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January 15, 2015 Updates

That’s a long time from now, but a great deal of what the Raptors are building is being constructed with Wiggins in mind. First off, there’s the team’s $30-million standalone practice facility on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition. It’s a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses thing – few NBA teams still practice at their arena, as the Raptors do. Toronto Globe & Mail

His return on Wednesday night, exactly 47 days after he last played, was met with the expected excitement from the Air Canada Centre fan base, which gave him a standing ovation as he was announced with the Raptors’ starting five and then again when he got his first touch in the game. DeRozan wound up playing just under 29 minutes in the Raptors’ 100-84 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, contributing a team-high 20 points to the cause on 9-of-14 shooting. The return was seamless, almost effortless, or at least DeRozan made it look that way. “I just wanted to stay level-headed,” he said after the game. “Treat it like a normal game, as I normally would. Not get too high. I understood I still had to go out and play and not do too much. I just wanted to play within the rhythm of the game.” Toronto Sun

January 13, 2015 Updates
January 12, 2015 Updates

Now, though, coaches and leading edge researchers are questioning the wisdom of the morning shootaround: As a coaching tool, it’s often redundant; it also disrupts much-needed sleep. “I was always raised to get eight hours of sleep as much as you could but in this league, it’s almost from a player’s standpoint, with travel. So we have to find the rest as many places as we possibly can,” said Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, who began slowly eliminating morning shootaround’s from his team’s schedule two seasons ago. “We’re a little bit ahead of the curve . . . I was from the old school for a long time, but I’ve seen the benefits of having the later shootarounds,” said Casey. Toronto Star

For players whose bodies take a pounding game in and game out over the course of an 82-game season, and who criss-cross the continent on road trips, the extra few hours of sleep is very much welcomed, says Raptors veteran Chuck Hayes. Often times, teams will have just landed the evening before a game, or have played the first leg of a back to back. Players have also been known to enjoy the nightlife. But whatever reason they’ve been up late, Hayes says the extra time snoozing instead of being at a morning shootaround is a big help. “Younger guys might want to go out, but it’s always better to get more sleep,” said Hayes. Toronto Star

January 7, 2015 Updates
January 6, 2015 Updates

“You read about it and hear about the East, the East, the East,” Ujiri says. “And you have to think about it sometimes. Is this a rare time? Is this period — the next year or two — something we have to take advantage of?” Would the Raptors deal their first-rounder in exchange for someone who could help today — an extra dose of rim protection for a bottom-10 defense, a hybrid forward, or some scoring juice to slot ahead of Amir Johnson at power forward? “That’s a question I can’t answer,” Ujiri says. “It depends on what’s there. But I won’t make decisions that are going to shorten our growth and help us only this year.” Grantland

Bringing back just one would leave the Raptors with something between $8 million and $10 million in space — not enough to attract a star with the league swimming in cap room and handing out fat deals in anticipation of new TV revenue. Ujiri treasures familiarity, but his track record suggests he’s unafraid to shake things up. “We favor building with our own players because we’ve gotten to know them,” Ujiri says. “And then adding accordingly.” Grantland

“We made the Rudy trade to see where we would be,” says Masai Ujiri, the team’s GM. “Are we gonna break it all down? That’s where luck comes in. We all walk around thinking we’re geniuses, but in this business, you need that Lady Luck.” Ujiri never imagined then that the Raptors would be battling for the East’s no. 1 seed midway through this season. “I don’t think anybody saw it coming.” Lowry agrees. “Not in my wildest dreams,” he says. Grantland

The Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry and the Houston Rockets' James Harden on Monday were named the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in December. Lowry ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference in scoring (22.3 ppg) and second assists (8.9 apg), as the Raptors went 11-4 to remain comfortably atop the Atlantic Division. He posted six point-assist double-doubles, the third most in the NBA in December. He scored at least 30 points in three contests, and averaged 25.8 points in nine road games. He was named the Eastern Conference's Player of the Week after averaging 29.3 points and 8.7 assists over three games from Dec. 1-7. He also scored a career-high 39 points in a 123-104 win at Utah on Dec. 3. NBA.com

January 5, 2015 Updates

Raptors coach Dwane Casey said Sunday night it’s that impossible to define the characteristic that made the six-foot-two Brampton product so wanted. “He has that Pied Piper mentality,” Casey said of Ennis. “(He’s) not the most talented of all the point guards I’ve seen over the years, but just has that knack of getting where he wants to go, of moving the ball (and), like any other young kid, he’s got to get better defensively. “I don’t know what’s going on here, but that was our view if him at that time.” Toronto Star

January 3, 2015 Updates


Nasty break-up and all, Air Canada is the best thing that ever happened to the Toronto Raptors.


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