May 19, 2024

Navigating player rotations has proven to be a daunting challenge for Darko Rajakovic, the first-year head coach of the Toronto Raptors. With a roster constantly in flux due to trades and injuries, constructing lineups and rotations has become a daily puzzle.

Understanding the complexities Rajakovic faces, it’s important to assess his rotation decisions with a generous perspective. Even experienced coaches like Erik Spoelstra would find it difficult. Nevertheless, a closer look at player performances reveals that adjustments are needed: some Raptors require less playing time, while others warrant more.

Firstly, Kelly Olynyk’s playing time should be reduced. Despite being thrust into a prominent role due to injuries, Olynyk’s performance has been lackluster. The team’s net rating when he’s on the court is notably negative, compounded by defensive shortcomings and a dip in offensive efficiency.

Kelly Olynyk Leaves Defense Guessing With Series Of Fakes

In contrast, Jontay Porter has showcased promise and deserves increased minutes. Despite his injury history, Porter has displayed flashes of talent, particularly in recent games where he efficiently contributed on both ends of the floor. His potential as a versatile big warrants further exploration.

On the other hand, Gary Trent Jr.’s playing time should be scaled back. While he’s been steady, his impending free agency suggests limited long-term benefit for the Raptors. Allocating more minutes to younger prospects could yield developmental opportunities and potentially alter the trajectory of their careers.

Finally, Bruce Brown, despite underwhelming performances since joining the Raptors, should see an uptick in playing time. With a significant team option looming for the summer, increasing Brown’s involvement could help rehabilitate his value and potentially facilitate a trade down the line.

In essence, Rajakovic faces a balancing act in managing player minutes. Adjusting playing time for Olynyk, Porter, Trent Jr., and Brown could optimize the team’s performance and future prospects amidst a challenging season.

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