Ever since the Toronto Raptors snagged Scottie Barnes with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the front office has been in shambles regarding the direction of their organization. Last year, when they had the opportunity to trade big names like Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet for a high value, they decided to keep them and acquire big man Jakob Poeltl from the San Antonio Spurs.

There were a slew of head-scratching decisions that could have been easily avoided, but now the franchise will start its rebuild in 2024. Toronto decided to make VanVleet walk in the offseason, while they swung mega deals for Siakam and OG Anunoby this year, so they are likely to build their future around Scottie Barnes, Immanuel Quickly, and RJ Barrett.

It is better late than never for the Raptors to realize their approach for their organization, but let's look back on the individuals most to blame for their dreadful campaign.

Masai Ujiri

Raptors President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri is the most to blame for the subpar performance of their team this season. Since he was part of the group that won the 2019 NBA championship, he likely had biases toward the core guys like Siakam and VanVleet, which made it difficult for him to pull the trigger on trades a year or two earlier.

The value of those guys was so much higher in 2021 and 2022, so Toronto could have added a bevy of pieces that would fit more to their style. Losing VanVleet for nothing in the offseason was a massive disappointment because Ujiri was adamant about not moving him before the trade deadline in 2023. There was no logical reason for Toronto to be buyers in that situation, so now they are feeling the outcome of that decision.

Since he brought a championship to their city, Ujiri is unlikely to be fired, so now it is time for him to prove his expertise once again.

Darko Rajakovic

Toronto Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic coaches against the Brooklyn Nets during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

For NBA fans in the United States, a myriad of individuals were unfamiliar with the coaching style of Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic. When he entered the association, it was evident that his approach is focused more on the European style of play, but it was also apparent that it did not mesh well with the strengths of the current crop of guys.

Siakam, Anunoby, and Barnes are not knockdown shooters, and they were known to flourish under the tutelage of former Raptors coach Nick Nurse. Obviously, it was a difficult situation for both parties, and it seemed like no one was giving in as the majority of the core of Toronto was struggling at the early juncture of the season.

Luckily, Siakam and Anunoby were still dealt for adequate pieces, but their market value plummeted because of their inability to flourish in Rajakovic's system.

Dennis Schroder

Right after VanVleet was signed by the Houston Rockets, the Raptors were quick to shift to their plan B as they pursued German point guard Dennis Schroder. It was a respectable two-year, $25 million contract, but Schroder was from being an effective floor general for Toronto.

The expectation was that he would bring the momentum of his spectacular FIBA World Cup performance to his stint with the Raptors, but it was a horrific one for their squad. His PER was only at 13.9, while averaging 13.7 PPG and 6.1 APG. The numbers are not the worst, but it was far from his best days with Germany and even the Oklahoma City Thunder. Moreover, he was expected to be a better floor general for guys like Siakam and Anunoby, which was far from the case.