For a team that has built an ethos around hard work when no one else is watching and not giving opposing teams anything to hold onto with flamboyant quotes, Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors uncorked quite a few noisemaking quotes during their annual Media Day exercises.
While many of the big names gave fairly boilerplate responses when asked about the team and their ability to become champions in the next few years, there were some lines that took Raptors nation by surprise on Monday morning. Ujiri started the festivities by finally addressing the Kevin Durant trade rumors.
After that, coach Nick Nurse and all five of the Raptors’ projected starters managed to take their turns at the podium. Scottie Barnes pining for more point guard work, Fred VanVleet updating us on extension talks, and O.G. Anunoby’s trademark stonefaced responses comprised most of the afternoon.
Fans who weren’t able to catch most of the Media Day interviews should take a look back at these intriguing quotes from some of the biggest names on the team. Nurse’s dryness and Pascal Siakam’s confidence gave us some real gems this Media Day.
3 terrific Toronto Raptors quotes from Media Day.
3. Masai Ujiri hypes up the non-guarantees
Ujiri is currently hosting a parade of non-guaranteed contracts, a few of which will end up on the Raptors’ final roster. While many commentators and fans are assuming that whoever sneaks onto the team is just going to be a garden variety backup, Ujiri has much higher hopes for them.
Ujiri made special mention of VanVleet and his journey to stardom in the NBA. It started off as an undrafted free agent who worked his way from someone at the end of the bench to a player who has become indispensable. Will a player like Dalano Banton or Justin Champagnie follow suit?
Masai Ujiri is motivating the Toronto Raptors.
In addition to Banton, Champagnie, and rookie Gabe Brown, Toronto is playing host to a trio of experienced veterans in Josh Jackson, Juancho Hernangomez, and DJ Wilson. Toronto chose to part ways with some fan favorites in Yuta Watanabe and Jalen Harris to bring these guys in.
Ujiri wouldn’t do that unless he had an idea that one of these players has the facilities to become a long-term bench contributor. Being as good as VanVleet is a very tall task for this bunch to aspire towards, but there are some solid bench gunners in that group.