All Ball Player Diary

Rookie Diary, Volume 8: Myles Turner

VIDEO: Turner with five blocks against the Raptors

Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks and Myles Turner of the Pacers will alternate on a weekly diary for covering life as a rookie, from challenges and success on the court to adjusting to their new world off. This week: Turner discusses his 2015-16 as the regular season ends and the playoffs begin for Indiana, and his plans for the summer.

The regular season was very up and down, but for the most part I feel like it was very successful. I was able to come out here and do what I needed to accomplish and do my best to help the team get to the playoffs. That’s where we’re at, so I feel like it was a good season overall.

The big games I had are probably the best memories. I had a really big game against the Golden State Warriors. I had 31 points that game. Golden State just proved the other night were the best team in the regular season. Scoring that much on a team like that is pretty incredible. Blocking LeBron, that was pretty cool. I’ll probably remember that for a long time as well. And to be able to start as many games as I did, 30 of the 60 games I played this year, was great. Those are the three that stick out the most.

Earning a spot in the starting lineup was a big boost for my confidence. It meant that my teammates and the coaching staff had a lot of confidence in me as well, that they knew why they drafted me. To get a place in the starting lineup, especially early, that meant even more confidence for me. I was happy I was able to perform.

I proved to myself that I can play at this level. I never had any doubts about coming here and playing at this level, of course, but I didn’t know what to expect. But now I know I can really play at this level.

I wanted to try to make it to Toronto for All-Star weekend. I guess it’s ironic that I got to Toronto for the playoffs, so I guess I somewhat reached that goal. I wanted to be in the Rookie of the Year running. I wanted to try to make one the All-Rookie teams. Hopefully I’ll achieve that goal. My short-term goal was to establish a role on this team and get in the starting lineup. I told myself that I wanted to at least get out there and prove that I can play at this level. I feel like I accomplished those goals.

Making All-Rookie would be a payoff for all the work I’ve put in this year. That was a huge goal of mine coming out of summer league, so to achieve that goal, to have that respect from my peers and respect from the league, would mean a lot.

Being on a playoff team and playing with that pressure as a rookie will help me a lot in the future. It will be very important that I was able to get this experience early. It means there’s no excuses in the seasons to come. I know what it’s like and I’ll be ready to go. To have that experience early I think will be a help to the rest of my career, especially if we can make a deep run this year.

The thumb injury was the low point of the season. I was pretty depressed and couldn’t wait to get back out there. I’m happy with the way I used that time, though. I got my body better. I watched a lot of film. I look at it as a little negative, but I look at more positive than anything.

The physicality was the toughest adjustment. Everyone says speed of the game. The speed of the game came pretty easy to me. But the physicality – facing vets, adjusting to the calls, you don’t get a lot of calls as a rookie from the refs. That was definitely the toughest part for me to pick up.

I’ll be in Indianapolis most of the summer. We have not really talked about it much at all so I’m not sure with my teammates are doing, but I know I’m going to be here in Indianapolis. I’m not sure about summer league. My plan is to play. But it just depends on what the staff recommends and wants to do.

I definitely want to work on my post game a little bit more. Just have more of a repertoire down there. And improve my body, of course, and build off everything I did this year. I don’t want to have any drop offs from this year so I’m going to keep working this summer to improve my overall game.

To sum up the regular season of my rookie year, it was more than you bargained for. In a good way.

Rookie Diary, Volume 8: Kristaps Porzingis


Apr 6, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) on the sidelines during a time out during the first quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Kristaps Porzingis was forced to sit out down the stretch of his rookie season with a strained right shoulder.

Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks and Myles Turner of the Pacers will alternate on a weekly diary for covering life as a rookie, from challenges and success on the court to adjusting to their new world off.

This week: Porzingis discusses his 2015-16 season and plans for the summer.

I think the transition went pretty smooth. Obviously it’s different once you start playing in the NBA. There’s so much attention and everything, but I think it went pretty smooth. It was more difficult for me moving from Latvia to Spain when I was 14, 15 years old than the move now when I moved from Spain to the United States.

That’s the best feeling, that you actually feel comfortable and you feel like you belong there. I think I found that place. It took me a lot longer, for example, when I moved to Spain to feel comfortable and feel like I really wanted to be there. But here in New York, it was right from the beginning. I just felt like this is the place where I want to be for however long my career is. I really feel comfortable in New York and I hope to stay there for a long time.

As far as this season, the atmosphere with my teammates was better than I expected. I was not surprised, but it was nice to see that all of them were really good teammates and good guys that helped me out right from the beginning. Having that was really important for me, just to get adjusted to everything easier. That was one positive right from the start.

My debut was definitely a highlight. The first game. We played against Milwaukee. It was a dream come true for me to step on an NBA floor and we got the win and I had a decent game. It was really a special moment for me.

All-Star weekend was a big moment for me too. I was able to have that weekend with my family. That would be up there.

The No. 1 thing going to the next season will be me knowing what the schedule is like, how tough it is, those 82 games during the season and how well prepared you’ve got to be that schedule. That’s now one thing that I’ll be ready for.

The schedule is just way different in Europe. You play one game a week and you have the whole week to rest, you have the whole week to recover. Here it might be four games in a week. It’s a crazy schedule. That probably was the biggest adjustment for me. And the ball is a little different. The rules are a little different. There’s no three seconds in the paint on defense in Europe and they have that here. Those are the little things I had to think about at the beginning of the season to not get those called during the season.

I’m probably going to stay here in New York for the next few weeks. We have some team activities. I’m going to keep working on my shoulder to recover 100 percent. I don’t really know what to expect after that. It’s my first year. But I’ll definitely stay a while in New York. It’s like my home now basically.

For the most part I’m going to be in New York. I’ll go home with my family, back home in Latvia, and hopefully I can be really away from everything and just relax there. I’ll rest for maybe a couple weeks and get back to work. I’ll probably go to Vegas to work out. I’m not 100 percent sure about the schedule. But I’m looking forward to the offseason because this is going to be a huge offseason for me to come back next season stronger and better and help the team win.

I don’t know yet about summer league. I wouldn’t mind playing. I had fun the first time I played and if I could help out the guys with the triangle or whatever we’re doing and help out the guys and I can be there participating, I’ll be happy.

I also have to make a decision about whether to play for Latvia. I really want to play for my country and compete. I really want to represent my country this summer, but I have to be smart about this decision. I’m going to sit down, take my time, make a decision and then see what happens.

Rookie Diary, Volume 4: Kristaps Porzingis

VIDEO: Prozingis wins the Kia Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for January

Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks and Myles Turner of the Pacers will alternate on a weekly diary for covering life as a rookie, from challenges and success on the court to adjusting to their new world off. This week: Porzingis discusses preparing for his first All-Star weekend, to play for the World team against the United States roster in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge with the best rookies and second-year players on Friday night in Toronto.

I wasn’t too surprised when I was told I had been picked. But it was a goal. I wanted to be in the rookie game. I was already talking about it last season, when I was still in Spain. During this same time, I was talking with my agent and my family that “Hopefully next year or whenever. I want to be there.” So it was a good feeling to make it. It was nice to find out that I was in the game, and I’ll have my parents and two of my older brothers with me.

I would rather play in the game than have the time off during All-Star break. During the season the only thing I focus on is basketball. If you can have a few days off, that’s fine. If not, you keep working. Playing at All-Star weekend was something that I wanted to do and if that’s how it is then I’m not going to get any days off.

I’ve been talking to a few of my teammates and the people who work with the team about what to expect, asking how it’s going to be. Actually you’ve got to do a lot of extra stuff, a lot of media. They’re preparing me for everything that’s coming. They’re mostly telling me that it’s not just one game and that’s it. There’s a lot of stuff going on before. Everybody’s giving me advice.

I’m looking forward to going out there with all the rookies and kind of reuniting with all of them from the rookie transition program before the season. It will be fun. I met all those guys and I stayed in touch with a lot of those guys, so it will be fun to play against them again and have fun out there.

I’m not really trying to meet somebody in particular apart from the game. But it will be nice to see all those famous people out there. Probably not for our game, but more for the big All-Star game. Maybe I’ll get to meet some rappers maybe or other people. I’m not sure yet if I’ll even go to the other events. I might. We’ll see if I stay that long in Toronto.

I’m sure I will be thinking when I’m there about playing in the All-Star game one day. That’s one of my goals, that I want to be there. I want to be an All-Star. Right now I’m really focusing on what’s going on now and not looking two, three, four or five years in front of me. But in the long term, I obviously want to be there. I want to be part of the big event.

That’s motivation for me, how hard you’ve got to work to be there and to make it. That’s one of the rewards you get. To be one of those 24 guys that are in the All-Star game, I think that’s a dream for everybody. But I don’t want to get away from the things that are happening now. I really want to focus on what’s going on now. That opportunity might come, but I’ve just really got to focus on the day-to-day and getting better.

Every event like this is something that stays in your memory. It’s something that you achieved in your first year in the NBA. You’re able to play in the rookie game. That’s a nice thing to remember going forward and looking back 20 years from now and remembering all those good times – my first year, how I got adjusted, how I got picked for the rookie game. Those are good memories. Nothing will be able to replace that.

Rookie Diary, Volume 3: Kristaps Porzingis

VIDEO: Kristaps Porzingis nominee for January’s Rookie of the Month

Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks and Myles Turner of the Pacers will alternate on a weekly diary for covering life as a rookie, from challenges and success on the court to adjusting to their new world off. This week: Porzingis discusses being in contention for Rookie of the Year and what the award would mean to fans in New York and his native Latvia. 

Rookie of the Year is secondary for me. It’s nice to have that recognition and that people recognize what I’m doing for the team. But the best reward is making the playoffs and the team having success there. If that happens then I’ll be able to feel better about the season.

I follow other rookies because I’ve gotten to know some of the guys and we stay in touch. Obviously I’m following the NBA, anything about it, so part of that is I’m paying attention to how the rookies did every game. It’s fun to follow those guys. Hopefully I can play a lot of years with all those guys I’ve met.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor, they’re playing at a fantastic level right now. They’re good for their teams and their making a lot of plays for their teams. Those two are the best rookies I’ve seen. It’s between us three. Those guys are playing really good basketball and I’m trying to do the same thing. I don’t know how you evaluate who’s been the best. Is it team success? Is it only individual success? But they’re good for their teams.

Winning the award will just show a lot of people who thought I wasn’t ready that I was actually ready my first season. That’s nice to get an award. But it all starts with team success. If the team wins, that’s when all those kind of awards come. That’s the main focus. But obviously it would be very nice to receive awards like that.

I think winning Rookie of the Year would mean a lot to people in New York. We could give them some hope that we’re heading in the right direction and I can be a part of that. That would not only be nice for us, the team, but especially for the city and the fans. They’ve been waiting for that.

And I think people in Latvia would be extremely proud of me. It’s not every day we have a player in the NBA and especially one that is able to play in the first season. They would be really proud of me. That’s one of the things I’m trying to do, make them proud.

I don’t know exactly how big it would be there. I think a lot of people know who I am, but I don’t know if they know much about what the rookie award is. They would all be

really happy about it and for me. I don’t think it would be like a championship celebration, but I think they would definitely be happy for me.

Rookie Diary, Volume 2: Kristaps Porzingis

VIDEO: Knicks’ rookie Kristaps Porzingis is all the rage in New York

Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks and Myles Turner of the Pacers will alternate on a weekly diary for covering life as a rookie, from challenges and success on the court to adjusting to their new world off. This week: Porzingis discusses winning over the fans who were skeptical before the draft, especially the young Knicks supporter who was captured crying when New York selected Porzingis but was photographed a couple weeks ago wearing a Porzingis jersey.

Somebody, I think my brother, told me the kid had my jersey a while before the picture came out. I actually saw the kid when we were warming up one day before the picture came out. He was on the sideline and he was giving me high fives all the time, but I didn’t realize it was that kid. His dad was there too, to take a picture, me with him. That would have been real fun to take that picture. We didn’t because I didn’t realize it was that kid and I was warming up. We’ve got to make it happen now. I told my brother whenever he sees that kid he’s got to bring him to the sideline so we can take a picture.

I will joke around with him a little bit, but not too hard. He’s still a kid. What would I say to him? I would ask if it was him who was crying at the draft and why was he crying. To hear the explanation from the kid, that would be funny.

I remember the reaction from fans on Draft Night. It still sits inside of me a little bit. But I wasn’t bothered by it then and now I’m bothered even less. They’re cheering for me now obviously and that’s good. I was able to turn those boos into cheers. But it was more because they didn’t know me, they didn’t know my game, they didn’t know I really loved New York and that was the place I wanted to be. For me to turn them around was not so hard. I just played my game, had a few good games and I think for the most part they kind of fell in love with me a little bit.

I didn’t know how fast it was going to happen until I won them over. But that’s the New York crowd. One moment they’re booing you and you’re not playing well, the next you’re playing well and they love you. That’s how they are. Now they’re cheering for me and they’re happy, but in a month if I’m playing bad or whatever is happening they might boo me again. It’s day-by-day with some fans. It’s day-by-day.

Part of winning them over is my personality and the fact that I know English. But at the end of the day, if I didn’t play well and I wasn’t playing at this level, they wouldn’t respect me the way they do now. They realize that I can play a little bit. That’s what really made them believe.

I’m just being myself basically. I’m not trying too hard. I’m just being myself and if they love it, good, and if they don’t love it, well I’m just going to be myself and the way I am. I’m not going to change or be fake to win over the fans.

There are a lot of Knicks fans in every city. Everywhere we go. I think a lot of people are recognizing me even when I’m on the road. I was the guy everybody was talking about before the draft that nobody knew. I think a lot of people know me because of that, because of the draft. And now that I’m playing well, they kind of got to know me a little more. I can feel it a little bit on the road, that they recognize me a little bit.

But there’s no better place to become a great player and become a great team than New York.

Rookie Diary, Volume 2: Myles Turner

VIDEO: Myles Turner readies for his first NBA season

Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks and Myles Turner of the Pacers will alternate on a weekly diary for covering life as a rookie, from challenges and success on the court to adjusting to their new world off it. This week: Turner discusses being off the court due to injury, and his unique charity work.

I went to the doctor around 8 a.m., right before shootaround before the game against the Atlanta Hawks (Turner missed 21 games with a fractured left thumb). They told me the X-rays looked good and I was cleared to go. I didn’t play that night, but I was definitely excited. I wasn’t necessarily expecting to play so quickly, but our starting center, Ian Mahinmi, was out and our backup center, Jordan Hill, had tooth surgery when we had a back-to-back against Chicago and Milwaukee so I got a lot of minutes (Twenty-two and 17, respectively).

I had heard rumors that they might send me down to the D-League for a couple games to get my timing back and get acclimated to things. But with the injuries, they just threw me right back out there. I was more than happy to be out there and be producing.

I was ready to go. Conditioning-wise, I felt great and I had so much adrenaline that I really wasn’t tired. I was happy to be back out there. It felt fresh, it felt new. It was my first time out there in a long time. I was really excited, to say the least, and especially when I was at home Thursday against the Bucks. I got a big ovation.

That response meant a lot. The city and the team have a lot of confidence in me and they’re expecting big things from me for the future. To have a franchise and a fan base behind me like that, it just motivates me to get better and work harder.

My timing was a little off, with some of the plays we were running. But other than that it wasn’t that bad. Missing all that time wasn’t necessarily too much of a disadvantage. I actually felt pretty fresh out there. A lot of the guys, or most of the guys, in the league are probably tired at this point. They’ve been going for about six or eight weeks now. A lot of guys’ bodies are tired and I’m a little more fresh.

I’ve been involved in the community during my time away. There’s a campaign I have called WARM. It stands for We All Really Matter. It’s something my mom did when she was younger. She always kept little stuff in the back of her car, whether it was jackets, mittens or water, some little supplies that she could hand out to people in need. She did that when I was younger and just passed it on to me. Now that I have some of the funds to back it, I want to grow it more.

I’ve been putting together little care packages that include Kleenexes, water, a little bit of change, assortments of food, hand warmers, mittens, socks. Stuff like that. Anytime I see a homeless person standing out there on the block, I just go hand it to them. I’m trying to keep WARM going.

Anytime I’m driving and I see somebody and I’m not really late to practice or something, I’ll hand them out. I guess I do it 15 times a week. Some of the guys are really thankful, like, “Man, thank you so much. It means a lot.” I feel like it would be different if I had a camera crew following me around or something. I wouldn’t want people getting the wrong idea about what I was doing. The fact that it’s really genuine, I think they really appreciate and respect that.

Some of them will see my height and ask if I play basketball at all. I’ll just tell them, “Yeah, I play basketball in my spare time,” stuff like that. I won’t try to be anybody relevant or anything like that. But if they know who I am then I’ll say, “What’s up,” and just kind of keep it going. It’s something that I’d like to continue during the winter. Me and my parents are trying to figure out something to do when it’s hotter outside.

It means a lot to me. It means that someone like myself is kind of looking out for people. I know if I was in that position I wouldn’t want people looking down upon me or looking at me because of maybe a couple decisions I made that were wrong in life. I like to keep a positive outlook on it.

Rookie Diary, Volume 1: Kristaps Porzingis

VIDEO: Knicks’ rookie Kristaps Porzingis is all the rage in New York

Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks and Myles Turner of the Pacers will alternate on a weekly diary for covering life as a rookie, from challenges and success on the court to adjusting to their new world off it. This week: Porzingis discusses the transition to living in the United States.

I had an idea about America from the movies and New York is in every movie and everywhere on TV. You’ve already seen it, but you maybe don’t see the way people are and little things like that — the culture. But basically, this is what I was kind of waiting for. It’s been nothing unexpected for me.

I’m loving New York so far. The people are great. Everything has been good. The traffic is kind of crazy. And the people. All that chaos is kind of crazy for me. It’s something new, but I think I’m getting used to it. At first I was kind of stressing about it. When I was driving to the game and it didn’t go smoothly and I didn’t get the exit I wanted to. But now when I got used to it I know what’s going to happen and I’m kind of ready for it.

I’m going to need a lot of time to discover everything. But so far, most of the time I’ve been outside the city where I live and just going to the practice facility, working out and coming home and getting some rest. I haven’t really gotten to enjoyed the city that much. I’ll do that when I have more time.

My mom, dad and both my brothers have come with me. My family’s support is everything and my family’s everything. It’s great having them around. Mom’s been cooking, dad’s been watching basketball. We talk basketball all the time. And both my brothers are always there to support me.

Having my family around always helps. You feel good at home, you’re comfortable and you can focus on what you really need to do on the court. They will make everything else as easy as possible on me so I can just do my job. That’s what they’re here for. They’re really making it much easier for me.

And the cold doesn’t bother me. I’m from Northern Europe and I actually like the cold. I love the snow. I always like to have some snow during Christmas time. The cold weather is a part of New York and it’s a part of me too.

I can’t say anything bad about any of the cities I’ve been to. Toronto was really beautiful. I really liked Washington. Miami. The weather and everything was really good. Orlando was nice. I liked Orlando. I haven’t been to L.A. yet, but so far it’s been a lot of beautiful cities. I just haven’t been out much. I’ll probably have more time to do that as my career goes on.

I would like to do some sightseeing, but a lot of times you’re busy or you’re tired and you just want to stay in the hotel and order room service. But whenever I feel like doing that, I try to do that to educate myself as much as possible about the cities. I’m looking forward to going to L.A. The weather is always nice there and my teammate Sasha Vujacic (who played for the Lakers and Clippers) told me he’s going to take me to some nice restaurants. I’m looking forward to that. My family will come with me. Hopefully we’ll have some time and we can spend it together there.

Rookie Diary: Pacers’ Turner on injury, teammates and … bread sticks

Myles Turner

Indiana Pacers rookie big man Myles Turner

By Myles Turner, for

Myles Turner of the Pacers and Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks will alternate on a weekly diary for covering life as a rookie, from challenges and success on the court to adjusting to their new world off.

This week: Turner discusses having to watch much of the start of his pro career because of a fractured left thumb suffered Nov. 11, the support from teammates and coaches, planning to return in early-January … and getting rookie hazing anyway.

When I first heard how long I was going to be out, I immediately wanted to break down a little bit, but I knew I had to remain strong in the situation. These things happen. Injuries are part of the game. I just had to stay up even though I was really frustrated. I realized it’s time for me to reflect and get a little bit stronger in my lower body.

I never would have expected this as the start to my career. Nobody wants to face an injury. I was just starting to get some rhythm going. I just started playing a substantial amount of minutes, about 15, 20 minutes in the rotation. I was doing my role and doing pretty well and building my trust with coach, and it just happened out of nowhere. Of course I was a little frustrated. But once I get back I know I’ll come back stronger.

VIDEO: Myles Turner suffers an injury vs. the Celtics

Everybody has really rallied around me. Paul George, missing almost all of last year, he has gone through more than anybody. He had to miss out on almost a whole year and sit back and reflect. He told me, “Be patient with it, these things happen.” George Hill, he missed a lot of last year too. He told me that he had the same surgery and that it’s something you can come back from very easily. And the coaching staff has been with me too. The whole Pacers organization has been great.

That means a lot. It means that my teammates have rallied around me. I just know that they’re really invested in me and what I can give to this program. Them having my back like that, it definitely means a lot.

I’m there every day anyway. I get to the arena about three or four hours before the games. I still shoot every day. Even though it’s casted up, I can still shoot. I’ve been shooting for the past three weeks now.

I’m hoping to be back right around New Year’s. I’ll probably miss the rest of this month and then get back out there in early January. I know it’s going to be tough after missing so much time, but I’m working on my conditioning right now. The biggest thing is getting back in running shape, moving around the floor. You can do all the treadmill stuff you want, but there’s nothing that can replace being on the floor. I’m getting my wind and my legs back under me. That’s probably the biggest thing, getting my conditioning back up.

I don’t get any sympathy from the veterans because of the injury. I still have to get some bread sticks and donuts for the plane ride. I’ve still got to make sure I get this guy’s soda or do whatever I need to do. They definitely haven’t taken it easy on me.

Yeah, bread sticks. They like the bread sticks. Everybody. I’ve got to get like 30 of them, these special stuffed bread sticks, before the plane rides, plus these special donuts. It’s rough.

I wasn’t expecting any handouts or anybody to feel sorry for me. At the same time, it’s a little tough carrying everybody’s stuff with one hand. Usually Joe Young, the other rookie helps, but he’s in the D-League right now. He’s supposed to come back next week. Hopefully I’ll get some help for the next road trip.

Pat’s Picks: Gladiator gore

By Patrick Patterson, for

Time for another #PatsPicks movie review! Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to an advance screening of 300: Rise of an Empire. For a movie lover like me, it’s always special to see something before it is actually out in theaters. I had seen the first 300 when it was out and was a big fan, so I was very excited about the sequel.

Walking out of Rise of an Empire, I was satisfied, but let down a little bit. The best things about the second one were the battle scenes — there were a lot more visual effects, slow-motion film, and a lot more blood and gore. The visual effects actually helped make it a lot better of a movie than what it truly was, if you pared it down to just the script and characters.

The storyline was underdeveloped and the characters were a little shallow. I was specifically hoping the sequel would explore more of the character Xerxes from the first movie, get more into his background and where he came from, but there wasn’t much of that. It just went back to the fight scenes and attacking Greece.

Another character they could have done more with was Themistocles, again developing him a little bit more, explaining his family history and digging deeper into his life and the way he is.

The female villain Artemisia felt a little bit forced to me — they needed someone strong, someone nasty and ugly, and it didn’t feel like an organic fit in this instance. I did like that they picked an attractive actress; it added another weapon to her battle arsenal. She wasn’t only a skilled combat warrior, but could also make men want her to their own peril.

Overall I give it a thumbs up, a seven on a scale of one to ten. There were eight years between the two movies, I wish they had done more with the sequel instead of relying on visual effects. 300: Rise of an Empire was a fun movie adventure, but don’t go to the theaters expecting academy-level acting. Go see it if you have the time, but you also won’t lose anything by waiting for the DVD rental.

Patrick Patterson is a forward for the Toronto Raptors. You can follow him on Twitter @pdpatt.

NBA Journal: Patrick Patterson

New Raptor Patrick Patterson takes in the sights at Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto.

New Raptor Patrick Patterson takes in the sights at Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto.

by Patrick Patterson, for

Life has been busy since I last checked in with you all.  My NBA season began in Sacramento, but I am writing now as a Toronto Raptor!  Going through a trade and relocating mid-season is a challenge, but I am very excited about where I am.

There were a number of guys at my position on the Kings roster, and I felt like one of the guys who was currently injured would be the go to when he came back, so I was aware of the possibility of being traded.  I also had been hearing rumors about Toronto wanting to move Rudy Gay and had been reading about possible trades online.  I was at the movies with my mom when I received the call from my agent and life got busy from that moment.

I first had to go to the practice facility and grab the things I needed from my locker, like my shoes and a couple of t-shirts.  Then I had to go back to my apartment and pack up everything so I could move.  Clothes were the hardest to pack because it was nice and warm in Sacramento in the winter, and I was headed to Toronto where it was already really cold.  All of my winter clothes were in my house in Houston so I had to have them shipped to Toronto.  I ended up heading to the airport with about three or four suitcases to fly across country to start the next stage of my career.  Luckily, Chuck Hayes and John Salmons were on the flight with me so I wasn’t traveling alone.

As soon as I stepped off the plane, I could see the snow and feel the cold.  There were some people from the Raptors waiting to meet us, we did a few quick videos so the fans could get to know us, and then the transition in Toronto really began.

I have been living in a hotel as most traded players do right after a trade.  We are lucky as NBA players in so many ways, including that we usually eat as a team before and after every practice and game, so I haven’t had to worry too much about cooking.  Plus, there are a couple of restaurants around our hotel that are easy spots to go to and even a grocery store, so I can just walk downstairs if I need anything. For the past couple of days I’ve been looking at apartments and think I have found a new place to call home.

Skyline view of "really cold" Toronto.

Skyline view of “really cold” Toronto.

Toronto is a great city – I had no idea it was the fourth largest city in North America. The people here are great and have been extremely nice.  I have been trying to explore as much as I can but the winter here is brutal!  People rave about the spring and especially the summer, how lively the city becomes, so I am definitely looking forward to that.

Transitioning to a new team can sometimes be tough, but this whole process has gone really smoothly.  I already feel comfortable in the system and have the faith and confidence of the coaches and teammates.  An added plus is that I’m around a great bunch of guys including a few fellow Kentucky alums like our head coach, so it’s nice to be around the Kentucky brotherhood again.

One of the coolest things about the trade is that the Raptors were playing in Washington D.C. very soon after I joined the team, and that is where my mom’s side of the family is from.  I haven’t seen some of them in a long time so I just really wanted to play my best.  When the game was over, I could hear people yelling down the hallway and I already knew it was them. I turned the corner and there were about 30 – 35 of my family members grabbing my teammates for pictures as they walked by, and they went into a big uproar when they saw me.  Just to be able to see them and play well for them meant so much to me.

Here’s my #Patspicks Movie Review!

This week I saw “Paranormal Activity: Marked Ones”, and I have to say, it was a pretty big letdown.  I was expecting it to be scarier with more chilling moments that had you on the edge of your seat.  There were so many times in the first three movies where you wanted to close your eyes, but you were still so interested in what was happening next.  In this one, I felt like there were certain times when they were trying to do too much instead of just keeping it simple.  The demon and spirits in this one also seemed more geared towards a teenage audience. I wish they had just stuck to the formula from the previous movies because I really liked those.

Until the next post, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @pdpatt.