Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet, one of just three holdovers from Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan era, is trying to lead a rebuilding Raptors squad much the same way DeRozan did alongside Kyle Lowry years ago, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic.
DeRozan paid his first visit to his old club as a Bull, proving that he remains an absolutely clutch scorer to close out games. The Bulls would go on to win, 111-108.
“This is a new dynamic,” DeRozan said of how VanVleet has evolved to become the Raptors’ leader. “The conversations I have with Fred now, (leading a rebuilding team) is a new dynamic in your career that you have to figure out. It’s tough. But every great player goes through it. There’s not too many guys that just have a polished career. It’s another obstacle you can learn from and build on and turn you into a much better player than you even knew you had in you.”
There’s more out of Toronto:
- The current Raptors ownership group, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, has a convoluted structure, but it has ultimately enabled team president Masai Ujiri to run the organization as he sees fit, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. The various factions of the ownership group reportedly disagreed on the terms of Ujiri’s new contract, but that deal eventually got done earlier this year.
- Raptors head coach Nick Nurse explained the lack of playing time for guard Malachi Flynn, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN (Twitter link). “There’s a Fred and there’s a Goran (Dragić) and we’ve given (rookie Dalano Banton) a run,” Nurse said. “And Dalano’s the one you should probably be asking me about. He’s played outstanding every minute he’s been out there. You guys should be all over me for not playing him more.” It sounds like it could be an uphill battle for Flynn to crack the club’s point guard rotation.
- Injured Raptors forward Pascal Siakam was a full participant in the team’s practice today, and will join the club’s NBAGL affiliate, Raptors 905, to continue to work off the rust in their training camp, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN (via Twitter). Siakam has missed the team’s first three games with a shoulder injury. Small forward Yuta Watanabe also practiced with Toronto today and is considered to be nearing a return for the team, tweets Michael Grange of Sportsnet. Grange adds that Siakam might be on track to rejoin Toronto earlier than the initially-anticipated target date of mid-to-late November.