LOS ANGELES — Moments like the one Fred VanVleet had on Wednesday night don’t materialize out of nowhere. It’s not like the normally cool, calm, and calculated Toronto Raptors point guard went to work on Wednesday night with his club desperate for a win against an equally desperate Los Angeles Clippers team and decided it was the right time to put NBA officiating on blast to a degree it’s hard to remember ever hearing.
It wasn’t ‘the refs sucked and I’m really mad’ that we get from players and coaches on almost any given night. By definition, a referee’s job is to make one team unhappy every time they blow their whistle, and people being people and games being games, there are an infinite combination of ways for referees to make teams, players, coaches, and crowds mad. It’s part of the fun.
But VanVleet was touching on something deeper. He made a point about Ben Taylor — the referee who he called out harshly, crudely and by name — having given him most of the career-high eight technical fouls he’s had this season, including one in the third quarter against the Clippers.
Turns out VanVleet was correct, Taylor was on the job in five of the eight games the Raptors point guard was T-d up, and for his only career ejection. Put another way: Taylor has drawn the Raptors six times this season and VanVleet has gotten five technicals and been kicked out once. In VanVleet’s other 49 games he’s gotten three technicals and no ejections.
Which for VanVleet is all the proof he needs that something is going on, the floor is not level, the sense of fairness isn’t there. Did it justify his profanity-laced takedown?
Well, if VanVleet has any regrets it’s the ‘how’ of what he did, not the ‘what,’ even if he was fined $30,000 by the NBA for his comments.
“It’s hard to go back. I mean it is what it is, it came out authentic, it came out in real-time,” he said of his comments, which almost instantly went viral and got the Raptors discussed at length on the major U.S. sports news and talk platforms Thursday, which happens only rarely. “I wouldn’t have done that if I felt like I had another option or another outlet, I felt like I’ve exhausted my options this season on many different occasions. It was just one of those things. I’m human. You’ll see me make mistakes in real-time and make things that are not always perfect. Little unprofessional for my standard so it’s unfortunate, it happened, gotta live and learn.”
What we learned is that players — and VanVleet’s said he’s received plenty of support from peers around the league — really believe that there are different standards that are unfairly applied.
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse isn’t any different.
“I think he certainly was speaking from the heart,” Nurse said Thursday with regard to VanVleet. “I think that you… would probably agree with most of what he said. Those are my thoughts on it.”
It’s not that important whether anyone else agrees with what VanVleet said, it’s that you won’t find anyone within the Raptors organization who feels any differently. Part of that is the tendency to have the back of a longstanding member of the team, but you don’t have to scratch very deeply before you can hear some version of: ‘It’s a superstar’s league and it’s set up for certain teams to succeed as a result.’
It’s a belief as old as dirt: That in a league set up for profit the benefit of the doubt always goes to the team or player that can help maximize that earning potential for the league.
If you buy into it everything looks like the tail end of a conspiracy. The problem is that all that trying to disprove it does is convince the true believers to burrow deeper.
There is also a layer of frustration that refs — for all the seeming accountability measures in place, from video reviews to last-two-minute reports to constant game-to-game scrutiny — don’t face the same consequences for a mistake made or a job poorly done.
Raptors officials still point to a missed call in Game 1 of the second round of the playoffs in 2018 as one of the franchise’s true ‘sliding door’ moments. With just over a minute left Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers swing his elbow wildly and caught then-Raptor DeMar DeRozan on the jaw. Had it been called as a flagrant foul — and it said it should have been in the last two-minute report after the game — the Raptors would have had two free throws and the ball, up two with 71 seconds left. If DeRozan makes both shots they’re up four and have a chance to push the lead even further. They may well have won the game instead of losing in overtime. The series could have been entirely different. But instead Toronto was swept, precipitating then head coach Dwane Casey being fired and DeRozan being traded. Lives changed, but not for the officials who made the wrong call.
These examples exist everywhere and in every game. Normal people shrug and accept that hey, things happen. People engaged in professional sports for a living have a hard time letting moments like that go.
Which — in the larger context — is where VanVleet’s outburst came from. It had been building this week — this season — and was informed by the ironclad belief internally that the Raptors don’t get the respect they deserve. Arguably it’s been building for years.
That’s what made VanVleet’s brief but powerful statement so interesting; in his own way, he touched on all of those things. Whether it makes sense or not, or whether it is healthy or useful to harbour those kinds of feelings is another matter. The larger point is they exist.
VanVleet graciously entertained a number of questions the morning after the night before as the Raptors practiced at UCLA prior to another crucial-for-both-teams matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
On why he thinks this season he’s had more challenges with the referees than others he allowed that hey, playing on a team with a losing record that has fallen short of initial expectations might have something to do with it.
“I’m sure it doesn’t help. I’m sure it doesn’t help,” he said. “Our margin is small this year. Sometimes you’ve got to find ways to overcome it and find ways to win. I don’t want this to become a distraction any more than it already has. We have our own business to worry about. We’ve got to play better. I got to play better. I’m always going to take responsibility for that. It is what it is at this point.”
And he also said that the way the league’s lack of tolerance — as expressed by what officials deem worthy of a technical foul or not — has been a driving force behind his frustration and is shared by his peers.
“I think I am speaking for a lot of guys,” he said. “Obviously I was frustrated, emotional but there’s a lot of people that feel that way. Hopefully going forward we see some change for the better for the game, know what I mean? It’s really just about the betterment of the game.”
Did Scott Foster really need to eject Scottie Barnes in the final minute of the Raptors’ loss to Denver for saying something that — based on the reactions of the other officials at least — only Foster could hear?
Did VanVleet really need to get a technical for encouraging his teammates — granted in a stage whisper that Taylor couldn’t help hearing — to “play through the bulls–t?”
Presumably, the league wants games that are played hard and with great emotional investment. Fans certainly do. Being ‘all-in’ and then having to account for every emotion, outburst and gesture is a tall order. Lines will get crossed inevitably, but why should the referees move them closer than they need to be?
“I get it. I’m not the easiest guy to deal with on the court at all times, it takes a lot of passion, and energy and fire for me, a guy at my size to even be on the court competing at a high level,” said VanVleet, a six-foot undrafted point guard who became an all-star and in his seventh season. “Maybe it doesn’t come across the best at all times, I get that, but I certainly wasn’t trying to get thrown out in a game that we needed; so it just built up and built up and we lost, and you know, it was tough.”
“… [But] I think [the league] gave them more leeway on the officiating and the sportsmanship and the unsportsmanlike conduct where they have more jurisdiction to call techs for smaller things — clapping at the official, throwing the ball off the stanchion, certain things they’re trying to clean up,” VanVleet added. “Again, you’ve got to have a feel and a dynamic. Each guy is going to be different. I’ve been on the wrong side of this one a couple times. Now I’ve got to be able to adjust and not let my emotions get the best of me.”
The Raptors need to adjust too. There is another game Friday night, a crucial one for a pair of ninth-place teams, but only one from the NBA’s most glamourous market. The calls likely won’t always go Toronto’s way, and — if you buy into the ‘big franchise/superstar’ theory — they almost certainly won’t.
The Raptors’ job — and VanVleet’s now that he’s cleared his chest — is to deal with it.
By: Michael Grange
Title: VanVleet’s outburst result of long-built-up frustration on multiple fronts
Sourced From: www.sportsnet.ca/nba/article/vanvleets-outburst-result-of-long-built-up-frustration-on-multiple-fronts/
Published Date: 03-10-2023
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Canadian NBA teams?
Since 2001, the Toronto Raptors have been the only Canadian NBA team. The Vancouver Grizzlies were an NBA team from 1995 to 2001 but relocated to Memphis and became the Memphis Grizzlies. Canada did have two NBA teams for a while, the Vancouver Grizzlies in Canada and the Toronto Raptors in Canada. But there is currently no NBA team in Canada. Canadians still love basketball and make trips to the United States to see the games. The Toronto Raptors are a renowned team that has attracted large crowds to Scotiabank Arena since 1995. Each year, hundreds of Canadians travel to America for the NBA All-Star Weekend. Canada can have multiple NBA teams, as it has a population greater than 38 million. Many basketball fans in North America have discussed and debated its potential for a second team. The Toronto Raptors continue to be the only Canadian representation within the NBA.
Canadian Elite Basketball League, (CEBL), is a Canadian-based professional basketball league. Six teams are represented in this league, which includes the Fraser Valley Bandits (Abbotsford BC), Edmonton Stingers, Edmonton, Alberta, Guelph Nighthawks, Guelph Nighthawks, Guelph (Ontario), Hamilton Honey Badgers, Hamilton, Ontario, Saskatchewan Rattlers, Saskatoon (Saskatoon), Saskatchewan, and Niagara River Lions, St. Catharines (Ontario). The CEBL is currently the only Canadian professional basketball league.
From 2011 to 2020 the National Basketball League of Canada, a professional league for men's basketball, operated. It was home to eight teams, including those from Halifax, Moncton Saint John and Cape Breton as well as Summerside, London Windsor, Windsor, Windsor and Kitchener. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the NBLC to close its operations in 2020.
Canada also has junior basketball leagues such as the Canadian National Basketball League(CNB), a semiprofessional men’s league based out of Vancouver, BC. CNB includes teams from British Columbia (Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario). The Canadian Elite Development League (CEDL) is another junior basketball league in Canada that fields teams primarily from the Greater Toronto Area. AC) or the Canadian Youth Basketball League. These leagues offer young basketball players the chance to improve their skills and compete in a friendly environment.
What is the name for the Toronto Raptors' mascot, the Toronto Raptors?
The Toronto Raptors, a NBA franchise, was established in 1995. They play their games at Scotiabank Arena.
Raptor, a huge red dinosaur, is the Raptors' Mascot. Raptor first appeared in 1995. He also makes appearances throughout Toronto, participating in charity events and community initiatives. In 2019, he received the NBA Mascot of the Year award for his many years of service to the Raptors organization. Raptor, a beloved figure around Toronto and in the NBA, is one of the most prominent mascots within professional sports. Raptor has become an international symbol for Canada's basketball fandom.
Many share Raptor’s enthusiasm and love for the team and its fans across the nation. Raptor was the Raptors' most prominent leader and they won their first NBA championship in 2019. This victory marked a huge milestone for basketball fans in Toronto and Canada. Raptor is a source of pride for all Raptors family members. Raptors pride will never end. The Raptor is still around! Go, Toronto Raptors!
How did the Raptors win in 2019 the NBA title?
DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), Jakob Poltl as well as a protected 2019 first round draft pick were traded to the San Antonio Spurs by the Toronto Raptors on July 18, 2018.
The Raptors traded Jonas Valanciunas and Delon Wright C.J. on February 7, 2019. Miles, along with a 2024 second-round selection draft pick to Memphis Grizzlies for Marc Gasol--another multi-All-Star and former defensive player of the year--and signed Jeremy Lin shortly afterwards.
The Toronto Raptors had an exciting offseason. They made two major trades that shocked the NBA. DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poltl and a 2019 first round draft pick (that was not protected) were first traded by the Raptors to the San Antonio Spurs. In exchange, they got Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green (Spurs). They traded Jonas Valanciunas and Delon Wright C. J. Miles, and a 2024 second-round draft pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for Marc Gasol--another multiple All-Star and former Defensive Player of the Year. These moves have put the Raptors in a strong position to challenge for the NBA title. Let's look at each trade.
Kawhi Leonard trade was a risky move by the Raptors. On the one hand, Leonard is a top-5 player in the league when healthy and is coming off of an MVP-caliber season. He was injured and only played nine games last year, so there are concerns about his long-term well-being. But the Raptors decided that it was worth the risk, and they signed the deal. Leonard has been playing at an All Star level and is currently in good health. Leonard averages 26 points and 8 rebounds per game. He also shoots 49% from behind the arc and 38% at three-point range. He is a true threat to the Raptors' chances of winning an NBA championship if he stays healthy.
Marc Gasol's trade was more a short-term deal than anything else. Gasol, who is in his mid-30s, is clearly past his prime. However, he is still a very good player who brings valuable experience to a young Raptors team. He averages 15 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists per contest while shooting 45% from 3-point range and 34% from the field. The Raptors gave up some young assets in Delon Wright and C.J. Miles to acquire Gasol, but they believe his experience will be invaluable come playoff time.
The Raptors had a great start to the season, starting with a 6-0 victory. They broke the record for their best start in 20 games with a 16-4 record. They reached 20 wins faster that any time in their past history when they beat Cleveland Cavaliers 24 times. To prevent Leonard's injury from getting worse, the Raptors rested him for 20 more games. They still managed to secure the 2nd seed East, just behind Milwaukee Bucks.
The Raptors made a strong run in the playoffs and defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in Milwaukee Bucks' finals. Leonard was named Finals Champion and the Raptors took home their first title.
The Toronto Raptors' offseason was a success, and it has paid off. With two All-Stars on the roster, the Raptors are poised to be contenders for years to come. They have demonstrated that they can make bold moves and take risks if it means putting together a championship-calibre team. It will be interesting to see if they can keep up this success in the future.
Why are Toronto Raptors called Raptors
In 1995, the NBA expanded into Canada and created the Toronto Raptors. The film Jurassic Park inspired the name and logo. The team colours are silver, bright red, purple, and black.
The Raptors were struggling to establish themselves in the league during their first season. They ended up with a record 21-61. They improved every year, and in 1999 they were ready to make their first playoff appearance.
The Raptors' most memorable moment occurred in 2019, when they won their inaugural NBA championship title. Toronto won its first championship under the leadership of Kawhi Leonard (backcourt) and Kyle Lowry (courtside).
The Raptors have been a beloved team in Canada since then. Toronto continues to provide excitement to basketball fans worldwide, whether they are international superstars or homegrown talent.
The Toronto Raptors are a proud part of Canada's basketball heritage, and their success on the court inspires young athletes around the country. It is clear that the Raptors will be a favorite team for many years due to their loyal fans, innovative play style, and dedication to excellence.
How did the Toronto Raptors do after Kawhi Leonard left town?
It was a banner year for the Toronto Raptors. In the 2020 season, the Raptors won 53 games. All-Star point-guard Kyle Lowry, who averaged 19.7 and 7.5 points per game, was key to the team’s success. Pascal Siakam was Lowry's All-Star counterpart, scoring 22.9 points per game and grabbing 8.3 rebounds. Norman Powell, Fred VanVleet, and Norman Powell were key role players who made a strong contribution to the Raptors' roster. The team's talent and depth helped them overcome injuries to key players, such as Serge Ibaka & Marc Gasol.
The team was led coach Nick Nurse and All NBA Second Teamer Pascal Siakam. . Siakam was a star, scoring nearly 20+ points per games. Coach Nurse made bold strategic moves that paid off. Kyle Lowry was chosen to the 2020 NBA All-Star roster, his sixth consecutive selection.
The playoffs began later than usual this year, in August, at the "Bubble" in Bay Lake, Florida, near Orlando. In round one, the Raptors took on the Brooklyn Nets. They won 4-0. The Raptors lost 0-2 to the Boston Celtics in round two, but OG Anunoby scored a buzzer-beater for Toronto's third game. The series was eventually reduced to seven with Boston winning.
- As predicted by analysts, the team easily secured a berth in the 2001 NBA playoffs with a franchise-high 47 wins. (en.wikipedia.org)
- After Thomas attempted to execute a letter of intent with Slaight to purchase the team failed, he resigned from his position in November and sold his 9 percent stake in the team to Slaight. (en.wikipedia.org)
- This improved during the 2006–07 regular season to an average of 18,258 fans (13th in the league), 92.2 percent capacity at the Air Canada Centre. (en.wikipedia.org)
- Thomas named Raptors' GM NBA superstar to have 10% stake in the new franchise". (en.wikipedia.org)
- Thomas named Raptors' GM NBA superstar to have 10% stake in the new franchise". (en.wikipedia.org)
Is it possible to bring my camera with me to a Raptors' game?
You'll be fine if you stick to the plan and follow the rules. There's nothing wrong with bringing a camera to an NBA game. There is nothing illegal about this. However, you need to be aware about the potential dangers.
You must first consider whether or not you are allowed to take photos during the game. If you sit near the courtside, you can capture great shots without needing a large DSLR or smartphone.
You should also check these tips to improve your basketball photos if sports photography is something you are interested in.
The second thing to consider is what kind of camera you will use. If you want to shoot action shots, or share memorable moments with others, you need a professional grade camera.
It is also important to determine how much time you are willing to spend setting up the shot. A tripod and remote release are great options if you want to take your kids to the hoops.
Finally, you need to determine where to store all your gear. It's not possible to expect someone to give you a memory card after you leave the arena. So you either need to pack a bag with extra batteries, cables, and SD cards or find somewhere to keep your stuff while watching the game.
It is important to plan ahead if you want high quality photos at sporting events. It will allow you to capture amazing images that you can share with others.