Why Masai Ujiri views the 'Tampa tank' as a success

Raptors president and vice-chairman Masai Ujiri comments on what character traits Toronto looks for when evaluating players and the importance of winning to the team's identity. Full availability is on our Yahoo Sports Canada YouTube.

Video Transcript

MASAI UJIRI: Well, those two guys you mentioned about winning and to me, this game is about winning, simple. Yeah, there's nothing else. It's only winning. We want to win in Toronto. I say it all the time. It's winning, nothing else, nothing. We can come hold hands, do whatever we want, hug, wear masks, do anything we want, OK? Winning, yeah, winning. Empty stadium, full stadium, winning. That's it.

That's the kind of players we try to bring. We want to win a championship here. It's not playoffs. Yeah, playoffs is good. But win-win-win big. Win the championship. That's what I want to do here. And sports is about competing. And so, in our mindset, that's the kind of players we want to bring.

When we interviewed Scottie, he mentioned winning 100 times. He kept on talking about winning. Every time you talk to Freddie, I just met with Freddie, a couple of days ago. And it's winning, win-win-win. It comes out of their mouth all the time. You talk to all the players, win-win. The players you get like that are the players that are going to win. That's what they believe in. Whether their personalities are different, they have to have that mindset of winning. And that's what we want. Because I think that's what sports is about.

- Besides definitely the idea of winning [INAUDIBLE].

MASAI UJIRI: Yeah, so it's patience, really. When you have young players, we have to always be patient, we have to be. And it's not going to go good all the time. I sat here and told you guys it's not going to be pretty. I think you guys remember that. It's going to be up and down. That's just how development works, how building works. But their mindset, the mindset has to be winning.

However you look at it, last year, the Tampa tank year, we won. You know why we won? Scottie Barnes, we won. Our whole mindset has to be winning. You have to think about it that way.

And so even in the beginning of the season there are many things. And Nick would explain to me, and sometimes I wouldn't even like get it. It's the patience. He explained it to me with pressures. I was like, why is he doing that? Like, why is he doing this? And it's the patience of getting them to make mistakes sometimes, and yeah, sometimes we say how does it fit into what the timelines of Pascal, or Fred, and OG, all these guys are. Those guys are young too.

And I look at these guys, people have been playing in the NBA for 15, 13, how many years, and I look at like a phenomenal Boston team. Those guys, we played them in the playoffs how many times? Still the same team, right? Still the same guys for years. You look at the Miami team, guys have been playing for a long time. I think we're the third or second youngest team in the playoffs. And Thadd Young messed it up for us, by the way.


MASAI UJIRI: But we have to build. We have to grow. We have to allow that. And I know, sometimes when you win, the expectations like start to become a little bit higher from fans, from media, from everybody. It just sets a tone. But inside, we have to see it. We have to have the vision of what we feel we project these guys are going to be.

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