Mitchell explains change

MIKE GANTER

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

Rasho Nesterovic seems almost embarrassed by the attention his move back into the starting lineup is receiving.

Head coach Sam Mitchell surprised just about everyone on Wednesday when he announced he was returning Nesterovic to the starting five and would bring Andrea Bargnani off the bench.

"I don't know what to say," Nesterovic began. "It's coaches decision. It's nothing against anyone. It's not against Andrea."

But Nesterovic knows he's more comfortable starting than he is coming off the bench.

"Most of my career I have started so I've been trying to adjust as much as possible to coming off the bench. It's two different things. I tried to do it but now I'm starting," he said.

Nesterovic though is not taking the move as a set in stone kind of thing.

"It doesn't mean anything," he said following shootaround yesterday. "It can change the next game. This is for this game and we'll try to do as good a job as we can."

Mitchell said the move was made strictly for defensive purposes.

After a few strong defensive games to start the year, the Raps have put up back-to-back stinkers in losses to Milwaukee and Orlando.

"Milwaukee and Orlando, it was unacceptable," Mitchell said. "We have to play better defence."

Nesterovic doesn't offer the kind of offensive upside starting Bargnani does, but at the same time Bargnani can't give Mitchell what he needs under his own basket the way Nesterovic can.

"It's a bigger body that will help us on the boards and just his experience," Mitchell said.

"The way Rasho played in training camp and pre-season, he's probably not a guy who is built to come off the bench. He's not a (high) energy guy so we'll probably get the most out of Rasho starting the first and third quarters."


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