Even those Toronto Raptors fans and general NBA consumers who are extremely casual in their devotion to the game had to have seen the now-infamous Draymond Green video. The Golden State Warriors veteran clocked teammate Jordan Poole in the face during a heated practice argument.
While the Raptors do have questions to answer about the rotation and back half of the roster, they can go into the season with the knowledge that there is no Hatfield and McCoy-esque rivalry between two warring factions on their team. Throughout the last decade, Toronto has sailed through very calm seas.
Players like Fred VanVleet have played a big part in creating a culture and environment where incidents like these never seem to sprout up. VanVleet gave credit to Masai Ujiri and the front office, as the way the Raptors do business is as sterling as you’ll find in the modern NBA.
“I think you have to give credit to management and coaching staff,” said VanVleet, via the Toronto Star. “They have their hands full in terms of putting together a locker room that works before we even step on the court. I think we have done a good job of building that back up.”
The Toronto Raptors have a great culture, excellent chemistry.
This is not a perfect or infallible culture. We all remember the Pascal Siakam/Nick Nurse dust-up in the Tampa bubble. Having said that, the fact Toronto has generally been regarded as one of the more stable and unified organizations in the league is a testament to Ujiri and the code of conduct that permeates the building.
While winning does cure everything on a day-to-day basis, the punch-heavy Warriors are the only team that has won more in the last 10 years than Toronto. Even the best of teams can have slip-ups from time to time, making the Raptors’ unique bond even more impressive.
With leaders like Kyle Lowry and VanVleet, who are able to be vocal and commanding without coming off as tyrannical or leading via fear, Toronto has successfully juggled the twin ideals of getting the best players available and making sure that emotions and conflict don’t derail a season.
Considering how messy things got at times in the pre-Ujiri era, the elder statespeople of this franchise can attest to the fact that dysfunction behind the scenes is assuredly going to bleed into their performances on the court. Even though well-run teams like the Warriors have slip-ups, the Raptors have largely avoided such chaos.