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Toronto Raptors Hire Darko Rajakovic As New Head Coach
- Toronto Raptors hire Darko Rajakovic as new head coach
- The Serbian, who was Memphis Grizzlies assistant, replaces Nicks Nurse, who was fired after five season
- The Raptors believe the Serbian can coach a contending team or help rebuild with young players
After weeks of a thorough recruitment process, the Toronto Raptors have finally settled on Darko Rajakovic as the franchise's new head coach.
Rajakovic will replace Nick Nurse, who was dismissed after five years in charge.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Raptors settled on the Memphis Grizzlies assistant because they wanted a coach that could lead a contending team or a young roster.
The Serbian started off as a G League head coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012. He went on to spend the better part of the decade as an assistant with OKC, Memphis, and the Phoenix Suns. He was Taylor Jenkins' top assistant with the Grizzlies.
According to Wojnarowski, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and Milwaukee's Charles Lee were other coaches who were heavily considered.
What it means
The Raptors had a difficult 2022/23 season, but their roster, which consists of an All-NBA player, a former All-Star, an all-defense player, and the rookie of the year, is a great place to start for Rajakovic, per the Athletic.
Rajakovic spent much of his coaching time in player development, meaning that is what Raptors president Masai Ujiri and the franchise are thinking. If they decide to keep their core, Rajakovic will be required to do what Nurse failed to do, make the playoffs.
Draft picks like Malachi Flynn and Dalano Banton have failed to hold down a rotation spot. 2021/22 rookie of the year Scottie Barnes took a step backward, so it will be interesting to see how young players perform next season under a new coach.
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