With the Toronto Raptors struggling to pick up wins, a starting lineup change was made ahead of their game against the Washington Wizards.
Toronto started Gary Trent Jr. in place of Dennis Schroder. This change made Scottie Barnes the point guard along with Trent Jr., O.G. Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl.
It was time for head coach Darko Rajakovic to make a change as the team was clearly struggling. Prior to Wednesday, the Raptors were on a 3-game losing streak, which needed to be snapped.
Rajakovic was asked about why he decided to change the starting lineup and he said that he wanted Barnes to be featured as a ball-handler, via Adam Laskaris of Daily Hive:
“It was a change that we were looking for, for some time. It was an opportunity to put Scottie Barnes on as more of a ball-handler, but also we wanted Dennis to help more with the second unit.”
Due to that reasoning, it makes sense to put Barnes on the ball more. It is clear that he is the franchise player, so it makes sense to put a bit more responsibility on his plate.
While it was against the Wizards, the new lineup did seem to work well for all those involved. Schroder finished with 9 points, 10 assists, a team-high +29 in 28 minutes. Trent Jr. made three 3-pointers for 12 points, four assists and two steals. Also, Barnes continued to flourish as he added 20 points, 8 assists and 12 rebounds.
The new starting five all finished in double figures with Anunoby leading the way in scoring with 26. It will be intriguing to monitor how this lineup stacks up against more serious competition.
Toronto now heads on the road to take on the Boston Celtics, which is a huge test in the second game of this lineup change. Only losing by three in their last meeting against Boston, perhaps the new starters can get over the hump.
Rajakovic says starting lineup change was thought about for a ‘while’
Head coaches like to commit to one starting lineup, however it was time for the Raptors to switch things up.
Rajakovic admits that he was thinking about a change to the starting five for a ‘while,’ which paved dividends in Wednesday’s win.
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