Raptors Media Day: Some First Impressions

There was a ton of information to sort through from Media Day as you might imagine.  So this will be a bit of an overview with some general impressions. Will get into specifics in the coming days on what individuals had to say. This was my first media day as I start my fourth season of access with the Toronto Raptors. In the past I had been a spectator from home just like all of you. I felt it would be good to be at this Media Day with the general excitement for this upcoming Raptors’ season.

It was great to see familiar faces like Amir Johnson, DeMar DeRozan and others. That said there was a ton of new faces as well with Kyle Lowry, Landry Fields, Jonas Valanciunas and others. The mood was upbeat from everyone and there seemed to be a lot of hope and expectations for this group. Sure that is likely the same in 29 other NBA cities and most certainly in the other 4 markets that make up the Atlantic Division. It had a different feel to it from in the past. A real sense of excitement on the direction this team is heading this season.  DeMar DeRozan called this the most talented group he has been a part of since being here. Bryan Colangelo compared the group to the one he had in his first season in Toronto back in 2006.

The Raptors have a new look and even though they won’t say it yet a new starting point guard. The comments of all were respectful to Jose Calderon and showed him a lot of respect. Dwane Casey did imply a decision on his point guard situation would be coming soon. Questions on the topic of competition versus conflict were common.  It is early days yet, but for a team that should have a lot of battles for minutes, everyone seemed to genuinely get along. The fact they have been working out together for almost a month in some cases showed.

Landry Fields seemed like he was everywhere at times. Fields was jumping into photos that he wasn’t even suppose to be in, and just being very out going and engaging.  While he is very light in nature Colangelo sees him as a glue guy that can help this team. Something that Fields also felt he could bring to the table.

Jonas was on hand as well. Both Colangelo and Casey stressed no desire to rush him back from his noted calf injury. Casey did suggest that Jonas is very anxious to get back on the floor. He was also pretty nervous in his first meeting with the media. Not that he is afraid of the attention more just of having to speak in a different language. He was asked what NBA player he most looks forward to playing. His answer was Dwight Howard. Why is that? Jonas said in a matter of fact way that he is the best. That little statement shows you and tells you a lot on what the goals of this young man are. Both Casey and Colangelo felt that once he was healthy that he will play minutes for this team. No one is declaring him the starter or anything though.

Like I said, this is just an overview will get into more details in the coming days. What was nice about today was it was business as usual. Last Season at this time no one knew when or if the NBA season would be taking place. This year it was business as usual and the Raptors have a lot higher expectations both internally and externally. This is a good thing.

Aside from sore arms and dropping a tape recorder once I would say things went fairly smoothly. I tried my best to be a photographer/Interviewer. It is really a day where you see a lot of faces you haven’t seen in awhile and it has a very first day of school feeling about it.

I don’t think anything anyone said today will change my personal opinion on the Raptors outlook. It did leave an impression that this team has goals of making the post-season. This could be very difficult. Still they believe that they can. The work towards making believers in that will start tomorrow in Halifax.

If there was a general theme it was competition but in it’s most positive aspects. Will see how that plays when the results of that materialize in the form of roles and playing time. 

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