Title: Raptor Recalibration, Game 1: Pre-switch pick-and-roll, Bucks packing paint, Lowry relocation threes and more
Date: May 16, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, my playoff day-after playoff column looked at a tough Game 1 loss for the Raptors against the Bucks, with some areas for improvement that lend optimism tfor a potential bounce-back.
MILWAUKEE — I’m going to share a bit of an embarrassing personal story.
The first time I was ever credentialed press at the NBA level was on Raptors Media Day in 2014. After spending most of my time speaking to the Will Cherrys, Jordan Hamiltons and Greg Stiemsmas of the team (painfully on-brand, I realize) and then upgrading to Landry Fields, I thought I should make the most of the opportunity and ask Masai Ujiri a question when his scrum came.
The Raptors had drafted Bruno Caboclo earlier that year. For a couple of seasons, I’d been writing at Raptors Republic about my frustration that the Raptors weren’t an early D-League adopter under Bryan Colangelo. Now, here was this prospect who would very obviously need that infrastructure, and the Raptors were a year away from Raptors 905 existing. And so I asked if the Raptors regretted not already having a D-League franchise installed.
Ujiri did not enjoy my phrasing.
“We don’t use the word regret. I don’t regret anything,” he said.
There’s a chance I’m paraphrasing here five years later, but I doubt it. It stuck with me, both because I’d perturbed the general manager in my first opportunity and because in that moment, it revealed a lot about Ujiri’s character and personality, which we were still just learning. I try not to use the word regret as freely now, knowing that it’s not in the personal vocabulary of the strong of conviction. One of my younger brothers even has “no regrets” tattooed across his knuckles.
And so I will lead off today’s recalibration by suggesting that the Raptors will probably rue letting Game 1 slip away on the road.