At the conclusion of the Toronto Raptors Fan Jam on Sunday afternoon, Jay Triano spoke with the media. As Scott Carefoot pointed out on Friday, Triano’s been tougher on Andrea Bargnani than we’ve seen him in the past. This goes along with what the rest of the team has said about Triano being more strict in this year’s training camp as compared to last year’s session in Ottawa.
We’ll start with his responses to questions about leadership and Andrea and then go to the rest from his scrum:
- Can you talk about your expectations for Bargnani specifically (as a leader):
“I don’t think that we’re in a position where we can force anybody to be a leader. I think that leadership will evolve and it’s the people who are respected by their teammates and that comes through either being a great player or being a hard worker or being very vocal and I think that it changes all of the time. I think that those are things that will still evolve and I think some of it has started right now, but I think the locker room is still pretty open.”
- Did you see any of that from him through the preseason?:
“Andrea? No, not really. Andrea, we’ve had him for years. I don’t think we’re going to see a transformation overnight. But we do expect him to be a leader as far as being a scorer on this team.”
Personally, I love that Triano knows what they’ve got in Bargnani and isn’t trying to turn him into something overnight that he hasn’t been over his career. I know we usually assume that the best or most talented player on the roster is supposed to be a leader, like basketball skills and people skills come hand in hand. Guess what? Sometimes that couldn’t be further from the truth. Some people are born leaders, some become them and others will always find it easier to follow the lead of someone else. A week ago we were learning that Bargnani’s teammates are finally getting to get to know him. He’s sitting in the back of the bus. When this is making news, I think it’s pretty clear that Bargnani is not the vocal leader of this team. I also think it’s pretty alright. Always better to be who you are naturally than try to become someone you’re not.
Really love Triano’s honesty this season. Here is more from his scrum on Sunday:
What did you learn?: “I think we’re learning how to compete at the defensive end a little bit better. I don’t think we’ve polished it or refined it the way that we need to, but they’re buying in to what we’re asking them to do, which is good. We’re a little bit more aggressive there and I think that’s helped us a lot. We’re up on 3-point shooters which is good and we’re forcing people to turn the ball over which is good. We’re going to get better at our rotations, which are new for some of these guys so it’s a good start. Offensively, I think we’ve proven we can score points and we just have to make sure we can keep sharing the basketball and when we do it’s good.”
- Surprised at all, by the team’s ability to put up points: “I’m a little surprised, but at the same time we knew we had guys that could score. Even last year when Chris was not in the line up at the end of the year, we still found a way to score. We’ve got a lot of guys that can score the basketball, a lot of guys that can find ways to put it in the basket. I think Kleiza and Barbosa add to that, they don’t take away from that at all.”
- On Leandro Barbosa’s wrist injury: “Sore wrist, he hurt it in the game. He was sore, but wanted to keep playing. Wants to fight through it, but we’re just going to be cautious with it for the first couple of days.”
- How David Andersen fits with this squad: “His general basketball IQ is very good. I think a lot of that comes from, he’s a veteran guy. He’s been in Europe, he’s been in the NBA. We knew that he could shoot the basketball and we wanted someone who could come in and kind of replace Andrea when Andrea is in foul trouble or is not on the floor. He’s been very good at that. Good at finding ways to step out and shoot the basketball.”
- How Soloman Alabi’s preseason has gone: “The biggest thing for him, he’s an excellent shooter. I think the biggest thing for him is getting experience and repetitions in because just balance wise, it’s a bigger game, it’s a faster game, it’s a little more physical. The fact that he’s got to go up against Reggie Evans and Joey Dorsey every single day in practice is only going to bode well for him as he develops as a basketball player because they do not take possessions off against him and if you can battle against those two guys you can battle against anyone.”
- On Alabi’s enthusiasm: “It’s unbelievable. He cheers when I sub him into a game. When I say we’re going to scrimmage, he wants to know how many scrimmages we’re going to have, because he knows he’s probably a sub in the first one. If there are two scrimmages, he knows there’s a chance he’s going to get in. You love that. You love for guys to want to play and he certainly does.”
- On the D-League being an option for him: “We’ll see how things go. If he can’t get minutes here, he needs to get minutes, he needs to play and he needs to compete, but we’ll see how things go.”