You’ve just won the NBA championship… Where do you go from there? To Vegas, of course. It would be a reasonable expectation that the team would be resting easy and taking advantage of Sin City, but instead they quietly and calmly got back to work miles away from the strip. 

The Toronto Raptors summer league squad assembled in Del Sol High School gym and got to work. Jordan Loyd, fan favorite and star for the 905 Raptors, sat down with The Painted Lines Wednesday night to discuss leadership and his goals for the coming tournament in Las Vegas. Loyd will turn 26 before training camp, but put up an impressive stat line of 22/6/6 for the 905 Raptors. 

Coach Jon Goodwilie

So what does success look like for a summer league team just weeks after the big club wins a championship? “We’ve got a bunch of guys that have been in our program, we are going to give them an opportunity to develop and take on more of a role.” But it’s not just about their individual play, according to  Goodwillie. They are looking for them to grow “in terms of leadership, being more vocal and being a teacher on the floor.” 

“Obviously it’s a good time for evaluation as well,” continued the first time head coach. Goodwillie has been in the Raptors program for many years, officially as video coordinator but his responsibilities have him behind Nick Nurse’s bench at games. His nomination for summer league head coach is an extension of Masai Ujiri’s philosophy of internal growth and development for staff as well as on court talent. 

“Overall professionalism is important to us.” When asked what the archetype of a Toronto Raptor looks like, Jon said, “Physically there isn’t one type, but competitiveness is important to us. When they are on the floor in practice, they want to win the drill, the possession, they want to win the quarter, they want to win the game.” 

Summer Homework

A player will get a set of assignments between the end of summer league and training camps in the fall. “We treat the summer fairly seriously, in terms of encouraging players in the areas they need to improve upon, as well as potential needs we will have from them in the future.” According to the coach, the team stays in contact with players via text to check in on their progress towards their goals. 

So while the province of Ontario breathes easy after winning their first NBA championship, the talent development process continues in the desert of Las Vegas.