Title: The celebration was nice, but it’s time for the Raptors to get back to business
Date: June 18, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors needing to pivot quickly from celebration mode to re-building a champion mode.
The champagne may not even be dry yet. The players certainly aren’t. And yet on Tuesday, the OVO Athletic Centre is once again bustling as the Toronto Raptors get back to work on making sure their second NBA Championship won’t take as long to come by as their first.
It certainly feels strange to turn the book so quickly from a title celebration to the summer at hand. Luckily for players, that’s strictly left to the front office and coaching staff for now. At Monday’s championship parade, Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam more or less promised to stay lit forever, Marc Gasol is facing the hangover of a lifetime and Danny Green is taking the party — and, it seems, that Larry O.B. — to New York. Eventually, the work will return. Offseason programs, skills to improve on, maybe even some minor procedures for teeth and thumbs, all of that is firmly on the horizon, particularly for the team’s younger players. There is a FIBA World Cup for some, including head coach Nick Nurse, and there is Summer League even closer for others. Eventually is the operative word there, and the Raptors themselves urged fans to soak this in as long as they can.
“You guys kill us when we lose, you guys killed us when we got swept two years in a row, so you better celebrate this shit all summer,” Fred VanVleet, one of the few players still sober enough to be trusted with a live microphone and one of the only ones who doesn’t need a celebration to let the real-talk fly, demanded.