Playing for Canada:
Our fan base in Toronto is crazy. Every night we sell out. They do a great job of coming out, cheering loud, showing their passion, and electrifying the building. Canadians are all over the world. When they get a chance to support their team, they do it. When our fans are in other people’s building, they’re chanting our name.
The advantage of playing in Toronto is that you don’t just play for Toronto, you play for Canada. We know that, and we appreciate it. You’re not just playing for one city in Toronto, you’re playing for Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton, you’re playing for the whole country.
On succeeding despite DeRozan’s injury:
We got a good team. We got a core group. One man went down, next guy’s got to step up. That’s how we roll on our team. One guy goes down, we’re not out of it. One guy goes down, next man steps up. That’s what makes a good team.
On Dwane Casey:
Casey’s all about defense. He really wants us to always focus on defense, and hang our hats on defense. At the end of the day, that’s how you can win games, and that’s where he’s come from. He’s a defensive-minded guy.
On players wanting to play in Toronto:
Winning changes the culture and image of a place. If you win, and you keep on winning, players will come and want to play. They’re going to come and want to join that.
Bruno’s going to continue to get better. He’s so young you can’t pinpoint what he’s going to be. He’s work ethic is unbelievable, he’s in the gym two times a day. I think he has the work ethic that you need.
Jonas Valanciunas development:
[Jonas] been very instrumental to our team. He’s been a great rim protector, he’s had more double-doubles this year than any other year so far. I think he’s only going to keep developing. He’s only 21, 22 years old, he’s going to continue to get better, figure out his game, and have fun with it. Once he’s learned to have fun with it, he’ll be really good. [He can be an All-Star], it’s a tough position to be with the center position. He has an opportunity to be an All-Star because he can be dominant.
Chauncey Biillups as a mentor:
I’ve kind of modelled by game after him. I’m much more athletic than him, though….Me and him are going to sit down together this weekend. He’s a guy who wants me to be very successful, and just growing and take advantage of the opportunity.
Relationship with DeRozan:
[DeMar’s] like a brother. Not just on the court, it’s about other things. We talk about basketball all the time, but we also talk about real life things…if the team’s going to be successful, it’s going to be on our shoulders.
On the NBA All-Star game in Canada:
It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a different All-Star game. My expectation is definitely to be there, just to represent our country, my team, and the country of Canada…It’s going to be an unbelievable show. It’s going to be a good time.
On Marcus Smart:
That kid’s good, he has the ability to really grow into a lead guard, and be a leader. I think he has that toughness and mentality to be a leader. He’s really going to keep growing and keep developing.
On basketball growth in Canada:
The growth is amazing. People are starting to come up there to recruit. The kids are putting more passion, and more work ethic in, they see you got two #1 picks back-to-back, they see that if you put the work in, anything’s possible.
On what’s great about the city of Toronto:
The culture. I think that’s one of the things that people don’t get to experience. The culture is so great there. The diversity of people, my son goes to school, and he’s in class with all kinds of different people. It’s crazy, it’s unbelievable. My kid hadn’t had diversity, and right now it’s awesome.
On Andrew Wiggins:
He’s playing really well. He’s probably going to be rookie of the year. His confidence is getting higher, and he’s just starting to fill out his abilities.
On his on/off court personality:
On the court I’m fiery, I want to win. I take no BS. But when I’m at home with my family, I’m a pushover.
On speaking with Bieber since he campaigned for him:
I haven’t talked to [Justin Bieber].
On Stephen Curry relationship and golf:
He’s better than me [at golf]. We share a passion, every time we get together we talk golf. [I’ve been playing] for a couple years. It’s mentally strengthening for me.