Jay Triano dropped by theScore Satellite Radio studio today for an interview with Tim Micallef and Sid Seixero on their Tim and Sid: Uncut show. If you’re not already a regular listener, then you might not know that Tim and Sid: Uncut is the best and funniest sports talk radio show in Canada. You can tune in Monday through Friday from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM ET on Sirius Channel 98 and theScore Satellite Radio website or you can subscribe on iTunes and you’ll receive each show in podcast format about an hour after the end of each show. While I highly recommend you download the show and listen to it, here’s a recap of the main topics they discussed.
Has Triano ever before seen the high quality of young Canadian talent coming up in the NCAA right now that could benefit the national team?
“Never. I don’t think we’ve ever been to the point where we are right now. I think it was about a month ago, I went on one of the draft sites and there were three Canadians in the Top 25 if they had declared for the NBA Draft. We’ve always had, you know, is this guy going to be a first round pick, or is he going to be a second round pick, or is he going to get drafted? I don’t think we’ve ever seen the likes where there are three Canadians that could be drafted in the top 25 or even in the first round of an NBA Draft. So I think the future in this country is looking brighter, and it’s all good. It’s good for the game and it’s good for our national team to get back on the map again.”
On the Raptors’ two games in London, England against the Nets:
“As far as the experience, I enjoyed going over with these guys. I mean, if we were in a playoff race right now, I think it would be very, very tough. Although, our players played very well. I thought the games we played over there, our young players are going to remember that trip for a very long time and I think it helps us as a young team to go through tough times and make things tough. I remember when I played on the national team, we would travel to Spain and we would have a game two days after we got there and you’re still trying to adjust to the time and the different gyms and the conditions that maybe aren’t exactly the same as we’re used to. But I think that helps build a toughness in you as a player. And it helps build a toughness to get through tough times, to fight through, to play when conditions are less than perfect. And conditions were not perfect for us over there just because it was a disruption to our schedule. We missed a night’s sleep in the travel and so on. But I think overall that’s going to help our young guys be a little more mentally tough.”
What was Triano’s mandate for the Raptors going into this season once he learned that Chris Bosh was gone?
“When you lose a guy like Chris, there were two thoughts. You either have him and you build around him and you move forward, although you’re going to be strapped, and where are you going to find players and the cash available? Or, if Chris is going to go, then you take that trade exception money, you see what’s available, you develop the young players, and if you can add a piece that’s going to help, then you do that. We did not expect to have the injuries that we’ve had this year. I think that really set us back — Reggie getting hurt because he really created who we were early and we surprised a lot of people. You know, Jose being hurt for a while, Kleiza — one of our other tougher players — gets hurt. Things just compounded. So the focus became around the younger players. You can’t say that it was not planned but (the rebuilding process) was probably accelerated because of the injuries, the fact that (the younger players) had to play as much as they did.”
On the Raptors’ rebuilding strategy:
“We’re going into our last 16 games and we’re looking at keeping our young players going, keep developing them. But we also have a top pick coming. We’re going to have money that we can use in free agency. And with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement — whatever happens there — we’re going to be in a position where the face of our franchise could change drastically within two or three months. And I think when you surround those possibilities with the development of our young players, I think that we’re in a pretty decent spot right now.”
On his drafting philosophy:
“I’m a firm believer that you don’t draft for position, you don’t end up taking an Araujo because you have a Bosh to play alongside him. You take the best player, you build up your assets. If that player has to be moved for a star, then you can do that.”
On Chris Bosh complaining about not getting the ball when and where he wants it with the Heat:
“OK, I’ll just be straight and say I was thinking, ‘If you wanted all that, why’d you leave?’ He knew when he was leaving that he was going to go to a team where he was going to be the third option. Late in the game, he had that opportunity in Toronto to do that and I’m not sure if I can say 100 percent for sure how much he embraced it. You know, we went to him down the stretch. But if you’ve got LeBron and Wade, I think that throughout they year you have to find ways to mix it up. You have to keep teams off balance — ‘I’m going to give it to LeBron a couple of times, and now I’m going to sneak Dwyane in there, then maybe Chris can get it. And I think that Chris was just being frustrated that he wasn’t getting the basketball or getting the touches that he felt he deserved.”