'It's a whirlwind': Raptors head coach, players discuss NBA Finals win and upcoming draft

Head coach Nick Nurse, centre Marc Gasol, point guard Fred VanVleet and forward Pascal Siakam took from the media at the Raptors' training facility.

'My thought is always stay hungry,' said head coach Nick Nurse as he looks ahead to draft

Toronto Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse takes questions from the media in Toronto on Sunday. He said he is 'hungry' to 'get the guys we want back' next season. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

After months of the most crucial non-stop practices and games of his career, Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet said he's on a "pretty big high right now." 

Since the buzzer went off last week at the end of the Raptors' victorious Game 6 NBA championship game, he said it's felt like one — very long — day. 

VanVleet, as well as head coach Nick Nurse and other top Raptors players, spoke to media at the Raptors' training facility for the first time since returning to Toronto after winning the NBA title. 

"To reach the ultimate goal is hard to put into words, you just try to enjoy the moment," VanVleet said. 

But that's easier said that done, he added. 


"It's weird because we're always looking to what's next," he said. 

"What do we do now?"

Relax and party, he says. And then get back to work. 

Although he played through many bumps, bruises, a jammed wrist and a sprained thumb this season, Raptors point guard Freddy VanVleet said he tries 'not to make too many excuses.' (Natalie Nanowski/CBC)

After one of the biggest wins of his career, Nurse said he's also trying to process the entire experience while planning for what's to come.

"It's hard to explain it, to be honest with you," he said. "Super happy for the team and the guys."

After spending so much time caught up in the thrall of the games, Nurse says it's time to gear up for the upcoming 2019 NBA draft, which is now just days away.

Watch as players, coach discuss the big win: 

Coach Nick Nurse, as well as players Freddy VanVleet, Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam, talk to the media in Toronto for the first time since their Game 6 win. 2:58

"My thought is always stay hungry," he said. "Get the guys we want back."

And it's no surprise Nurse was asked the question on many people's minds: Will Kawhi Leonard stay with the Toronto Raptors?

Although he didn't have a firm answer, he said the Raptors "can give him a good deal."

"I know he's got to make a decision here really soon."

'He can do everything' 

No matter what Leonard decides, the team seems to agree that they learned a lot from him as a player.

"If there's one thing that I've learned from Kawhi is just how he's always the same," said forward Pascal Siakam.

Between scoring from any point on the court and guarding any player, "he can do everything," Siakam added.

With just three years experience in the game, Siakam said this season taught him things that will stay with him for his whole life.

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard celebrates after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals. Several of his teammates praised him at a media question period Sunday, saying whether or not he stays with the Raptors, he has been an incredible player. (Ben Margot/Associated Press)

Between wins, losses, media headlines, fans and critics, he said it can be hard to be consistent.

"Just feeling like you're the best in the world and then the next day feeling like you're the worst," he said.

"But if you go out there every day and put every single thing you have into the game, it's going to pay off."

Centre player Marc Gasol also spoke of some of the ups and downs of the championship games — such as Game 1 against Orlando Magic and Game 2 against the Milwaukee Bucks — but said he was impressed by how the team handled the roller coaster together. 

"When were challenged, I just liked how we reacted as team," he said. 

Now that it's all over, he said he's itching to get back on the court and be challenged once again. 

"As a competitive guy, that's all you wish for, to keep competing."

Celebration parade set for Monday 

Most of the team landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport Saturday night. The late hour didn't stop throngs of cheering fans from showing up to give some love to the new NBA champs.

Last week, marked the franchise's first ever title in its 24-year history. 

From Oakland, Calif., where they secured their win, many players, coaches and staff headed to Las Vegas to party with rapper Drake and his entourage.

Watch the Raptors return to Toronto after historic win:

Marc Gasol, Fred VanVleet, and Pascal Siakam were among players to emerge from a Delta plane that landed at Toronto's Pearson International Airport Saturday evening. 3:37

Today's news conference comes as Toronto prepares for a victory parade and rally on Monday.

While Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment hasn't commented on expected turnout, a spokesperson did say the corporation is preparing for "very large crowds" to descend upon the city's waterfront and downtown core.

  • You can watch the CBC News Special: Raptors Championship Parade, hosted by The National's Adrienne Arsenault and CBC Toronto's Dwight Drummond, on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, on CBC Gem or via livestream on, on CBC Television and CBC News Network. The special will air from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET.


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