Jason Kapono, the defending NBA three-point champion, won't know who his competition is for the event until Feb. 7, but he already is gearing up and with plenty of help from the entire Raptors organization.
Kapono spent a good half hour after practice yesterday working on his stroke as he went station to station firing three-pointers on the clock just like he will be in New Orleans on Feb. 16.
But this was much more than just one guy working on his three-point shooting.
The Raptors did their best to imitate the all-star atmosphere complete with blaring music for the UCLA alumnus. Marc Eversley, the Raptors' director of basketball operations, was mimicking a cameraman just off Kapono's elbow shooting the event. General manager Bryan Colangelo (in sweats, no less) provided additional distraction while acting as head official and waving off that last shot Kapono let fly just after the buzzer went off.
Raptors assistant coach Jay Triano even had the foresight to suggest building ball-ready racks for the practice with equipment manager Kevin DiPietro putting the racks together out of PVC piping.
If Kapono does not repeat, it won't be because he wasn't prepared or didn't have the adequate help.
COACHES PAY THE PRICE
A light-hearted free throw shooting drill at the end of practice yesterday had Sam Mitchell looking for a masseuse.
Players and coaches alike were involved in the drill with a missed free throw costing the offending team (players versus coaches) a series of suicides (line-to-end-line sprints).
Chris Bosh was asked how the coaches fared.
"You see him sitting there, don't you?" Bosh said, motioning to Mitchell on a bench. "He hasn't moved."