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Darko Rajakovic: Scottie Barnes held players accountable on the bench when he was out

Photo: Toronto Raptors/X

Toronto Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic saw tremendous growth from Scottie Barnes’ leadership while being sidelined with a fracture to the 3rd metacarpal bone of his left hand.

(via Toronto Raptors):

“To be honest with you, it’s kind of like night and day comparing start of the season when he was timid and not sure what he’s about to say and how to approach his teammates. We were working a lot on that and then building his voice with the team. In a certain way, it came like a blessing for his leadership not to be on the court for those last 20 whatever games he did not play, because he was able to see the game through different lenses. He was able to appreciate the game even more, because he’s not out there competing. Like I always tell guys, ‘Never take for granted stepping on an NBA court, it’s such a privilege.’ I think that having leaders like Thad Young and especially second part of the year with Garrett Temple, it really helped him to see a different side of it and the importance of good leadership and setting the tone with example, but also learning how to talk with your teammates.

“Not every teammate is the same. Some guys need hugs. Some other guys need, ‘Come on, let’s go, pick it up.’ And the only way you learn that is if you try. He had a lot of those situations being on the bench, his voice was amazing and supporting teammates, but also keeping them accountable. He would come to me and say, ‘Coach, what coverages are we in?’ He would double check with me before talking to players making sure that everybody’s on the same page. So I think all of this has created a lot of hunger with him that he is going to be motivated to come next year as a better leader, as a better player.”

Darko Rajakovic End-of-Season Media Availability | April 16, 2024
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