I'm not an ogre: Mitchell

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

Head coach Sam Mitchell was asked yesterday about the lack of crisis management he has had to perform in this his third season with the Raptors.

Much of it has to do with changing personnel, but Mitchell is convinced his own maturation as a coach has helped cut down on the disasters he has had to deal with as well.

Mitchell used the two off days the Raptors just completed as an example of how he has altered his approach.

Instead of running the team hard both days, Mitchell felt his team needed "to breathe a little, to have some fun" so he ran a very relaxed practice focussing on some team shooting competitions."

But then yesterday, wanting to get his team focussed again, Mitchell said he came into practice "with a little bit of a chip on my shoulder." Fun time was over.

In terms of dealing with his players, Mitchell says this year he has been better at timing those talks.

"I still say the same things to the players, but I think I am better at picking and choosing when I say it," he said.

"Maybe if a guy is a little upset, I'll wait until the next day (to bring it up). I'm not the mean ogre that you guys (in the media) think. I'm more like that with you guys because this here (media scrums) is not my comfort zone, doing this part of my job. But dealing with these guys I learned because at the end of the day it's managing people. I think I've gotten better."

Flying under the radar?

Mitchell admitted yesterday he's not above doing whatever he needs to do to keep his club motivated. "Our advantage here is that people still don't recognize or really respect the names on the jerseys of our guys," Mitchell began yesterday. "Everyone knows who Chris Bosh and is and T.J. Ford is, but when you start talking about (Andrea) Bargnani, and (Jorge) Garbajosa and (Anthony) Parker, and (Jose) Calderon and names like (Joey) Graham.

"To most teams those are just names. That's our advantage I think."

But moments after making that statement, Mitchell admitted he's not sure he believed it.

"As a coach you try to find any little thing to keep your team on edge or keep them motivated or pointed in the right direction," he said. "I'm just tying to find those things whether it's true or not."


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