Riding a 3-game losing skid, the Toronto Raptors made a starting lineup change ahead of their matchup against the Washington Wizards.
The Raptors started Gary Trent Jr. in place of Dennis Schroder. Their new starting lineup featured Scottie Barnes at point guard, Trent Jr, O.G. Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl.
Leading up to this decision, Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic had been asked about if he was going to make a starting lineup change multiple times. He even hinted that a change was coming during his pregame media availability and he followed through.
Per TSN’s Keerthika Uthayajumar, the Raptors new starting five was -8 in 9.5 minutes, but the Raptors were +38 with all other combinations.
All five Raptors starters finished with double-figures. Also, Schroder who came off the bench had his best game in a few weeks. He scored 9 points, had 10 assists, 4 rebounds and was a team-high +29.
The move resulted in a 30-point Raptors win over the Wizards, Toronto’s largest margin of victory this season.
After the game, Rajakovic said that the starting lineup change was thought about for a while per Sportsnet’s Blake Murphy:
Darko says the changes were thought about for a while, break made sense, aren’t set in stone for the season.
Acknowledges more PG duties for Scottie will be a process, but good start.
McDaniels had earned his way back with a few weeks of really strong workouts/scrimmages.
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) December 28, 2023
The starting lineup change wasn’t the only change Rajakovic made. He also tweaked the rotation playing Jalen McDaniels 19 minutes and Otto Porter Jr. 13 minutes. The other players featured in the rotation were Chris Boucher and Precious Achiuwa who checked in the second half when Poeltl got into foul trouble.
Starting lineup change should be here to stay
Rajakovic did say that the changes aren’t set in stone, but given how things looked in the game against the Wizards the Raptors need to continue to roll out these changes for the next little while.
Especially the starting lineup change which saw Barnes, Siakam and Anunoby truly flourish together.
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