New Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic clarified the roles that several of his assistants will have this season, explaining that Pat Delany is his lead assistant and defensive coordinator, Jama Mahlalela will oversee the offense, and James Wade will be focused on analytics, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca (Twitter link).
In the second row of the bench, Mike Batiste will work with the Raptors’ big men, Jim Sann will work primarily with the team’s younger players, Ivo Simovic and Vin Bhavnani will focus on scouting, and Mery Andrade and Drew Jones will be player development coaches, Lewenberg adds (via Twitter).
Here’s more on the Raptors:
- After signing a new four-year, $78MM contract with the Raptors this offseason, Jakob Poeltl won’t just be asked to set screens and be a rim-runner on offense. Rajakovic would like to run more of the offense through Poeltl this season, as Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca writes. “Jakob is a great pick-and-roll player, but we’re going to use Jakob with the ball in his hands, we want to cut around him,” Rajakovic said. “He’s a really good passer, very unselfish player, so we’re going to be trying to play through him even more.”
- Based on the Raptors’ lineups in scrimmages, it looks like the starting five will be Dennis Schröder, Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and Poeltl, tweets Lewenberg. That would make Gary Trent Jr., who has started 128 of 153 games since arriving in Toronto, part of a second unit that also figures to feature Jalen McDaniels, Chris Boucher, and Malachi Flynn.
- It remains to be seen whether veterans like Garrett Temple and Otto Porter Jr. will crack Toronto’s regular rotation, but they’re already providing value as veteran leaders for youngsters like No. 13 overall pick Gradey Dick, Lewenberg details in a TSN.ca story. “That’s the real OG,” Dick said of Temple. “Him, Otto, those guys are huge mentors to me right now. I can’t tell you the age gap between us; I can probably be their son. … I think it’s huge, [having] a guy that’s been in the league that long, learning the ropes from him and just trying to take everything that he says and put it into my game.”