NBA.com: What do you remember about Jerry Krause? Wayne Embry: He was a hard worker. Whether it be his work in the NBA or his work in baseball. Very much attended to detail, too. He was, I would think for his time, innovative in his approach, looking for things other people may not have thought to look for. Players’ extended family, that sort of thing. He was really dedicated to what he did.
Storyline: Jerry Krause Death
NBA.com: That’s right. In January 1973, a house that Abdul-Jabbar owned in D.C. was targeted in a home invasion. [Terrorists murdered several people in an attack on the player’s spiritual teacher Hamaas Abdul Khaalis, a rival of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. Abdul-Jabbar was not present at the time.] WE: That took Washington out, so it got down to the Lakers or the Knicks. We did everything we could do to talk him out of wanting to be traded. But he said, “Nope. If you don’t, I’ll become a free agent or I’ll sign with the ABA.” Of course we didn’t want that to happen. So we decided to keep it quiet. “Let’s not go public until we have a deal.”
And when I told Don Nelson – my roommate in Boston – that he was going to take over, he said “I’m not ready to coach.” I told him, “Nellie, you’re the coach. So let’s go for it.” He grew with the team and became obviously a Hall of Fame coach. That’s the reward, when you make decisions like that and they turn out well. That’s the pleasure I get now in an advisory capacity with Toronto. I tell the team when I speak to them before the season, my greatest joy is seeing others succeed.
Lowry is older than DeRozan, and conventional wisdom would suggest hanging on to the younger of the two stars. But over the last three postseasons, the Raptors perform better when Lowry is on the floor without DeRozan. There are variables, such as opponents’ lineups and game situations, that play a role in that net rating differential, but it’s been a consistent-enough trend that we can safely say the Raptors’ postseason offense sputters with just DeRozan on the floor. Here’s the data, via NBA Wowy:
How have you adjusted to Toronto, and what do you think of the city? Fred VanVleet: I love it. It’s been great. It’s cold, but I grew up just outside of Chicago so I’m fine with that. The city is great and I love the people. And being an NBA player here, it’s crazy the attention you get – even as an undrafted rookie (laughs). Trying to get my friends and family here was a bit of a hassle at first, but other than that, I love everything about it. I feel like they’ve embraced me here.
Do you also have a desire to show teams that they were wrong for passing on you? Fred VanVleet: Honestly, I’m not focused on that. I’ve always been someone that focuses on the love more than the hate. I’m trying to make Toronto feel good about taking a chance on me rather than make other teams feel bad; that’s how I see it. There’s some bitterness and a revenge factor when you go up against certain teams that passed on you, but I know that I’m lucky to have an organization that gave me an opportunity and I’m trying to prove them right. I want to make them look smart for taking a risk on me. That’s the way I approach it.