The Raptors have a bright future, but Masai Ujiri is always lifting the bar for development


Raptors: You could understand why Masai Ujiri’s clubs are the way they are, as he talked. Between constructing basketball courts in Africa and mocking the possibility that his head coach would join the Lakers.

The president of the Toronto Raptors does one thing: he sets expectations.

The Raptors won 48 games with a unique brand of play in a semi-rebuilding year. The six-game defeat to Philadelphia in the first round was at least partially due to injury.

But it did show several faults. It had been a fantastic year. The future seems promising.

And the organization’s president spent his season-ending media availability admitting this while also constantly increasing the bar. On this squad, who needs to improve?

“All of them,” Ujiri stated. “Yes, all of them,” says the narrator.

Raptors: They’re all there—Pascal Siakam, who had amounted to an all-star year and soared to new heights.

Fred VanVleet had a genuine all-star year until his body broke down; OG Anunoby, who is struggling to put together a complete season; and rookie of the year, Scottie Barnes, were at the top of Ujiri’s list.

Until further notice, it is the backbone of our crew. None of them regards as completed items since that would be the limit.

However, this will not be the case. Despite its constraints, Ujiri spent time admiring the effort his squad had made this year.

According to him, Barnes must have said winning 100 times at their departure meeting, and VanVleet is always talking about winning.

Ujiri talked passionately about Siakam, a guy whose growth slowed after the 2019 championship but who has evolved into the player who can run a complete offense in a Game 4 and make run-stopping mid-range jumpers on the road in a Game 5 in Philadelphia.

“We have to deal with this even if it’s not easy.” Because he is a prominent person, he markets and open to the public. “I’m proud of him,” Ujiri said.

“I happened to see his press conference the other day. and said, ‘Yeah, I want that man on my squad.’

That is the kind of fighter I want on my squad. If you can come back from something like that in life, you saw it.

You saw what people called him racist and all the things that were said about him because of basketball as a result of sports.

Raptors: “Even though it’s difficult, we have to cope with it.” not made public “He is promoting and exposed to the public since he is a well-known figure. Ujiri stated, “I’m proud of him.”

“The other day, I chance to see his press conference. ‘Yeah, I want that guy on my team,’ he replied.

That’s the kind of fighter I’d want to have on my team. You saw what people labeled him racist and all the things said about him because of basketball as a consequence of athletics, whether you can bounce back from something like that in life.

However, he had previously said that Siakam’s next step is to improve his three-point shooting. Ujiri is already advocating for it, and Siakam will follow suit.

“We have to take a risk.” “We need to improve,” Ujiri remarked. “This is why we have this summer.” We’ve had a long chat with each of them about it.”

He constantly sets the bar high, but that’s one of the most challenging aspects of strengthening this squad. Ujiri discussed the need to bring in a more significant center who fits the team’s needs — someone who can shoot, defend the rim, and maybe switch defensively all over the floor — and how a backup point guard might help reduce VanVleet’s minutes.

But, since these are the Raptors, it won’t be easy. Nick Nurse, the head coach, said that he needed additional depth on Monday.

Still, he only trusts strong and clever players to play his amoebic, ever-changing defense, which is how Siakam and VanVleet rank top and second in the league in minutes per game, with Barnes ninth Gary Trent Jr. 14th.

Read also: Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets reflects on the 2021-22 season: ‘I Never Felt Like Myself.’

Leave a Reply