact he has the respect of a locker room that seemed to be at each other's throats after every game last season could help some fans feel more confident in a turnaround happening.

More Raptors news

  • The Raptors might be without a pair of big men in their Black Friday tussle with the Chicago Bulls, as Thad Young and Precious Achiuwa are both going to be listed as questionable. Young is dealing with an illness that has kept him out for some time, while Achiuwa has a knee problem that is the latest ailment to befall him in what has become an injury-plagued season.
  • After Malachi Flynn continued his improvement as the team's backup point guard, Pascal Siakam heaped praise on the much-mocked fourth-year ball-handler. "Malachi was great, man. I love his energy," Siakam said. "I always see Malachi getting his work in every single day. I can see his focus is different... he's just locked in."

NBA news

  • The NBA's greatest ongoing feud authored a brilliant new chapter during the Golden State Warriors' matchup against the Phoenix Suns. As Chris Paul made his return to Phoenix, CP3 was ejected from the game after being given two technicals by referee Scott Foster, earning the ire of Steve Kerr.
  • Gregg Popovich was not happy with Spurs fans who chose to boo Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard at the free throw line, even getting on the arena mic to chastise fans for their jeering. His effort did not abate the fans' efforts. If anything, they seemed to boo Leonard harder after the move.