Toronto Raptors hope world agenda brings large positive factors

Masai Ujiri Raptors NBA

Masai Ujiri, President of Toronto Raptors, speaks to reporters throughout an NBA basketball media day in Toronto Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. (Chris Younger/The Canadian Press by way of AP)

TORONTO — There’s at all times been a bit little bit of worldwide aptitude in the one NBA metropolis past the borders of america. This offseason, the Toronto Raptors added two new parts to their world sport plan.

First, the Raptors fired Nick Nurse and made Darko Rajakovic the second Serbian head coach in league historical past. Subsequent, Toronto signed free-agent Dennis Schroder shortly earlier than the German guard led his nation on an undefeated World Cup run, beating Serbia within the gold-medal sport and taking residence match MVP honors.

To Raptors president Masai Ujiri, the summer time’s occasions are merely the most recent examples of an simple basketball fact.



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“The sport goes world,” Ujiri mentioned because the Raptors opened coaching camp. “How about we give it some thought that manner and be affected person, and wait and see what alternative goes to come back to us? The final 5 gamers which have been MVP of the NBA have been worldwide gamers. 5. And it appears prefer it’s going to proceed that manner perhaps.”

Ujiri doesn’t make use of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, or Joel Embiid, who’ve cut up these 5 awards. However Toronto’s British-born govt, whose ancestry is Nigerian and Kenyan, is a staunch believer within the positive factors to be made by means of embracing the broader basketball world.

“Possibly this can be a problem,” Ujiri mentioned. “Possibly I ought to hold my mouth shut. However we’re a part of that. We’re the one workforce within the NBA that’s exterior of America and we’re happy with that. We’re going to proceed to be happy with that. We must always personal it, as a result of that’s going to offer us alternative sooner or later.”

Rajakovic was employed after the Raptors went 41-41 in an uninspiring season below Nurse, dropping within the opening spherical of the play-in match.

“We consider that numerous our gamers didn’t play the suitable manner final 12 months and we need to see them play the suitable manner,” Ujiri mentioned. “I mentioned that we had been egocentric, I’m not operating away from that. We had been egocentric and we didn’t play the suitable manner.”

Toronto Raptors NBA Siakam

Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam speaks to reporters throughout the NBA basketball workforce’s media day in Toronto Monday Oct. 2, 2023. (Chris Younger/The Canadian Press by way of AP)

Toronto’s offense is for certain to look completely different below Rajakovic, with Ujiri promising lots extra slicing, transferring and passing.

Rajakovic mentioned he believes that team-focused model of basketball has confirmed profitable twice already this 12 months, at each the NBA Finals and the FIBA World Cup.

“All groups try to play collectively, making an attempt to maneuver the ball,” Rajakovic mentioned. “The passing is changing into increasingly vital, from the Denver Nuggets profitable the championship and Miami, the way in which they performed throughout the playoffs, that’s changing into a typical theme. Basketball is performed much less and fewer by giving the ball to at least one man and simply getting that man to go to work. It’s extra about interchangeable items, a number of gamers contributing. It’s onerous to scout opponents after they play that manner, it’s onerous to play towards groups who play that manner. We need to be a kind of groups.”

Schroder and Rajakovic reunite with the Raptors after working collectively in Oklahoma Metropolis in 2018 and 2019. Toronto’s new coach began his NBA profession as a Thunder assistant.

“I at all times had nice communication with him, we labored rather well collectively,” Rajakovic mentioned. “He’s an up entrance and sincere man, a fierce competitor. I feel he’s going to carry a fantastic taste to our workforce.”

Schroder didn’t communicate to reporters on the opening day of coaching camp. A Raptors spokesperson mentioned Schroder was not obtainable due to a journey delay.

Toronto signed Schroder after veteran guard Fred VanVleet opted out of his contract and signed a three-year, $130-million take care of Houston.

“I’m completely happy for him, happy with him, clearly unhappy that he’s not right here,” All-Star ahead Pascal Siakam mentioned of VanVleet. “I’ve at all times performed on the identical workforce with him so it’s powerful to not have him.”

Ujiri supplied a philosophical tackle VanVleet’s departure.

“I feel it was good for him and perhaps it was good for us, too,” Ujiri mentioned. “Changing Fred with Dennis Schroder, who had a fantastic summer time, was good for us. I feel we bought higher that manner.”

Raptors heart Jakob Poeltl, who’s from Austria, was requested concerning the prospect of sharing a court docket – and a language – with fellow German-speaker Schroder.

“Possibly we’ll get some sneak performs, a bit little bit of secret communication,” Poeltl mentioned.


NBA: Toronto Raptors hope world agenda brings large positive factors

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