Raptors talk about offseason, expectations for new year at Media Day

The Toronto Raptors faced reporters for the first time this year as they kicked off their preseason with media day on Monday. (Reuters)
The Toronto Raptors faced reporters for the first time this year as they kicked off their preseason with Media Day on Monday. (Reuters)

The Toronto Raptors had their Media Day on Monday as players, coaches, and front office members took to the podium to answer questions. From Pascal Siakam admitting that he wants to be a top-five player in the league to OG Anunoby revealing that the highlight of his summer was taking walks and watching the sunset, there was plenty to take away from this year's Media Day.

Here are the most noteworthy moments for the Raptors' first day back in the office.

Pascal Siakam wants to be a top-five player in the NBA

When asked about the conversations between himself and head coach Nick Nurse at the end of last season, Siakam opened up about his progression since being in the league. The 28-year-old is aware of his status as an All-Star and All-NBA player, but wants to be mentioned amongst the upper echelon of the association.

“I just felt like it’s time to take another step and it’s always been that,” Siakam told reporters at Raptors media day. “I tried every single game to step up.

I think for me, after the year that I had, I just felt that there’s so much things I could get better on. I’ve been All-NBA, I’ve been an All-Star. I want to be a top-five player in the league. I want to be one of the best, and I'll do everything that I can to work towards that. I just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page and obviously, it’s not about talking about it, it’s about the actions and the things that you do. I'm ready for it. It's time.”

Nick Nurse and Scottie Barnes talk about the latter’s point guard capabilities

One of the reasons why Barnes is one of the most highly-touted young players in the league is his versatility on the offensive end. At 6-foot-7, the Florida native can handle the ball like a guard and play-make with the best of them. Magic Johnson even stated that the Rookie of the Year “has a lot of ‘Showtime’ in him [and] can do everything on the basketball court, much like myself.”

Nurse echoed Johnson’s opinion to the media, saying that Barnes is an astute initiator of the offence and that he will see more reps at point guard this season. Furthermore, it is Barnes’ zeal for the label of "point guard" that will help in his development in the position.

“Scottie, Pascal, all those guys are good initiators of the offence and I would say that [Barnes] will get some opportunities there. He likes it, he’s an organizing, pass-first type of guy and he likes that point guard behind his name. So we’ll see if we can develop that up a bit.”

When asked about taking on more of a ball-handling role this season, Barnes said that, “he’s always been a point guard,” and that Florida State’s promise to let him play that position is why he went there.

“I’ve always been a point guard but I feel like I can do it all,” Barnes explained. “I can play multiple positions and I don’t try to limit myself to one.

But I’ve always seen myself as a point guard and I feel that’s why I went to Florida State. I always saw myself as a point guard but I also see myself playing any position, so it doesn’t really matter because I do it all.”

OG Anunoby discusses the highlights of his summer

Cut from the same cloth as former Raptor and two-time NBA champion Kawhi Leonard, Anunoby is a man of both mystery and few words. When asked about the most enjoyable part of his summer, the 25-year-old said pretty much what one would expect from him — reading a book (which he forgot the name of) and going for walks, which included beautiful sunsets.

“I don’t know,” Anunoby first said when asked about the highlight of his summer. “I had a good summer but the most enjoyable thing, I don’t know, I guess reading a book. I don’t remember the name.

I’ll say going for a walk — nice views, watching the sunset, things like that. It was fun.”

Masai Ujiri thinks the NBA made the right decision regarding Robert Sarver’s suspension

One of the leading stories in the NBA over the past month has been former Suns owner Robert Sarver’s punishment handed down by the league for his misconduct in the workplace. Before deciding to sell the Phoenix Suns and the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, Sarver was suspended for one year and fined $10 million by the NBA. All of this comes nearly one year after the league requested a law firm investigate allegations that the 60-year-old had a history of being racist, misogynistic and hostile during his 20-year tenure as owner.

Ujiri believes that the Sarver ordeal has “ended up in a good place,” and understands that commissioner Adam Silver was in a “tough” situation.

“I saw what the process was and know how difficult these situations are but I think it has ended up in the right place," Ujiri told to the media. "There’s no place for that kind of behaviour and people are going to make mistakes, and sometimes there are consequences for these mistakes. Thankfully, it has ended up in the right place and I know Adam was in a tough situation but I think he handled it well.”

The Raptors kick off their preseason against the Utah Jazz on October 2 in Edmonton. Their first regular season contest takes place on October 19 versus the Cleveland Cavaliers at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

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