Toronto Raptors Rumors
After his second All-Star season and strong play in the deepest playoff push in Raptors history — he averaged 23 points a game and shot 50 percent from the field — DeRozan was stunned by where he was rated by major media outlets. ESPN’s #NBArank had DeRozan at 30th. The Washington Post ranked him 45th. Sports Illustrated had him at 46th. “I think it’s B.S.” DeRozan said. “I’m willing to line up against anyone in the league, and it will be toe-to-toe until the end. I believe I’ve proved that. You put in so much work, it’s almost sickening. I watch everything, I read everything. I’ve always been a guy who wants to prove somebody wrong. I wouldn’t rub it in anyone’s face, but that’s my gratification. I’ve seen so many guys’ work ethic, and I know it doesn’t come close to what I’m putting myself through. When you see those rankings, it makes you want to go out and prove it.”
In his early teen years, DeRozan began studying every Bryant move. At age 16, he met Bryant at a summer run at Loyola Marymount, and Bryant quickly took to him, offering his brand of vicious advice when they’d see each other. DeRozan swallowed it whole. “Kobe had an aura around him when he was on the court; he intimidated all of us. I was inside a video game,” DeRozan said. “I’d watched him growing up. I watched Kobe do everything. His shot. His footwork. How he works in the post. Everything growing up was Kobe. I tried to emulate the tough shots he took, his pump fake. There’s nothing you can show me that Kobe has done on a court that I don’t know about or have tried. I practice almost all of them.”
It can be a person, a book, a piece of clothing (is this what The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants was about?), a lucky charm — again, it can be just about anything. It can make bad times make a little more sense. This is one of those stories. This is a story about Jared Sullinger and his scooter. “I just like to scoot,” Sullinger, the injured Raptors forward, said on Thursday. “I like to scoot and annoy people. I do what I do.”
In reality, it is a product from Knee Walkers Canada. And although Sullinger was not originally thrilled by the idea of being the injured new guy riding around on a scooter, he quickly warmed to it. “Yeah, that’s pretty much all it was: having fun in a shitty situation, honestly,” Sullinger said. “It was user-friendly, pretty user-friendly. You just put your leg up and scoot and keep your balance. Don’t lean one way, or else you’re going to be flying.”
Sullinger, by nature, seems to be something of a feces-disturber. While doing the interview for this story, he repeatedly tapped Raptors travel manager Kevin DiPietro in the ribs with one of his crutches while DiPietro was trying to have a separate conversation. Sullinger enjoys — all in good fun, of course — agitating his teammates even more. He said his main targets were Patrick Patterson, Terrence Ross and Norman Powell, the players he talks to most on the team. He would scoot by them frequently, just to get reactions. Sullinger’s favourite target was Kyle Lowry, who “hated when I was just scooting around for no reason.” Lowry frequently told Sullinger to stop rolling around in his general vicinity.