SBD/October 30, 2013/Franchises

NBA Franchise Notes: Ujiri Still Looking To Make His Mark On Raptors

Ujiri is in his first season with the Raptors after leaving his position with the Nuggets
In Toronto, Steve Simmons writes Raptors President & GM for Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri's vision for the team, "the one he sold" to MLSE President & CEO Tim Leiweke, "has yet to materialize in any meaningful way." The Raptors begin the season "in that terrible NBA place called no man’s land." Simmons: "Maybe, if everything goes right ... this can be a team that makes the playoffs and [lasts] a few minutes in the first round." But it could be "another season of in-between basketball, with the Raptors not good enough to be real, not bad enough to be in the mix" to draft Univ. of Kansas F Andrew Wiggins next year (TORONTO SUN, 10/30).

DIVING FOR A REBOUND? 76ers GM Sam Hinkie said of the team's potential struggles this year, "All our focus is on building something special for the Sixers, building a team that could in time be interesting." In Philadelphia, Mike Sielski writes Hinkie arrived this summer "with a mandate: We have to bottom out so we can begin again." If such a strategy is "antithetical to the notion that a professional franchise is obliged to try to put a competitive team on the court, don't blame Hinkie." Sielski: "Blame the NBA, particularly its oppressive salary cap and a draft that rewards failure with the promise of a lottery pick" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/30).

PICK UP THE PACE: In Indianapolis, Bob Kravitz writes the city has "finally noticed" the Pacers' success. Individual ticket sales "are up" 50% and package sales are up 30%. Kravitz: "Seriously, if Indy can’t get behind this team -- a team in every conceivable sense of the word -- there’s no hope for pro hoops in Indianapolis" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 10/30).
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