“You want the real story? It was a barbecue about two years ago,” Stone said. “He had a little bit to drink. Me and my nephew are tight. I was like, ‘Yo, I’m about to beat your dad one on one. I’ve been waiting for this moment.’ I got him when he was [buzzed] a little bit. I got him outside. And that was [the game]. I won’t play him again, though. Now it’s up to my nephew to beat me, which will never happen.”
“Getting to this point was hard for me,” he said of never being drafted, but somehow carving out a niche on the fringes of the NBA. “It wasn’t the conventional way. It’s just another thing you have to overcome so I went to Vancouver and I just dedicated myself to getting healthy for six-to-eight weeks.”
Fresh off the most eventful year of his life, the 24-year-old says he feels a lot older than his age suggests. The day after opening night will mark the one-year anniversary since DeRozan signed a $38 million extension keeping him in Toronto through the 2016-17 season. Since inking his new contact he put up career numbers playing in all 82 games last year, he participated in Team USA’s minicamp this summer and more personally, he became a father. As he notes, he has grown up off the court just as much as he has on it.
Raptors are once again looking like a team on surface that looks pretty good in the pre-season. The record that we all say doesn’t matter is still kept and let’s face it if this team was 1-6 and not 6-1 people would be in a panic mode. Just last season this team exited the pre-season with just one loss and had a lot of people wondering if they would be a surprise team. After a 4-19 start there was no one left wondering about the merits of how good this team was anymore.
Originally scheduled to take over in Toronto at the start of July, Leiweke moved his start date up by almost a month when it became clear how much work needed doing. His first big move was demoting general manager Bryan Colangelo. Less than two weeks later, he hired Masai Ujiri, the NBA’s reigning executive of the year, away from Denver to take over as president and GM. A former Raptors assistant, Ujiri tearfully described his Toronto return as a homecoming at his introductory press conference in early June.
The Andrew Wiggins bandwagon will obviously not be fond of this prediction. A postseason berth would eliminate the team from landing a lottery pick in the stacked 2014 NBA draft. Frankly, unless the Raptors bottom out and blow up the roster, the chances of them going No. 1 overall and taking Wiggins are slim to none.