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When Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan report to training camp, they’ll do so
as Toronto’s unspoken leaders. After leading the team to its
franchise-best finish last season, taking the Cleveland Cavaliers to six
games in the Eastern Conference Finals, the All-Star backcourt led with
their play on court and examples of work ethic and focus away from it.

在今日 NBA季后赛San Antonio Spurs对阵Denver
DeRozan的一次进攻被裁判吹为进攻犯规,出于不满,DeMar DeRozan
将球扔向裁判 Scott Foster。随即裁判给了两个技术犯规,将其驱逐出场,而
Nuggets 也取得了当场比赛的胜利。尽管 DeRozan
的后续比赛不会受到影响,但是他将为自己的行为付出 $25,000 美金的罚款。

Lowry and DeRozan each collected a gold medal with the U.S. national
team in the Rio Olympics, but their roles with Team USA were decidedly
different than the ones they play with the Raptors. Shifting from first
options to coming off the bench is an adjustment, surely, but Lowry and
DeRozan adapted well. Fitting in seamlessly with their teammates, the
two earned respect from the coaching staff that had spend the previous
month working alongside them in Rio as well as in a training camp held
in Las Vegas.

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“They know that they play to win,” Tom Thibodeau said after a training
session in Las Vegas. “They play within the team, and that’s really what
it’s all about. They’ve been great here. They’re a great fit with Team
USA. Just the way they conduct themselves, the way they concentrate in
meetings, the way they practice, the way they’re wiling to share and
sacrifice. It says a lot about them.”

Thibodeau will coach the Minnesota Timberwolves this season, but saw
plenty of DeRozan and Lowry during his five-year tenure with the Chicago
Bulls. He also coached DeRozan when he won a gold medal in the 2014 FIBA
Basketball World Cup and has been able to observe how he continues to
elevate his game as his career progresses.

“He’s one of those guys that continues to get better every year,”
Thibodeau said. “He and Kyle, that backcourt is about as good as it gets
in the NBA. Both of them are great competitors. Smart, tough, and they
make their teammates a lot better. DeMar has added a lot to his game. He
scores in so many different ways. He puts a lot of pressure on you. He’s
athletic and he’s got a great demeanour about him. He doesn’t get
rattled. I watched them a lot this [past] year and I thought he had an
unbelievable season.”

While DeRozan leads by example first, Thibodeau had high praise for his
ability to step away from the limelight and play the role that was asked
of him with Team USA.

“His demeanour is great, his attitude is great and his approach is
great,” Thibodeau said. “There’s all different types of leadership, but
his leadership is the best because he leads by example. He does all of
the right things each and every day. That’s why his career has gone the
way it has. He’s never satisfied. He’s hard working. He cares about his
teammates. He cares about winning. That goes a long way.

No question, it’s his work ethic [that allows him to continue to
improve],” Thibodeau continued. “Obviously he’s talented. You can’t do
what he’s done without a lot of talent, but I think it’s also his drive
and his intelligence. That’s why each year, he’s gotten better and
better. You can’t say enough about the way that he plays. Each aspect of
his game has gotten better. You have to be alert and aware in
transition, half court, driving the ball, catch and shoot, posting,
cutting, keeps enormous pressure on your defence at all times.”

Thibodeau’s compliments weren’t limited to DeRozan and Lowry. Explaining
that he’d watched his share of Raptors games the previous season prior
to taking the opportunity with the Timberwolves, Thibodeau was impressed
with the continued rise of the franchise as a whole.

“Dwane [Casey] has done an unbelievable job there, along with Masai
[Ujiri],” Thibodeau said. “The leadership from inside has been
terrific as well. When you look at what DeMar and Kyle have done, you
see the growth from year to year. I think when you have that type of
leadership, it makes your team coachable. It makes it enjoyable. The
winning is the fun. That’s what it’s all about. As I mentioned, each
year they’ve gotten better and better.”

Thibodeau wasn’t the only coach working with the U.S. national team that
has watched the Raptors closely. Jay Wright, coaching with the Select
team, had reason to keep tabs on Toronto because he’d coached Lowry at
Villanova. Nine years later, Wright remains one of Lowry’s closest
confidants. When he watches the Raptors, what sticks out most is the
relationship between Lowry and DeRozan. As the two have developed a bond
that extends far beyond basketball, Wright has seen how that connection
translates directly onto the court.

“[Kyle]必威体育亚洲品牌, doesn’t talk about their relationship, as much as he talks
about how much respect he has for DeMar and how much they love each
other,” Wright said. “I’m always watching the relationship. I’m watching
interviews, even some of the comical interviews where DeMar says
something and he makes fun of it and the way DeMar responds to him it’s
like, ‘Hey, it’s my older brother. I’ll take it from him.’”


Wright has watched Lowry become a husband and father, and has witnessed
how both life events have helped him find a maturity and patience that
were sometimes lacking in the beginning of his professional career.
Thibodeau credits Lowry’s relentless nature for where his career has
taken him.


“You learn from all of your experiences,” Thibodeau said. “For him to do
what he’s done in this league tells you how mentally tough he is. He’s
found a home and I think when you look at that backcourt, that’s a big
part of why they win the way that they do. You can tell the fans have an
appreciation for what they’ve done, but I think more importantly,
they’re teammates. They know that they play to win, they play within the
team, and that’s really what it’s all about.”


For Wright, the bond between Lowry and DeRozan was highlighted during
the first two rounds of the postseason when the Raptors were fighting
their way through a seven-game series against the Indiana Pacers and
then another against the Miami Heat. After All-Star seasons, Lowry and
DeRozan each had to work through their own offensive struggles under the
biggest stage either had played on. It was in those tough moments, when
things could have gotten dark, where Wright saw the depth of
understanding between Toronto’s two stars.


“I think that chemistry on the court, when times are tough, it proved
through the playoffs,” Wright said. “When they were in some tough
situations o the road, you can see how those two stick together. Nothing
is going to break them. It’s rare in professional sports. I think it’s
something special that Toronto has.”





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