Title: How the Raptors’ scout team helps in a playoff series and benefits players in the long run
Date: April 19, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, I wrote about how the Raptors’ depth players help prepare the team for a playoff series by playing the role of the Magic on a “scout team.”
Raptors assistant coach Phil Handy has his arms to the heavens, pleading to nobody in particular.
“Turn it the f— down!” he shouts.
It is about three hours before the team will tip off for Game 2 against the Orlando Magic and Handy has had enough of the game operations staff blaring test runs of sound and song packages. The complaint is not unique to Handy or to this occasion, the leverage is just higher here, drawing Handy’s ire. While the North Side Crew work on their routines at midcourt, he is trying to run six Raptors through a vigorous 3-on-3.
On the surface, it might not seem all that important. The players are the Raptors’ third team, a group from whom only one player, Jodie Meeks, is expected to see rotation time later. During the regular season, pre-game or post-practice scrimmages of this sort unfold at something less than full speed, with players trying to get their work in game situations without overdoing it. The less a player plays, the more they figure to care, with a sizeable Raptors 905 caveat during their season; everyone has a next game to stay healthy for. These early mini-games, though, have become more heated in the playoffs.