LAS VEGAS – Toronto’s success stories like Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet have caught the attention of up-and-coming, under-the-radar prospects.
That’s why some have decided to sign with the club this off-season, including undrafted free agent Terence Davis, an intriguing swingman. The club also drafted Dewan Hernandez 59th overall and he said he was pumped to go to an organization with a record for development. Hernandez said other players were telling him how lucky he was to land with the Raptors for that reason.
Raptors assistant general manager Dan Tolzman deflected credit when asked about it.
“It’s good. I mean, honestly, most of the credit goes to the players that we’ve brought in,” Tolzman said. “We’ve been lucky to bring in guys that are focussed on the right things and they know that all the work that we put ’em through, whether it’s in the G League or the offseason, and all the long hours away from the big crowds, they come in with the mentality that if I put in the work now, they’ll take that next step. The more buy-in you have from the guys early, then when they become vets, or every time a new class of rookies comes in and they see the guys that went through the same thing that they did, it kind of adds a little bit to the belief that it’s the proper thing to do,” Tolzman said.
“To hear guys wanna get drafted by us and, we try to go through that, we know that they’re probably wired the same way that the guys that we’ve had success with. It’ll be tough for him, but at the same time, it’s like, if he’s willing to put in that work, good things will happen.”
GOODWILLIE GETS BIG ASSIGNMENT
The Raptors have given longtime video coordinator Jon Goodwillie the chance to be the head coach at Summer League and he’s thrilled for the assignment.
“It’s an exciting opportunity,” Goodwillie said earlier this week. “It’s always a pleasure when you get an opportunity to represent a world-class organization like ours and to know that I have the trust of management and our coaching staff. I’ve learned a lot from Nick (Nurse) over the years and he’s got a lot of great coaching tips and philosophies that he’s shared with me and we’re trying to impart that upon these young players here this week.”
EVEN NETS BOSS SURPRISED
The NBA world was mostly stunned by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving deciding to go to Brooklyn. The Nets head coach was surprised, too.
The team didn’t even meet with Durant and Irving until after they had agreed to go to the Nets.
“Quite honestly, it did surprise me,” Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters on Tuesday.
“Obviously we improved a lot last year but it wasn’t a so-called star system. It was a group of guys that play really well together. I think it gives more credit to the guys that are coming here that say, ‘I like that style of play, I like the way they play.’ I think they want to participate in something like that,” he said.
As for not being fully engrossed in the decision-making process?
“These players are talking all the time,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said. “Our guys are talking, who knows what’s going on behind closed doors. And we let them have their space; I mean, that’s the players’ sanctuary.
“The world is so small now, with social media and everybody can put out every post they want and so forth at whatever time they want. There’s a lot of speculation and everybody’s jumping on that: Did he mean this, and did he not mean this? So I think the market is different, too. This year was a year where there was so much money in the market.
“And guys were going, ‘How do I capitalize? How am I going to make that money and not be left out?’ I don’t know if it’s a perfect storm. I don’t know what you want to call it. But I think … this is definitely a bit of an anomaly year. And maybe that’s where it’s trending.”
The NBA board of governors have added in-game challenge flags for head coaches for the upcoming season.
Coaches will be able to challenge a personal foul call, an out of bounds call, a goaltend, or basket interference violation.
According to reports, the league also approved the ability of the replay centre in New Jersey to trigger instant replay, along with the in-game officials, to determine if a shot was a two, or three-point field goal abd if a shot was made before the shot clock expired.
Former Boston starter Marcus Morris might renege on a two-year contract agreement with San Antonio to instead join New York on a deal worth nearly as much money over one season, according to reports. If that happens, the Spurs will have dealt away promising forward Davis Bertans to Washington and reworked an agreement with former Raptor DeMarre Carroll in order to fit Morris in for nothing.
It would be an odd move for Morris, who has often talked about how important winning is to him. New York is seen as a fringe playoff contender at best and has already added fellow power forwards Julius Randle, Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson via free agency.
AROUND THE RIM
Vegas odds have perked up on a Russell Westbrook to Miami trade. The former NBA MVP has reportedly become agreeable to a move in the wake of the departure of Paul George There has been speculation that Golden State only executed a sign-and-trade for former Nets guard D’Angelo Russell to trade him for value down the line. Russell seems OK with whatever happens.
“That’s the business of it,” Russell said, according to ESPN, when asked if Golden State has told him he’d be a long-term fit or not. “It is what it is. You put yourself in a position to go somewhere for a long period of time, and it may not be what it is a year later. And that’s the business. I’ve come to a realization of that, and I understand that, so whatever situation I’m in, I know the business side of it, so we’ll just see. I can’t predict it.”