At Least Someone Wants to Play Here

Steve Buffery -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 6:47 AM ET

It's not all bitterness and resentment in Raptorland these days. While Vince Carter has demanded to be traded, Rafer Alston was expressing his joy yesterday at being back in Toronto.

Alston said during a charity golf event at Angus Glen that he can hardly wait for training camp to begin in about two weeks and looks forward to working with general manager Rob Babcock and new coach Sam Mitchell.

"Rob and Sam don't have to sell me on anything," Alston said. "Whatever they want me to do ... if they want me to dive from the top of the ACC to the floor, if that gets us a win, I'm going to do that."

Wow, what a difference from No. 15.

Alston played with the Raptors during their injury-plagued season two years ago. He had a breakout year with the Miami Heat last season and signed a lucrative deal with the Raptors this summer.

Mitchell wants to push the ball and Alston will be asked to run the team's offence as the projected starting point guard.

Alston averaged 10.2 points and 4.8 assists in Miami and wants to prove to Mitchell and Raptors fans that he is a bona fide star point guard.

"I wish camp started tomorrow," he said. "I want to start working and really start throwing some passes to the guys. I'm a pass-first guard, I'm a guy who wants to run the team and I'll look for my shots second."

Alston is hoping that Carter remains with the team because he believes the two of them would make a "special" backcourt tandem in the NBA. But with Carter or without, the New York City native believes the Raptors will make the playoffs this season.

"Don't forget we're in the Eastern Conference and I was with a team last year that had home-court advantage with a 41-41 record," he said. "This team (Raptors) won 33 games last year. You figure this team wins six or seven more games and we could be a fifth or fourth seed."


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