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OKC Roots Ties Dennis Schroder and Darko Rajakovic to Toronto

Former Thunder guard Dennis Schroder recently stated his connection with Darko Rajakovic in Oklahoma City led to their reunion in Toronto.
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Former Oklahoma City guard Dennis Schroder joined Malika Andrews of NBA Today to discuss his signing to the Toronto Raptors over the summer.

Asked why Toronto was the best fit for the German floor general, Schroder said, “I think Darko [Rajakovic], the head coach. This is his first year as a head coach, as well. I met him five years ago, I think in OKC. We became friends… I definitely said to my agent, ‘I want to be there,’ … I think it’s a great fit.”

On June 10, Rajakovic landed his first head coaching job with Toronto. Just over a month later, the team announced Schroder’s signing to a multi-year deal, with the financial terms of the deal unable to be disclosed.

From 2014-2019, Rajakovic helped lead the Thunder to four playoff appearances alongside an average of 49 wins per year as an assistant coach. He was also tasked with being the head coach of Oklahoma City’s G League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers at the time. In two seasons with the 66ers, Rajakovic claimed an above .500 record at 51-49, as well as a trip to the 2013 NBA G League semifinals.

In the one year Schroder and Rajakovic became acquainted in Oklahoma City, Schroder was an integral piece in the Thunder’s game plan throughout the 2018-19 season. He’d average 15.5 points per game, along with 4.1 assists and nearly two 3-pointers a night.

Additionally, Schroder mentioned his desire to “play like a national team” with the Raptors, after recently coming off a FIBA World Cup victory with Germany following their 83-77 win over Serbia. Schroder bounced back from a lackluster quarterfinal contest against Latvia, and went on to help Germany defeat the United States and Serbia, earning tournament MVP honors in the process.

In the championship, Schroder erupted for 28 points and executed the most important play of the game, bursting past his defender to extend Germany’s lead to four with under 20 seconds to play.

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