12:50 pm: We’re wrapping up here. I’ve got to get to work writing an actual piece. We had talk about every player improving and a whooole lot of discussion of how much everyone wants to win. That’s to be expected.
The real takeaways? Pascal Siakam seems happy. That’s important for what happens on the court, historically. Fred VanVleet says he’s healthy. That’s very important for what happens on the court, and he’s honest about if he’s hurting or not. O.G. Anunoby and everyone else downplayed the trade rumours, and they all insist he’s good here.
Otherwise, it’s all gravy. But those are the three biggies.
Thanks for sticking along with me today!
12:30 pm: And we have Pascal Siakam! Last player of the idea. I imagine this one will last a longer time, so strap in. First question is a doozy from Samson about getting him more touches in the pick and roll, and he says it brings his game to the next level.
There’s lots of talk about the Rico Hines runs, about which Siakam is very happy. It’s so valuable to have the team all together and getting run – with a newly minted Raptors coach!
“It was amazing to be healthy [for this offseason],” says Siakam. It’s been a while. “Having the opportunity to [improve] was amazing, I just get lost in it.” He played a lot of hoop, it sounds like. A lot. He got some chances to go away and “just enjoy life.” It’s important to not just hoop, ya know?
12:15 pm: Gary Trent jr. has arrived.
12:00 pm: We got Bo Cruz! He just arrived in Toronto last night after a whirlwind summer. Says he really enjoyed himself making Hustle and winning Eurobasket.
He adds that before signing in Toronto he chatted with Marc Gasol and Jose Calderon. He is excited by the no-position, switchable approach. He loves the young and exciting vibes.
11:48 am: We’ve got Scottie Barnes on the podium now. He’s demure so far with media, not giving very insightful information yet. He wants to win and etcetera.
11:25 am: O.G. Anunoby is asked immediately about the rumours about him this offseason. He says, “Very happy to be back in Toronto. Excited for the season. Ready for another year.”
There ya go. I imagine we’re not getting more info than that. Update: I was wrong! He was asked later by Josh Lewenberg about his role and what he could do to expand. He says he was surprised by the report. Just woke up one day and saw it. Says he hasn’t talked with Nick about his role. He can’t really worry about it.
11:20 am: “He’s gotten better” says VanVleet of Pascal Siakam. Whoo boy, if that’s true.
11:10 am: A hush falls on the crowd as Fred VanVleet steps up to the stage. This man commands a room, holy. Most importantly, he says he’s healthy and feeling better. Able to “handle his role on the team.” Later, “I feel as good as I’ve felt in a long time.”
10:50 am: “Similar to how we used him last year,” says Nurse of Scottie Barnes. Calls him a point guard, but emphasizes that they used him as a point guard last year, too. They’ll try to “develop that out a little bit.”
10:43 am: “If you want me to say it, I’ll say it,” says Nick Nurse, now talking, “I’ll play Fred less minutes.”
10:30 am: “I’m expecting a big jump from [OG],” says Masai Ujiri. I’m sure the question was asked in reference to the rumours swirling around Anunoby this offseason, but Ujiri doesn’t address them directly. He just compliments the man as a basketball player and says “his growth is coming.” I’m sure we’ll have more Anunoby content coming throughout the day. He’ll be speaking later, and we’ll probably have more direct questions about the rumours then.
10:20 am: “I’ll tell you Scottie’s going to take another jump this season,” says Masai. Es from the Score (!) asks Masai about whether the NBA is ready for international expansion right afterwards, and Masai’s eyes light up. He’s happier with this question than any other, you can tell. Oh yes, he says. The talent across the world is enormous, and the Raptors and the NBA are paying close attention.
10:10 am: “There’s no place for that kind of behavior in our league,” says Masai Ujiri of Robert Sarver. “People are going to make mistakes, and sometimes there’s consequences for these mistakes. Thankfully it has ended up in the right place.”
10:05 am: “We’ve made a plan to grow,” says Ujiri. “I think in this organization we’ve always wanted to preach patience. We want to win. We are expecting to win.” This is the type of stuff we’re going to get today. Don’t expect anything revelatory. This is really just for the vibes.
10:00 am: It’s the semi-official start of the season, babyyy. Let’s enjoy the day. I’m here with Samson Folk at Media Day, and we’ll be bringing you all the news (there won’t be any that matters) throughout the day. For now, comment and enjoy yourselves. There will be updates throughout the day.
Giants of Africa put on a breakfast, and it was great. Some of the best smoked salmon I’ve had.
Masai Ujiri is starting to speak right now, so I gotta dash. I’ll be back.