Title:Experimental Raptors may leave big camp questions unanswered into season
Date: September 19, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about why the Raptors will enter the season with some open questions they’re happy taking their time to answer, based on a July conversation with Nick Nurse.
When the Toronto Raptors begin their training camp in earnest on Tuesday, there will naturally be a search for answers. There’s a noticeably different feel as the team enters the 2018-19 season. Gone from the team are stalwarts Dwane Casey and DeMar DeRozan, in their place a first-time head coach at the NBA level and the franchise’s most legitimate superstar to date in Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard has yet to speak publicly and Nurse has yet to reveal the specifics of his plan to make everything work. Understandably, then, there are many questions that follow. They range from the standard (who will start?) to the more nuanced (is it still the best bench in the league?) to the existential (who, exactly, is Kawhi Leonard?), and as frustrating as it may be, the answer to many of them might be: We’ll have to wait and see. That might sound obvious — few are drawing conclusions in training camp, anyway — but the Raptors are particularly positioned to hold off on trying to firm up the big-picture answers about how their team will operate.
Most prominently, Leonard will be a tough case to crack. It’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which he and his camp are forthright about his plans for the summer of 2019, likely because they’re still unsure. Early indications are positive, at least, and Raptors president Masai Ujiri sounded confident in the city’s and organization’s ability to impress Leonard at a breakfast on Tuesday for his Giants of Africa charity.
“He is happy. From what everybody has told me, he is healthy,” Ujiri said. “Everything to me — he is determined and seems in the right frame of mind. You will be hearing from him shortly. I think there is a fire inside of him and we are all excited about that.”