Fred VanVleet thinks it is time for the Toronto Raptors to maneuver on from their 2019 NBA championship. Not essentially a wholesale personnel change, however come to grips with the truth that they seem to be a totally different group now.
VanVleet spoke frankly about what went flawed with the Raptors’ season on Thursday, a day after Toronto was eradicated from the NBA’s post-season by a 109-105 play-in loss to the Chicago Bulls.
“I feel we simply received to seek out one other id, no matter that’s,” mentioned VanVleet, including that the group has expertise and the precise defensive schemes, however these performs have to be higher executed. “I feel for us the satan goes to be within the particulars and I feel that we have now to rep that and construct that.
“We cannot attempt to do this by osmosis and attempt to carry over a championship from 4 years in the past and anticipate so as to add that to a bunch that we have now now.”
VanVleet was one in every of a number of gamers who spoke on Thursday as they’d debriefings with head coach Nick Nurse, Toronto’s entrance workplace and the group’s medical workers.
Most of the Raptors have been nonetheless processing the play-in loss from the night time earlier than, which noticed Toronto cough up an 18-point lead and shoot solely 50 per cent from the free-throw line, after they made it to the OVO Centre’s media centre.
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But VanVleet, probably the most skilled leaders in Toronto’s locker room, already had a plan for the way the Raptors might recalibrate for the 2023-24 marketing campaign.
“You’ve received to start out constructing each single element offensively and defensively so whenever you get all the way down to a state of affairs the place it’s essential win a sport, these issues present,” mentioned VanVleet. “As a bunch, as gamers, that’s my focus.
“Get our habits again proper and our particulars again proper and all the pieces else will fall in place accordingly after that.”
Head coach Nick Nurse and each participant who spoke with media acknowledged that consistency was an issue, not simply in opposition to the Bulls, however all season. The root reason for that erratic play wasn’t instantly obvious, nonetheless.
“I feel that we began gradual, like means too gradual, and as soon as we picked it up we have been already 4, 5, six video games underneath .500,” mentioned Nurse. “I feel that beginning in January the group began to take a little bit of a shift in the precise path and including [centre Jakob Poeltl via trade on Feb. 9] modified the complexion lots.
“So it was actually like virtually three totally different phases of the season.”
‘I did not sleep in any respect final night time’
Pascal Siakam, the Raptors’ lone all-star this season, averaged 24.2 factors, 7.8 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per sport. When requested what went flawed this season, Siakam mused that it was a great query, however one he did not have a solution to.
“I did not sleep in any respect final night time, however I could not inform you what I used to be considering,” mentioned Siakam. “But I additionally wasn’t actually considering of something. I do not know if that is sensible. It was lots.
“We weren’t constant sufficient as a group. We had a variety of ups and downs. Win three video games right here, lose three video games there. It wasn’t sufficient consistency to have the ability to win on this league, a much-improved league, I might say, particularly within the East.”
There are a number of questions floating round Toronto heading into this summer time.
Nurse denied any friction with group president Masai Ujiri on Thursday, though there had been media hypothesis for weeks he might have coached his final season with the Raptors.
“My job is to make the most effective choices for this group. I’ve all the time believed that from Day 1 and I nonetheless imagine that 10 years later,” mentioned Nurse, whose contract expires after subsequent season. “When you sit again and have a look at it, all choices must be made for what’s finest for the group.”
Poeltl will turn out to be a free agent this summer time, whereas VanVleet, taking pictures guard Gary Trent Jr., and small ahead Otto Porter Jr., have participant choices they’ll train.
“I’ll take a pair days, couple weeks,” mentioned VanVleet on whether or not he’ll decide out or not. “I do not assume there’s a lot rush to leap into a choice a technique or one other.”
Trent additionally mentioned he needed to take time to mirror on the season earlier than making any choices about staying in Toronto.
“I’ve not come to phrases with that but,” he mentioned. “Obviously, I’ll sit down and discuss to my group and we’ll go in and see how all the pieces performs out.”