The Raptors' travelling contingent arrived in Oakland last night significantly lighter than it left Los Angeles.
Staying behind in L.A. to take in the Pac 10 Conference tournament were president and GM Bryan Colangelo, assistant GM Maurizio Gherardini and Masai Ujiri, the team's director of global scouting. The Pac 10 tournament is practically one-stop shopping this year for NBA management types looking to nail down their pecking order for the upcoming draft.
No fewer than seven and potentially as many as nine of the Pac 10 stars are forecasted to be first-round picks in the draft. The list is lead by UCLA freshman centre Kevin Love and includes USC freshman guard O.J. Mayo, whose stock initially dropped this year before a strong finish put him back in the picture.
From Los Angeles, the Raptors' scouting tour will move to Kansas for the Big 12 tournament where they'll get an up-close look at expected first overall pick Michael Beasley of Kansas State.
BRYANT LETS FORD GO
While his teammates and his coaches saw an ultra-aggressive T.J. Ford heading up a fine effort by the Raptors' second unit and then carrying the first unit as well on Tuesday, not everyone was impressed.
"You just let him go ahead and get 28," Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers told the L.A. Times when asked about Ford's night. "If that's what the guards want to do, that's fine. You just let him go in there and contest his shot. That's fine by us as long as he's not getting other guys involved."
John Lucas, who is with the Raptors as a consultant, said it's apparent to him that teams have decided they will let Ford and fellow point guard Jose Calderon be scorers, but not scorers and facilitators. "Now teams are saying you're either going to score or you're going to get assists, but not both."