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Thread: The Ujiri-Vasquez connection runs deep

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Default The Ujiri-Vasquez connection runs deep

    From the Toronto Star:

    It is not by happenstance that Greivis Vasquez is a Toronto Raptor today. The coach, friend and confidant who saw such promise in a 17-year-old Venezuelan made sure it would happen.

    “He’s just a very unique kid, very outgoing, very, very competitive but very respectful,” says Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri.

    And Ujiri should know. He’s been tracking Vasquez since he was a prodigy growing up in Caracas.
    They struck up a friendship. Ujiri saw unbridled enthusiasm and promise in the teen and when Vasquez was looking for a place where his game could flourish, Ujiri helped to place him at a prep school, Montrose Christian in Rockville, Md., where another friend was the head coach and three of Ujiri’s Nigerian prospects also played.

    The friendship blossomed, as did Vasquez.

    A prep school teammate of Kevin Durant,
    Vasquez went on to spend four years at Maryland. He was picked by Memphis in the first round of the 2010 NBA draft (Ujiri and then-Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo tried feverishly to add a pick to take him) and has become a solid NBA guard, now in his fourth season.

    All because Ujiri saw something special in the young talent and he was proved right, and because Vasquez was willing to leave his homeland, his friends, his family and thrived thanks to Ujiri’s help, encouragement and reputation as a man who genuinely cares.
    A testament to Ujiri’s scouting skills — and that’s where he cut his teeth in what’s turned out to be a tremendous NBA leadership role — is that he saw something special in the teenager, both as a player and a man. One of the attributes Ujiri likes most in players is competitiveness and drive. He says Vasquez has that 10 times over and always has.

    “Greivis was such a good kid, such a wonderful young basketball player and a good kid,” Ujiri said. “He had goals in his life that all revolved around basketball.”

    And when the chance came for Ujiri to add him in the deal that sent Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings, it was a no-brainer.

    “Every now and then when he was in Denver, he used to tell me, ‘I’m going to get you on my team’ and now I’m on his team,” Vasquez said. “It’s been a pleasure. I am very happy in Toronto and hopefully it is a long-term relationship. It’s always good being with someone that really cares about you and knows where you’re coming from.”
    http://www.thestar.com/sports/raptor...ff_for_gm.html


    Interesting.

    Will the loyalty result in a mentor-discount this summer? :P



    **And the funny thing is all I can think about after reading this is: "We're going to get Kevin Durant!" - LoL**
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    Raptors Republic All-Star JimiCliff's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    From the Toronto Star:







    http://www.thestar.com/sports/raptor...ff_for_gm.html


    Interesting.

    Will the loyalty result in a mentor-discount this summer? :P



    **And the funny thing is all I can think about after reading this is: "We're going to get Kevin Durant!" - LoL**
    Haha yeah this can't hurt, right?

    As backups go, Vasquez is about all that you can ask for.

    If he starts wanting more, though, things could become problematic.

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    Raptors Republic Starter mike, prague's Avatar
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    Yeah, Durant was the first thing that popped into my mind when I read the last paragraph. I'm also glad to see that MU fulfils his promises, hope it works the same with Championship Rings and Larry O'Brien Trophies.
    Last edited by mike, prague; Sun Mar 2nd, 2014 at 10:40 AM.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar planetmars's Avatar
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    There goes my Nando theory. I seriously thought GV would be a goner with the Nando acquisition. This story seems to suggest otherwise.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star consmap's Avatar
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    I don't know how I feel about this. I'm not really sold on GV as a player, and the fact that this implies he might stay long term worries me a bit. If he starts being less inconsistent and all over the place with his game I'd be okay with him staying.

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    Raptors Republic Rookie gametime's Avatar
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    I like how everything ends up spinning back to Durant. Bring in his buddy Drake? Check. Make his childhood fav player relevant again in VC? Check. Get one of his prep school teammates in Vasquez? Check... Maybe we can hire his favourite childhood restaurant owner as one of the team's newest meal-prep guys', too? Delicious or Delusional, I expect to hear more stories like this.

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    Raptors Republic Rookie Beagle's Avatar
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    Wow. I'm surprised it took so long for this story to emerge. I'm very happy to read it.

    I think Ujiri has a good eye and he just raped the Kings. Vasquez and Patterson are gold. I think Vasquez will be better than Calderon before long, if not already. He still has a few kinks in his shot, but he has great potential to be a double-threat point guard -- like Lowry is already. This is one of the requirements for a contending team (usually) and we have TWO! That's gotta look good for the future. MU is gonna remake this franchise in his mold. I think he'll retain Casey. DeRozan is gone. TRoss stays. They're bringing him along slowly, but he's gonna be a star, and a closer in tight games. JV fits totally. Amir might get traded. He's sort of been in one place too long for a guy like him. If he goes, it will be very amicable. Lowry - I can't make a guess. MU will try to hold him I'd say, but not at any price, since he has Vaz. Maybe we'll see a one-year contract for $12 million or something. That'd be cute.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran ceez's Avatar
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    Interesting stuff, I had no idea.

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    Quote Beagle wrote: View Post
    I think Vasquez will be better than Calderon before long, if not already.
    I like Vasquez and I like that he's on our team, but let's be reasonable: Jose is one of the best shooters in the entire league and has supremely good floor sense, plus he's got all the intangibles. Jose just doesn't play good D, and Vasquez doesn't either so that's a wash.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Mr.Z's Avatar
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    Oh the betrayal when Vasquez gets traded haha
    "You clearly don't know who you're talking to, so let me clue you in: I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No! I am the one who knocks!"

    - Walter White

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    Raptors Republic Starter mountio's Avatar
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    Is it bad that the first thing I thought about is that I hope MU doesnt have some irrational attachment to Greasy and signs him back for more than he should?

    I guess its not really a risk given that we will get him for another year with his QO - which is reasonable at $3.2 mm .... but none the less.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star BigCamB's Avatar
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    Quote mountio wrote: View Post
    Is it bad that the first thing I thought about is that I hope MU doesnt have some irrational attachment to Greasy and signs him back for more than he should?

    I guess its not really a risk given that we will get him for another year with his QO - which is reasonable at $3.2 mm .... but none the less.
    That's the first thing I thought about as well.

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    Raptors Republic Starter YoungGunRaptor's Avatar
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    Quote gametime wrote: View Post
    I like how everything ends up spinning back to Durant. Bring in his buddy Drake? Check. Make his childhood fav player relevant again in VC? Check. Get one of his prep school teammates in Vasquez? Check... Maybe we can hire his favourite childhood restaurant owner as one of the team's newest meal-prep guys', too? Delicious or Delusional, I expect to hear more stories like this.
    LOL the pieces are all slowly coming together. Durant is that one final piece that will put the Raptors puzzle together
    “You can sink and drown, or you can float, and we out here like Michael Phelps."


    Demar Derozan

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    So the first thing that came to your mind was (a) can we get him cheap or (b) will Kevin Durant land in Toronto soon.

    How about some other ideas, like,

    1 Isn't it great that our GM has a passport and knows how to use it
    2. Sounds like Vasquez has the strength of character to grow within the Raptors organization
    3. Masai Ujiri does indeed understand the value of draft picks
    4. First round draft picks are only one part of the solution

    Anyone else?

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    Can defense be taught? Is defense a team effort thing? I don't believe that you can take a defensive genius like Amir and make him a best in class three point shooter but the Raptors are trying and now Amir is hitting some jumpers at the elbow. So, can Vasquez add defense to his skill set. The guy has handles and can score the ball - now can he be taught defense. He seems to want to learn and Dwane's a good teacher.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star stooley's Avatar
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    Quote Roarque wrote: View Post
    Can defense be taught? Is defense a team effort thing? I don't believe that you can take a defensive genius like Amir and make him a best in class three point shooter but the Raptors are trying and now Amir is hitting some jumpers at the elbow. So, can Vasquez add defense to his skill set. The guy has handles and can score the ball - now can he be taught defense. He seems to want to learn and Dwane's a good teacher.
    He should be able to become a passable defender.

    I mean, he lacks the footspeed to be a stopper.

    But if he really cares, he can at least get to average, right?

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Axel's Avatar
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    Quote stooley wrote: View Post
    He should be able to become a passable defender.

    I mean, he lacks the footspeed to be a stopper.

    But if he really cares, he can at least get to average, right?
    Almost anyone can be a passable defender. Defence is largely based on effort. If you don't have the foot speed, you have to adjust but it's still largely effort. Look at how well Delleadova harassed GV in the Cavs game last week. He isn't athlete of the year material, but he put a ton of effort into it and helped harass a bigger, better player.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Red and White's Avatar
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    Quote stooley wrote: View Post
    He should be able to become a passable defender.

    I mean, he lacks the footspeed to be a stopper.

    But if he really cares, he can at least get to average, right?
    Someone posted the panel from last year's Sloan Conference, and Stan Van Gundy talks about this a bit in regards to J.J. Redick. While all the statistics state that J.J. Redick is a very bad individual defender, much like Vasquez (both guys really lack lateral quickness and can get beat off the dribble), Van Gundy still strongly believed that a team could be solid defensively with him on the floor. The reason? He's a smart player, and a hard worker. While Redick will never be a "stopper", he will ice a Jamal Crawford baseline, and rotate properly to contest a Kyle Korver. This is how Vasquez can contribute on that side of the ball.

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    Raptors Republic Starter YoungGunRaptor's Avatar
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    Quote Red and White wrote: View Post
    Someone posted the panel from last year's Sloan Conference, and Stan Van Gundy talks about this a bit in regards to J.J. Redick. While all the statistics state that J.J. Redick is a very bad individual defender, much like Vasquez (both guys really lack lateral quickness and can get beat off the dribble), Van Gundy still strongly believed that a team could be solid defensively with him on the floor. The reason? He's a smart player, and a hard worker. While Redick will never be a "stopper", he will ice a Jamal Crawford baseline, and rotate properly to contest a Kyle Korver. This is how Vasquez can contribute on that side of the ball.
    Well said! I agree completely. Someone like Terrence Ross has elite level potential (having guarded some of the best in the NBA all season long, and having shown signs of brilliance), but a guy like GV can still be part of a strong defensive unit while on the court. He simply has to understand what to do and what not to do, and play within the defensive system.

    Well said
    “You can sink and drown, or you can float, and we out here like Michael Phelps."


    Demar Derozan

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