Title: Potential rotating Raptors starters a mark of identity, not indecision
Date: October 17, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the team’s intention to mix up their starting lineup frequently and why that’s a positive sign about their 2018-19 mentality in general.
Across the back of every seat at the Scotiabank Arena is a red T-shirt with “We The North” written in black. They are an annual giveaway for home openers, Drake Nights, and playoff games. Hours ahead of the first Toronto Raptors home game of the 2018-19 season and the first since their building was renamed, nearly everything is in place from a game operations perspective. The final touches will be made when the Cleveland Cavaliers finish their shootaround. The Dance Pak — now gender diverse — will run through rehearsal and, eventually, Raptors will return for pregame warmup a few hours out from tip off.
It is the season opener, but it is already business as usual.
Except for the team responsible for the introductory hype video. Before the ball is rolled in officially, a new package will introduce this version of the Raptors and get the sell-out crowd fired up for Game 1. It will be sharp, well-produced, accompanied by some popular song, probably Drake. As it ends, the voice of Mark “Strizzy” Strong will yell out, “Basketball fans…,” and announce, “the starters for your Toronto Raptors.”
There are plenty of curiosities about this version of the Raptors, questions that won’t be answered for some time, goals that are immeasurable until April, maybe June. The names that come out of Strizzy’s mouth are the most immediate of these unknowns. He can be sure he’ll be introducing Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard and Nick Nurse. The other three will be some combination of Danny Green, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas. Strizzy’s script may change again Friday when the Boston Celtics visit. It might change nightly. If anyone knew as of shootaround who he’d be introducing Wednesday night, they weren’t telling.