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Raptors seek leader after departure of Gasol and Ibaka

Raptors seek leader after departure of Gasol and Ibaka

Toronto Raptor coach Nick Nurse acknowledges that the departure of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka’s team has left a great “void” in the Canadian team, both on the court and in the locker room, and that he expects players like Fred VanVleet or Pascal Siakam take over the leadership.

After the first training session for the team, which due to travel restrictions due to covid-19, the season will begin based in the American city of Tampa, Nurse told the media during a virtual meeting that the first training session with the entire team it had been good, with “lots of energy” and “great intensity.”

But Nurse acknowledged that the departure of Marc Gasol, who has signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, and Serge Ibaka, who now plays for the Los Angeles Clippers, two of the most prominent players who led the Raptors to win the NBA championship in the season 2018-2019, it is a serious problem for the team.

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“We have lost two great leaders so that opens up an opportunity, in the dressing room and on the court, for someone to fill that position. It’s time for Pascal (Siakam), Norman (Powell), OG (Anunoby) and of course Fred (VanVleet), who is a natural leader. Of course (VanVleet) is one of the leaders that has emerged now that those two are gone, “said Nurse.

Nurse insisted that the gap left by Gasol and Ibaka, who became two of the team’s most powerful voices both on and off the pitch, will be difficult to fill.

“I think it is difficult to replace people who are veterans and have so much experience, with all those minutes both in the NBA and internationally. There is a void there that we have to fill, ”Nurse said.

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“I hope we do it on the pitch with the players we have brought in, or perhaps some who are emerging, and who can fill in the statistics. But the intangible part is also important. I think it is time for some to step forward. And Pascal is capable of doing it too, “he added.

Looking ahead to the 2020-2021 NBA season, which officially begins on December 22, the Raptors have hired centers Aron Baynes (New Zealand) and Alex Len (Ukraine) to fill the positions left by Gasol and Ibaka ‘.

The Raptors have also seized the services of American forward DeAandre ‘Bembry and have renewed the contracts of VanVleet and Chris Boucher.

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The first game for the Raptors this season will be on December 23 against the New Orleans Pelican, a team in which the Spaniard Willy Hernangómez plays. EFE (HN)

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