Toronto Raptors Plan For The Playoffs
Like many other NBA organizations, the Toronto Raptors used the Las Vegas Summer League as an opportunity for a little team-building and in-house propaganda. For those players not trying to make an NBA team, Vegas is a low pressure environment in which to wave the flag and set some early expectations for next season. The message the Raptors are sending is that it’s time to get back to the playoffs.
“We had dinner last night with a few of the guys and some of the coaches and (making the playoffs) are the expectations,” Landry Fields said. “Coach Casey spoke about that briefly, but that’s our goal for this year and hopefully we get there and anything can happen.
“Speaking with Kyle (Lowry) and with Coach Casey, things are looking up and the whole atmosphere and chemistry that we have going on starting right now is very beneficial for us this season.”
Jonas Valanciunas will be joining the Raptors after he is done competing for Lithuania in the Olympics and the coaching staff has been updating their new players about what their new seven-foot center will bring to the team next season.
“I have heard he is great,” Fields said. “I heard he is a very big body, athletic and can do a lot of things out there. I heard in a few years with a lot of work he could be dangerous so I am looking forward to playing with him.”
Fields talked about leaving the Knicks and the impact of the change on both himself and his friend Jeremy Lin. Neither player knew for sure where they would end this summer and both seem to be pleased with the result.
“We are both happy where we are at,” Fields said. “The organization in New York had to do what they had to do and they did what is best for them, but obviously it worked out in our favor.”
As Fields watched the Knicks and Raptors play in a summer league game, it reminded him of the process he had just gone through, but he had no trouble identifying which team he was cheering for now. Fields is 100 percent behind Toronto.
“It’s been great so far, especially this game,” Fields said. “It’s kind of bitter sweet. You have the Raptors and the Knicks. It’s a lot of fun.”
It took little time for Fields to pick up on the new party-line in Toronto: The Raptors are planning to make the postseason. The Raptors’ management and coaches have been sending out the same message recently as well, albeit with significantly more words of caution attached than Landry gave us, but at least this year’s goal is to make the playoffs, which is an improvement over the past couple of seasons.