We already found out that Sam doesn’t really follow European basketball – with five guys from Europe on his team. Now we found out through the Toronto Sun that he even feels insulted when you try to tell Sam Mitchell they are playing European-style basketball:
"I feel insulted when I hear that," Mitchell said. "I don’t see NBA players wanting to get out of their contract to play in Europe. you don’t see college kids leaving school early to play in Europe. Nothing against Europe, but this is our game … You watch European basketball and all they want to do is play like we play. All they want to do is dunk the ball."
Well we did see players wanting to get out of their contracts – and we did see player getting out of their contract to play in Europe. Not because Europe is better, but something must have made them leave the NBA.
In the NBA’s conference call on September 19th Sam was asked why the Toronto Raptors have so many European players:
I don’t think we favor one player. We try and find the best players. Andrea was our No. 1 pick and when you look at the money we had to spend last year and the players that were available to us, Jorge Garbajosa made sense; and we signed Jose Calderon two years ago, so we’re not picking one player over another. If you look at the free agents, we didn’t just sign European players. We signed Jason Kapono and some other guys, so we’re just trying to get the best basketball players for our team, regardless of color, nationality. We’re just trying to find a good basketball player.
What does that mean? I guess Sam considers his European players as good, right? So – the Raptors’ Europeans’ are good because all they want to do is play like the NBA plays and because all they want to do is dunk the ball?
Maybe Sam Mitchell should give Kerry Gibson a call. But this is exactly why I love writing this blog – to see what both sides really think – I am sure my European friends see things differently..