Do you think the Raptors have learned from their past mistakes?
I certainly do. I think (President) Masai (Ujiri) and his staff have done a tremendous job. What they've done is taken two All-Stars and surrounded them with a great young group of players that have come together and developed into one of the better benches in the league.
Have the Raptors adapted to a playing style that's more suited to success in the modern era?
I think what they've done is refined what they've done. The coaching staff has done a terrific job going to the strengths of the players and allowing them to do what do to the best they can do it. The coaches have done a terrific job of developing the young guys. I commend coach (Dwane) Casey and his staff.
(As for) Style of play, you adapt to what you need to do to win games. I think our coach has done a great job of adapting to what they need to do. Of course, the game is forever changing, so the key to winning and winning big is to be able to stay focused and to be able to adapt to what's necessary to win.
What's the calling card for this year's Raptors? Where do they excel?
We've improved defensively, our team takes great pride in defense (Toronto ranks sixth in defensive rating). Our shooting is improving on the offensive end (Toronto jumped from 22nd to eighth in 3-pointers made). Our team prides itself a lot in our bench, and the contributions they've made (Toronto has the best in the league by plus-minus).
As someone who played in the '60s, what do you think about how the modern pace-and-space game compares to your era?
The way we played we ran too, so don't get carried away with what we're watching now. The game of basketball is played on the fast break. You get the rebound, get it out, and try to create situations. Basketball is a situational game.
The game is played the same, only the difference is that the 3-point shot as opposed to the 2-point shot. You see all these pick-and-rolls, I made a living off pick-and-rolls. We did that when I played as well. I think the game is more free flowing, perhaps, due to changes in officiating.
Going back to the Raptors, can you speak to the influence that Ujiri has on the organization with respect to his leadership?
He handles himself with class and dignity. He has a great passion for winning. With those qualities, it's easy for people to respond to it. I think the Raptors organization has responded well, not just players but the coaching staff and right on through the organization.
Lastly, what were your thoughts on Ujiri's powerful response to President Donald Trump's crass comment about "s---hole countries"?
I think he handled it with class, and dignity, and responded to ignorance in the way he should have.