In his first season as head coach Darko Rajakovic has the Raptors 3-4 through 7 games. Toronto is trying to get to .500 with a win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Darko Rajakovic has done a solid job so far all things considered. What’s been even more remarkable is his relationship with the players. There seems to be a mutual level of respect from both sides.
Rajakovic is coming off his biggest win as a head coach. The Raptors found themselves down by 22 on the road to Gregg Popovich’s Spurs and Toronto battled back thanks to an heroic performance by Scottie Barnes to win the game in overtime.
Rajakovic was actually the former Spurs scout/summer league coach so getting this win over Popovich must have meant a lot to him.
Popovich shared high praise of Rajakovic which is the ultimate endorsement:
Coach Pop on former Spurs scout/summer league coach Darko Rajakovic: “Darko is great. He is one of those under the radar kind of guys. He doesn’t seek attention or anything like that. But he has a really brilliant mind … I’m really pulling for him.”
— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) November 5, 2023
Rajakovic is known for being a player development coach. He did just that by helping develop players like Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Now we’re seeing Rajakovic help take Barnes’ game to new heights. There’s going to be growing pains and the Raptors still have to fully integrate Rajakovic’s new offense, but so far the marriage between both sides has gone well.
Barnes ranked no. 15 on top 25 under 25 list
Barnes has been the most compelling part of the Raptors season so far. He is off to a hot start and is currently leaping right in front of Raptors fans eyes.
His future potential was recognized by ESPN, as they ranked Barnes No.15 in their annual top 25 under 25 list.
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