Cory Joseph just taught us all something sound about professionalism.
The Toronto native and Toronto Raptors guard became one of the league’s cheerier stories in 2015-16 upon returning to his hometown team and contributing 8.5 points a game as a super-sub in the Raptors’ move toward yet another Atlantic title. Joseph has moved the average up to 8.6 points in slightly fewer minutes this year, but was recently removed from the rotation by coach Dwane Casey as the Raps try to figure out the root causes of a 2-8 midseason swoon.
Joseph could have pouted, upon hearing of the demotion that knocked him down from 26.1 minutes per game in his ten contests leading up to Friday night’s game in Orlando, to just six minutes off the bench (with zero points scored) in Toronto’s loss to the Magic on Friday night.
He could have complained, but Cory Joseph was raised Canadian. He knows how to handle this:
“I don’t know why people want me to be like a hater or something, or (sulk). That’s not me. I’m not a hater, nor do I sulk, that’s un-Canadian-like. I don’t do that.”
He went on, in talking with the Toronto Sun’s Ryan Wolstat, discussing the move that helped to spring new minutes for rookie Fred VanVleet after Casey determined that Joseph (whom Dwane Casey calls “the heart and soul of the team”) needed “a mental blow (rest).”
“I don’t think I need a mental break. My mind is strong,” Joseph said. “From my understanding, he wanted to give Fred a shot and you know, give Fred praise. He went in there, played his ass off, and we continued to go with him. He had a hell of a game, you know what I mean?”
VanVleet did play well in Cory Joseph’s absence, offering a 15-point, three-assist, three-rebounds in 22 minutes-line that was, well, Cory Joseph-like. Toronto’s defensive troubles weren’t solved, though, as the Magic went on for a 102-94 win on Friday. Joseph played but six minutes.
Those struggles ebbed somewhat on Sunday, as the Raps downed the Nets by a 103-95 score. Those were the Nets, though, and a 2-8 swoon prior to the win in a year that Toronto had been hoped to act as a championship contender can’t be easily dismissed merely after a Brooklyn win that absolutely nobody watched.
Joseph didn’t play in that victory, and Fred VanVleet shot 2-10 from the floor. Kyle Lowry worked 40 minutes despite working through illness and a midgame cut that required four stitches on his right (shooting) arm.
Toronto’s entire backcourt may need to take a very Canadian view of the either half-empty or half-full glass that sits before it.
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