The Raptors are the most athletic team Goran Dragic has played on

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Years ago, Goran Dragic could have looked into his NBA locker room and felt confident in his athletic ability. He was a young league puppy, a skilled keeper with a multitude of impressive ball skills who sought contact as he drove to the rim.

“He’s an extremely physical guy,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said, reflecting on playing against Dragic for so long. “I remember always saying he’s driving you and you’re going to have to absorb his touch. I mean, you have to stand there and take his touch because he’s going to put his body and his forearm and his head, whatever he can do to get rid of him and finish the layup. “

He was the pesky underdog, the second-round pick who defied the odds and became a valuable spinning piece, a starter and once All-Star. But looking around the Toronto locker room these days, there’s a bit of physical insecurity, Dragic joked of Tuesday.

“I’m probably the least athletic of all these guys who come here to play,” he said with a smile.

The Toronto roster is filled with versatile players ranging in size from 6’6 to 6’9 who can attack opposing teams with their physical gifts. That’s a long way, Dragic said, from some of the other teams he’s played for in his 12-year career.

“In Phoenix we have Jared Dudley. He’s not that athletic,” Dragic joked. “Then I play in Houston with Luis Scola, he’s not athletic. All my favorite teammates. But here every position is athletic.”

This list is the most athletic group Dragic has claimed to have been a part of. More athletic than those recent Miami Heat teams with Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, those pre-James Harden Houston Rockets teams that included Kyle Lowry, and the late Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire Phoenix Suns.

Toronto is hoping all of that athleticism will make them a defensive juggernaut this season as they attempt to push the boundaries of smallball roster construction.

Further reading

Raptors try to be at the forefront of defensive innovation with their versatile roster

Raptors Roster Rundown: What To Expect From Toronto’s Last 17

OG Anunoby set to become Raptors guy with Pascal Siakam early


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