You could say that Sam Mitchell had a slightly tumultuous season in his head coaching debut last year. Between players who didn't want to play for the team (yes Mr. Carter, we're looking at you), to players who didn't know if they wanted to ever play in the league again (that would be you Mr. Alston), Mitchell faced more adversity then a pro-choice bill in Bush's cabinet. And while many of these same points of adversity still play for the team, Mitchell admits he made some mistakes and this year those same issues will not reappear.
Mitchell also discussed next week's training camp and what role he feels various players will fill.
It looks like Mitchell will be relying heavily on vets Morris Peterson, Jalen Rose and even third year player Chris Bosh for leadership and example setting. And what about Rafer? Mitchell explained in yesterday's pre-camp press conference that he will not "treat anyone any different" and that he "expects every player to be professional and come out and do their job according to their position."
One thing's for sure, it's going to be an interesting ride this season. The critics have been out in full force since the name Charlie Villanueva fell from David Stern's lips at June's draft. In fact ESPN has extended it's Toronto Love-in that Screamin' Steven A. Smith started at the draft to Mark Stein's current ESPN.com power rankings in which he has the Raptors ranked as THE WORST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE going into the pre-season. Even a usually optimistic John Hollinger from ESPN.com had this to say in response to a fan's question concerning the Raptors' prospects this season:
Brad (Toronto Ontario): John, I know the Raptors aren't going to be much this season as they go with a youth movement, but do you think they're on the right track to be competitive down the road?
John Hollinger: Honestly, I don't think they even know where the track is, much less if its the right one or not. But keep an eye on Villanueva, Graham and Calderon. That should tell you how close they are to respectability.
Yikes. This is one Raptors' fan however who thinks all this negative press is going to be a blessing in disguise. There's no way this team is worse then teams like Charlotte and New Orleans and increasing reports like this is going to make this one very hungry and vengeful Raptors' squad out to "shock the world."