On Pro Bball Report last week: Lucas Nogueira buyout, Veteran scorer Lou Williams, Best Raptors team ever, Steve Nash having fun, Cory Joseph as leader, Big names missing from Team Canada, Platooning Canadian players, Pro jobs in Europe, Canada vs. Slovenia, Ukraine and Georgia, Raptors training camp, the NBA schedule delayed and more.
The Toronto Raptors are closing in on completing the buyout of center Lucas Nogueira from Asefa Estudiantes much to the disappointment of several top Eurloeague teams that had hoped to acquire the ACB top defensive player from last season.
“(My role is) to just come off the bench and bring a ton of energy and score the basketball,” Williams said. “(Provide) leadership, experience, in Philadelphia we had some pretty good runs. We were two possessions away from being in the Eastern Conference Finals when we had barely even made the playoffs.”
“It’s a hell of an accomplishment,” Amir Johnson said. “It is something we get to show our kids when we get old and we come back here. We can point up and say our team won that.”
“It’s natural and I think I’ve been a mentor for about 18 years now,” Nash said. “I’m 40 and I’ve been a veteran in the NBA for a long time, so I’ve had a lot of young players play on my teams or under me and I’ll always be there to try to share and help and give back.”
“I definitely put a lot on my shoulders as a point guard and as a leader,” Joseph said. “I have to lead this team. I feel that I can be that extension of the coach on the court and I am just trying to lead this team to get Ws.”
“I am just trying to help,” Nash said. “Teach whatever I can after a long career and be a part of their development. The funest part for me is to work with the guys and try to help them with anything they want to try and improve on.”
“The guys all really want to be a part of the program, but for various reasons it’s hard to get everybody here at the same time,” Nash said. “Maybe next summer when the Olympics are on the line we can get everybody together.”
“That’s a good question. It is almost like you are in our coaches meeting,” Triano said. “The big thing that we did last year when we went to China and Russia with the student team is we platooned, we put five minutes on and five off and we may look at something like that to start this tour. Then everybody plays 20 minutes a game and nobody gets taxed with the number of games that we have.”
“(The players) get to be seen. They get the experience of playing the international game and the scouts do not have to travel here to find them. This summer, we are going into (the European teams) backyard. If it opens up opportunities for our players to keep playing and become employed as basketball players then it’s a great trip.”
After just three days of practice in Toronto, flying to Venice on Wednesday and hoping on a bus to Slovenia, the Senior Men’s National Team lost the opener of their 11 game exhibition tour on Thursday 92-80 to host Slovenia.
Team Canada won for the first time during their 11 game European tour 80-75 over the Ukraine in overtime.
Team Canada improved its record to 2 wins and a loss in Slovenia on Saturday with an 83-66 dismissal of Georgia.
The Toronto Raptors announced that they will hold the second half of their training camp and play a preseason game against the Kings in Vancouver this October.
It’s been reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel that the release date of the official NBA schedule has been postponed in order to give the TV networks more time to figure out which games they want after a very busy and somewhat surprising free agent period.
• Big Stories From Last Week
“Based on the season that they had last year, based on what I can bring to the table, I feel like being in the playoffs isn’t enough for this group,” Williams said. “And they feel the same way.”
“We have something special,” Patterson said. “We have something positive. We have a great coaching staff, a great organization, great leadership, great players and guys who are hungry and willing to learn and get better every single day. I am glad that we are all staying together and with the success we had last year hopefully we can build on that and have an even better year.”
“Masai (Ujiri) was really honest with me and he was telling me how it is and we got (the contract) done,” Vasquez said. “I want to be back in the city that I really love and I identify myself with.”
“It was a crazy road for me, but I’ve learned a lot – a lot from my mistakes,” Johnson said. “I feel like Masai (Ujiri) and the rest of the Toronto Raptors, they felt the same way about the situation and the same way about my play and what I could bring to the team. I still have a lot to prove, but them signing me for two years gave me a boost of confidence and I am going to work my hardest to help us go further than we did last year.”