On Monday, theScore’s Glenn Schiiler went one-on-one with Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, president and general manager Bryan Colangelo, and players Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan and Jamaal Magloire at Toronto’s annual Media Day.
Every Raptors fan should take two minutes out of their day to watch this collection of soundbites. There were some interesting things said, but the one person who said a couple of things that really stood out to me was Dwane Casey.
Everyone and their grandmother knows what this season is going to be about for the Raptors. Colangelo has gone out of his way to let (warn) fans know that this is going to be a ‘building’ year that is more about continued development and implementation of a new culture than it is about wins, losses and the playoff race.
However, one thing Colangelo stressed in the lead-up to training camp was that no matter the team’s overall record, they would have no choice but to compete on every single possession with Casey at the helm. While it’s all talk until we see that new found work ethic consistently displayed on the court, it is something Raps fans are surely looking forward to.
As I’ve stated in some of my recent posts, I understand that another high draft pick (in a loaded draft-class) is more valuable to the long-term success of the franchise than one season of over-achieving. What I want to see is a Raptors team that plays defence, that leaves it on the court every single night and ensures their opponent is going to leave the court battered and bruised before they leave the court with a 30-point win over the Raptors.
I also want to see a Raptors team that takes some pride in defending their home court at the ACC, where Raps fans have proven to be more than loyal over the years.
So, as you can imagine, hearing Dwane Casey tell Glenn Schiiler that “nobody’s going to come here and kick our butts in our arena” was music to my ears. The other quote that really caught my attention was Casey’s statement that “defence travels well.”
Like I said, until we see these philosophies translate into on-court performance both at home and on the road, these catchy little tidbits mean nothing.
But I can’t remember the last time I was excited about the style of play a Raptors head coach was going to implement. If Casey can fulfill his prophecies and turn these Raptors into a hard-nosed, smash-mouth defensive team that proudly defends their home court, Raptors fans may rally around their new coach more than they do any individual player this season.
If the Raps can get off to a surprising start, I give it a week before #poundtherock is a consistently trending topic in Canada.