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Triano Hopes To Continue Teaching, Learning With Raptors

Related: Watch All Of Thursday's News Conference Video | Ulmer: Players Look Ahead With Optimism
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Mike Ulmer - raptors.com
April 14, 2011

TORONTO -- He lost 60 games but never the confidence of his players.

That will be the legacy of Triano’s second full season coaching the Toronto Raptors.

If Triano is obliged to shoulder the blame for the blizzard of losses, so too must he be recognized for what those 82 games brought.

He dramatically developed DeMar DeRozan, doubling his points and stoking an already burning passion for improvement. This came after 2009-2010 where Triano used DeRozan as a starter but limited his minutes.

Triano kept the dressing room. In fact, he set the chemistry for the kind of remarkably blissful group rarely seen amidst a losing season.

“I liked playing for Jay,” said power forward Reggie Evans. “He found the balance of being real hard on players and taking it easy on players. I could just play hard for him and know I wasn’t going to get abused.”

“I feel really comfortable with Jay here,” said Jose Calderon. “My relationship with him is great.”

“The players were extremely positive. They loved the atmosphere, raved about their teammates and said the same things about the coaching staff,” Triano said. “It’s hard to believe we had 22 wins and guys as positive as they were.”

Those 22-wins don’t leave much room for celebration but, like most coaches, Triano has a zeal for finding a positive statistic in a season of negative ones.

“We were number two in NBA in fast break points and number two in points in the paint. We did all this despite the fact we were 30th in field goal percentage from three-point range.

“I don’t think our problem was scoring. The fact that we were eighth in field goal percentage is a real positive. Obviously our biggest issue is in our end of the floor.”

The Raptors gave up 105 points a game, fifth worst in the league and even more than scoring, defence is the sum total of a team’s experience.

Triano’s contract expires this spring. Devoting so much time to helping youngsters, he said, leaves you wanting nothing more than to stay.

“I don’t think anyone wants to raise kids for two years and then give them up for adoption,” he said.

In the better part of three seasons, Triano has won 87 and lost 142. His players swear by him, regardless of age of NBA experience. He has mastered being uncommonly optimistic without sounding insane and focused without being zealous.

In keeping with that is his view on his future.

“There are too many things going on to worry about that,” he said when asked about what will happen. “We have to get as caught up as we possibly can about the draft so we can help organization make the right choice. For us, it’s still business as usual. The only thing different is no games.”

As for the record, well, naturally enough, Triano sees a bright spot.

“The way things transpired, had we overachieved and had 10 more wins, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to have a very high draft pick,” he said. “Through a draft pick, a trade and player development, the face of the franchise could change drastically.”