Serge Ibaka speaks out on Raptors’ chances of repeating as champions
The Toronto Raptors returned to practice on Saturday for the first time in months, and with that practice came a media availability in which the always-outspoken Serge Ibaka chimed in on a variety of subjects.
One of those subjects was providing his opinion on the Raptors’ chances of repeating as NBA Champions this season. As expected, the four-year Raptors veteran was fairly optimistic:
“Man, listen, we believe in us,” Ibaka said in the media availability per Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. “We have the experience, we have the championship mentality already, we’ve got confidence. It’s time to go to work. We’re ready.”
Those are some promising words, and the time off has likely helped the Raptors veterans, who might have become fatigued as a long playoff grind went on – if the season hadn’t been significantly derailed by COVID-19.
As it stands now, though there are concerns with the NBA’s “bubble” plan in Orlando, the Raptors should be seen as on the shortlist of most threatening teams in the NBA.
For one thing, Marc Gasol looks to be in terrific shape following the three-month layoff, and Pascal Siakam, who had shouldered an immense workload with the absence of Kawhi Leonard on the team this season, will likely have benefited from the time off as well.
Of course, the longest-tenured player on the team, Kyle Lowry, is sure to be happy to get some time to recuperate as well – even if it was during a global pandemic.
Beyond the big names, the Raptors have a stable of young, rangy players who can provide necessary sparks off the bench such as rookie Terence Davis and veterans Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Stanley Johnson.