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-   -   Raptors thriving under Mitchell's tough-love approach (http://www.raptorsforum.com/f/f5/raptors-thriving-under-mitchells-tough-love-approach-516.html)

Bob Loblaw 01-26-2008 09:00 AM

Raptors thriving under Mitchell's tough-love approach
Very extensive article ... but worth the read
This is just a small portion about Sam Mitchell, the article goes on to talk about a variety of different topics on the Raptors tho
Raptors thriving under Mitchell's tough-love approach


He (Mitchell) is among the most entertaining and articulate people in the league, as well as the reigning coach of the year. But the key with him is to get through the first five minutes of the interview while his eyes roll and he makes fun of the questions he's grown tired of hearing. It's entertaining in a heckling way for everybody except the person who asked the question.

"Whenever y'all ready!" was how Mitchell, arms folded and leaning against the hallway wall, began his pregame meeting Wednesday with the press.

Somebody asked if this was a big game for the Raptors in order to avoid a four-game season sweep by the Celtics.

"No," Mitchell answered. "This is the next game on our schedule. I don't even know how to answer the question."

It's hard to beat somebody four times, the reporter insisted.

"Yeah, it is," Mitchell said. "But we're not looking at that. What, we're going to try harder because it's the fourth time? I think our team tries hard every night."

I truncate his answers to provide the gist. Somebody asked if having two days to practice had helped prepare the Raptors.

"We're trying to work on things that we need to get better at. So we're going to take two days, not worry about us and put all our energy into playing Boston? And then what are we going to do? What are we going to do with the other 40-something games? We had two days of practice, we focused on Boston, and if you happen to win the game is the season over?"

Someone else tried to change the subject by bringing up the good play of Carlos Delfino.

"You pick one player and act like one player has helped us to get to where we are."

But weren't the Raptors surprised by how well Delfino has been playing?

"I don't think we would have traded for him if we didn't think he could play."

Then came a question about T.J. Ford's continuing rehab. What kind of work was he doing in Houston?

"Guys, he's doing a lot of things. He's doing ... there's not enough time for me to sit down and talk about all the things that T.J. Ford is doing down in Houston.

"Basketball things. I would think he's doing a little running. I would think he's doing some shooting. Some ball-handling. Things of that nature. The things that you have to do to play basketball. I don't think he's rock climbing. I don't think he's down swimming off the coast of Galveston. I don't think he's doing anything like that. I think he's doing basketball things."

It was quiet. Mitchell said, "Is there anybody going to ask me something good?"

"Everybody's scared," I told him.

"Good," said Mitchell with the slightest grin. "Good."

Dr. J. Naismith 01-26-2008 11:23 AM

LMAO ... gotta love Sam. He genuinely hates the media. I don't blame for a second too because after watching some of the post game interviews that I have seen on RapsTV, I can't help but shake my head as some of the questions these guys ask him. I'm just more surprised Sam doesn't go all ninja over them. :_3db90682b8ab-ph34r

Acie 01-26-2008 11:24 AM


Afterwards I asked Calderon what Mitchell used to called him.

"I cannot say that for the media," he said in his thick Spanish accent. "It was 'beeeeep rook.'" He made a long beeping noise to emphasize the abundance of syllables.

"In the beginning it was tough, because, you know, we didn't win many games," Calderon said. "He didn't let me practice sometimes. It was hard. But right now I am here because of him too. It was tough on me, but look, everything worked out. I feel really comfortable with him and with my teammates, so it's OK."

So Mitchell made you stronger?

"For sure, for sure," said Calderon. "I'm a better player because I have to wake up every day and work hard just to try to make it so he doesn't call me nothing

Dr. J. Naismith 01-26-2008 11:27 AM


Originally Posted by Jose Calderon
"For sure, for sure," said Calderon. "I'm a better player because I have to wake up every day and work hard just to try to make it so he doesn't call me nothing.

Oh shit, that is priceless. :haha:

moremilk 01-26-2008 07:23 PM

no wonder that andreea doesn't like him ... not everybody wants the military treatment at work. I sure wouldn't like my boss to treat me like a dirtbag, regardless if it's for my own good or not.

MikeToronto 01-26-2008 08:53 PM

I shit on people like Mitchell. I've shat on them all my life, just because I could and also because I like to. It knocks them down a peg or two and serves as an early warning smell for others who can't stand drill sergeants.

Acie 01-27-2008 09:34 AM

He is held in high regard by his former teammates, his former coaches, his current players - I'd say he's doing something right.

moremilk 01-27-2008 11:57 AM

everybody's doing something right ... even isiah drafted david lee. Also, tough drill sergeants are held in high regard by their superiors, and coleagues and friends. Think De Niro in Meet the Parents ... :)

Tough love can put somebody on the right track, but can also destroy a spirit - the stronger the spirit, the likelier. I'm not saying this is the case with Sam/Andreea, but I will NEVER advocate this kind of behavior. I hope Jose's words were misquoted/misunderstood, and they were actually a joke.

Acie 01-27-2008 01:25 PM

Sounds more to me like someone being bitter that despite their predictions Sam would be gone he's now potentially here for another 4 years.

Maybe we should bring Lenny back out of retirement, so he run a country club and give the players hugs and a glass of milk and some cookies when they repeatedly make the same mistakes.

rapsfan087 01-27-2008 02:12 PM

lol, nice article.

fancylad 01-28-2008 08:07 AM

Honestly, the proof is in the pudding. Some of these Raptor players have truly thrived under mitchell. most notably, Bosh and Calderon. Look at them now. They're both league-beaters. You can't say that Mitchell's approach hasn't worked out in Toronto's advantage after seeing the progress that these two have made.

Shit, even Andrea is improving. These last few games he's actually rebounding and playing passable defense. He's far from where we all want him to be, but he's getting there. I can bet you that if Wilkins was still here, Andrea would be hoisting up threes and not much else.

Sam is doing a fine job.

LX 01-28-2008 07:36 PM

Thanks Kidd!

That is one of the best things to come from SI in a long time. Very enjoyable. And it also explains why I have been shat on so much by one sphincterum nosce type. It's a habitual thing I suppose, just like my smartassness is, which maybe makes me the sphincterum nosce. I'll flip a coin.

moremilk 01-28-2008 08:00 PM

and the key word was some. Some have thrived, and others haven't ... Andreea so far hasn't, but his cause is not lost yet. But even so, even if he'd have 100% success rate, just because something works, doesn't make it commendable.

But then again, I'm pretty sure Jose was only half serious. In the end it's not what you say, it's how you say it. Tough love is good as long as it's clearly love involved, as long as players realize that Sam means well, they will probably accept a rougher treatment.

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