Raptors Analyst: "This Is Canada's Team"

The Raptors have overtaken the Maple Leafs in Toronto – and they may have overtaken hockey in all of Canada, Paul Jones says

June 18, 2019 - 9:33 am
Kyle Lowry Raptors Parade

USA Today Images

The Raptors held their championship parade in Toronto on Monday, and it was a sight to see. The veterans on the team – including Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol – couldn’t have been happier.

“It’s something that they worked for their whole careers,” Raptors play-by-play voice Paul Jones said on Ferrall on the Bench. “Ibaka has been disappointed in the Finals. He was part of a 3-1 with Oklahoma City that gave up a lead to Golden State, so he was really gassed up. Norman Powell had been to the conference finals. So had Lowry. It was great to see them. It was really great to see them all excited. They worked hard for something, and they’re celebrating.”

Then there’s 25-year-old Pascal Siakam, who averaged 19.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists in the Finals.

“His development has been really, really solid,” Jones said. “When he came into the league, I said he reminds me of Dennis Rodman: runs the floor well, he’s just in your stuff defensively, just disrupting, can guard multiple positions – and then over the last three years, he’s developed skill-wise. He’s starting to make jump-shots, he’s got a terrific spin move and finish in the lane, he’s rebounding – he’s just become really, really confident.”

Masai Ujiri, meanwhile, looks like the genius that he is. Jones doesn’t anticipate him leaving Toronto for Washington, either.

“I can’t see the organization here letting him go,” he said. “He built this thing step by step. It took five, six seasons to finally make move with Dwane (Casey) – and it wasn’t popular last year. Neither was the trade of DeRozan. People raised an eyebrow when he traded Valančiūnas. He put his backside on the line, and he delivered. Now he looks like a genius, and I can’t see the organization letting him go. I just can’t.”

With their first title in franchise history, the Raptors may have overtaken the Maple Leafs in Toronto – and hockey in all of Canada.

“Yes,” Jones said. “If the Leafs win a Cup, people in Calgary and Edmonton and Vancouver and Montreal, they ain’t cheering for the Leafs. They don’t care. They’re ticked off their team didn’t beat the Leafs for the Cup. The humanity at the parade today and the diversity today in culture and creed and race and gender and everything, this is Canada’s team. I don’t know if (the Raptors are bigger than hockey) right now, but if it isn’t, it ain’t far behind.”

Click below to listen to Jones’ interview in its entirety.