'Cohesion beats talent when talent doesn't have cohesion': Raptors coaching candidate Sergio Scariolo

Amit Mann is joined by Gianluca Bortolomai of aroundthegame.com to discuss Sergio Scariolo's humble nature and why he would take a team that's cohesive over one more talented. Listen to the full episode on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed or watch on the Yahoo Sports Canada YouTube channel.

Video Transcript

GIANLUCA BORTOLOMAI: He talks always about cohesion. Something that stood with me is talking with Alessandra Tropiano, an LBA-- another LBA representative, in an interview. And he talked about the team, always about the team. She asked him about his strong points, weaknesses. And he didn't speak for himself.


GIANLUCA BORTOLOMAI: He avoided the question. He said, like, oh, I don't want to-- for me to be the judge of my stronger points. And I can tell you my weaknesses if you want, but not my stronger points. And it changed the focus on the team. So it's something that stood with me. And he said something very, very strong, I think, because he said cohesion beats talent if talent doesn't have cohesion.

AMIT MANN: Oh, that's-- speaks volumes in the NBA.

GIANLUCA BORTOLOMAI: Yeah, that's right. And I think that is something that is maybe not missing right now in the NBA, but you can hear it not all the time. You can hear all the time people speaking like that. So I think he's maybe too humble for that kind of environment.

AMIT MANN: It kind of reminds me of the Toronto Raptors, actually, from what we saw this past season, how disjointed they were. They lacked that cohesion that we were used to. And I don't doubt that he'd probably help in that category.

There are a few things that he said from an interview that he did with a crossover. And one point that he said is, I like players challenging me, providing a different view from the court. And I think that's important because it speaks to what you're talking about. There's a humble side to him. It's about the end goal, which is winning. But also, we can do this together. And he's OK to take-- there are a few other quotes here where he's saying things like, the principles that I have within my offense and defense, and we're going to get to that in a second-- those are the principles. But you can deviate from it if you feel something is the right way to go. Like, these are just the guidelines.


AMIT MANN: It's like-- but freedom, creativity is so important in basketball and also-- I mean, again, we're going to get to this in a second-- but within his offense and his defensive structure. You have to put some trust in the players to make the right decisions considering they are on the court. They're the ones playing. They're seeing things from a different perspective. And it's important that a coach, especially in today's NBA-- that you're able to recognize that very fact, that you got to trust your players a little bit.

But at the same time, you are the person who's making the final call. You can hear them. But I make the final call. And I think he has said that, too-- that if you-- I like the way he said this-- that even if a person doesn't believe it the first time I say it, they're going to believe it the third time and the fourth time and the fifth time because these are the things that I believe in. However, we can be flexible.

GIANLUCA BORTOLOMAI: No, no. That's for sure. When he talks, the players listen. And I think, of course, the respect is automatic when you see what he accomplished in his whole career. But I think it's the person more than a coach-- than the coach that captures the focus of the players.


GIANLUCA BORTOLOMAI: And I think he's very good with it because he's able to talk to young players, like Nico Mannion-- for example, I'm talking of the players he has right now in Bologna-- he's able to connect with a very young player like Nico Mannion or a veteran like Marco Belinelli or Teodosic. And it's something very, very important. And as you said, it's something that the Raptors needs because they were a cohesive unit until a certain point. And right now, especially last season, they weren't. And I think that says something about the choices that the front office is doing around the coach choice because Kenny Atkinson, I think, is pretty similar to Scariolo.

AMIT MANN: Same with Darko, too. Yep.

GIANLUCA BORTOLOMAI: Yeah. They're trying to recreate that kind of cohesion, that kind of sense of together-- the group, the being together to achieve something greater. And I think both-- all the three coaches are great in that. Of course, I have to cheer for Sergio because it's our coach, for sure. But I think that's the goal of the front office, to have a coach that, first and foremost, recreates that kind of group.