The 30-year-old guard-forward delivered the message in emphatic fashion in Wednesday’s loss to the Kings with the drive and thunderous slam (seen above) as part of a strong 21-point, six-rebound performance.
“That’s what I do, I energize my team,” said Pietrus after Thursday’s Raptors practice in Utah. “That’s what I was doing before my knee surgery. Right know, my knee surgery is behind me and I’m like a brand new Ferrari… I still can fly like MJ!”
While he’s happy to talk about a potential personal return to form after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in June, Pietrus is quick to shift the conversation to being a part of a Raptors team turnaround this season.
It wouldn’t be a first for the native of France.
“To me, being here it’s a deja vu,” said Pietrus. “What I mean by that is I was with the Warriors a couple of years ago, we didn’t play extremely well the first part of the season, but it took us until the last game [of the regular season] to make the playoffs.
“So I think as a vet, I’ve been there, I’ve done it. Don’t let our heads down. Just keep playing and making adjustments with our defence and good things are going to happen, I promise you.”
Pietrus is referring to the 2006-07 Warriors, who saw a six-game losing streak drop them nearly 10 game under .500 in March. That group rallied behind the mantra “We Believe” and went on a 16-5 run to end the season and make the playoffs.
While the context of his new situation is undeniably different, Pietrus believes it can happen again with these Raptors.
“We believed. We stayed together and that’s what we need on this team,” said Pietrus. “Breed that chemistry and make others accountable.
“We need everybody on this team and it doesn’t matter what your contract is. It depends on how you’re willing to work everyday for the team’s success. That’s the message we are trying to translate to ourselves.”