Babcock keeps things positive

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:32 AM ET

For a guy whose team is on a seven-game losing streak, Rob Babcock remains remarkably upbeat. The Raptors' first-year general manager insists he does not feel pressure to make a trade, and he sure doesn't sound like a man ready to drive off the nearest embankment.

In fact, Babcock feels his team is ahead of his anticipated development schedule.

"Looking at the big picture, I'm pleased with where we are, compared with where I thought we'd be," Babcock said yesterday, as the Raptors players enjoyed a day off.

"That's the salvation when you're dealing with a losing streak. You have to look for victories in other areas."

While Babcock felt it was important for the players to have some time away from the court yesterday after a hectic schedule, the GM was hard at work.

"It has been busy," he said.

But despite the speculation surrounding trade talks for Vince Carter and Jalen Rose, Babcock said he won't rush into making a deal just because the Raptors (7-16) are struggling.

"I've been through (slumps), not as a general manager, but I've learned you do not allow yourself to do something because of pressure," Babcock said. "If you do something because of pressure, you are likely going to make a wrong decision. People ask me all the time, 'Don't you feel any pressure?' But ownership has been great. They understand what the philosophy is and they know it's not going to happen overnight."

Babcock knew he wasn't inheriting the world's greatest basketball roster when he was hired in June, so he's not surprised the Raptors are experiencing some tough times.

"It's not unexpected at all," Babcock said. "We knew coming in here, in order to really get this whole program going in the right direction and establish what we're trying to do, we would have to take a couple of steps backward to go forward. I kind of anticipated these things were going to happen."

The Raptors have lost 11 games by fewer than 10 points and that could be a sign of a team just not good enough to win consistently.

Babcock, however, doesn't see that as a completely negative stat.

"I'd rather have that than losing those games by 25," he said. "It shows we're competing and it shows we have a chance to be consistently competitive."

Meanwhile, Babcock said he expects point guard Milt Palacio to return to the team today for practice. Palacio has been away since Thursday because of personal reasons.


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