Raps get new blood

MIKE GANTER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

No, the Raptors are not collecting as many pieces as they can from that 1999 Los Angeles Clippers team that lost a league record 17 games to start the season.

It just seems that way.

Joining Jim Todd, who was an assistant coach with that unfortunate Clippers club, is guard Darrick Martin who, like Todd wouldn't mind forgetting that portion of his life and is not even considering going through that again.

"That's something you only want to do one time in your life," Martin said.

Martin, 34, was signed to a one-year non-guaranteed contract yesterday.

If he's still on the roster by Jan. 10, his contract is guaranteed.

Martin will fill two roles primarily for the Raps. He gives them a third option at point guard allowing head coach Sam Mitchell, if he chooses, to play Jose Calderon and Mike James on the floor at the same time.

More importantly he gives the Raptors an NBA savvy point guard who can school the Spanish-speaking rookie Calderon and perhaps make the transition to the NBA game that much easier.

Language will not be a problem.

Martin speaks Spanish and knows exactly what is expected of him.

In fact, when Martin entered the league 11 years ago with the Minnesota Timberwolves, one of the veterans who helped show him the ropes was Mitchell.

"When I came in he was kind of a coach then," Martin said of Mitchell. "He taught me what it really meant to be a professional in a professional basketball league.

"Now my career is at the point where I get to be the one who shows the young guys the way.

"I'm excited about that role."

Martin has seen playing time in five professional leagues from Russia and Italy, to the CBA and ABA, and stints with five different NBA teams including a short stay with Canada's only other team in Vancouver before they moved.

"Patience and endurance is something I have learned through my career," Mitchell said.

The way this season has started for the Raptors, those traits may come in handy.


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