WATERLOO -- Veterans usually are responsible for showing the ropes to NBA rookies.
Not at Raptors training camp.
Raptors coach Sam Mitchell is making a point of putting Jorge Garbajosa, a rookie only by strict definition, on the floor with prized first-overall pick Andrea Bargnani. Garbajosa, 28, has played professionally for 11 seasons in Europe, while the baby-faced Bargnani is 20.
"Right now I think they've got a comfort zone with each other," Mitchell said of Garbajosa and Bargnani, who were teammates on Benetton Treviso in Italy in 2003-04. "We're trying to make sure Andrea's comfortable, we're not trying to give him too much right now. Jorge is a lot more familiar with his game than some of the other guys.
"Jorge is 28 years old and he has a lot of experience. He has been playing a lot of basketball. Yeah, it's his first year playing in the NBA but when he's on the court, you can't tell."
Mitchell is using the 7-foot Bargnani as a centre on the second unit. While Bargnani brings a versatile game to Toronto, Mitchell doesn't want to experiment with the big Italian at different positions.
Because the Raptors are hoping to run a fast-paced offence, Bargnani won't have to be a back-to-the-basket player regularly, allowing him to showcase his myriad talents. He will have to get used guarding big guys, however, so Mitchell has had him matched up against Raptors starting centre Rasho Nesterovic on defence.
"We're trying to get him used to the banging and boxing out of bigger guys," Mitchell said.
"I just think right now instead of trying to move him around a lot, it will just probably be easier for him to know look right now we're going to play you at the five.
"Let's worry about playing the five, not try to give him a whole bunch of stuff."
Nesterovic missed the second practice yesterday to take care of his visa situation ... Guard Fred Jones returned to practice after missing the past two days with a toe injury.