Thursday, July 22, 2010
Toronto Raptors: All-Time NBA Starting Fives
This fan base was on the right side of VC’s other-worldly 2000 dunk contest performance and on the wrong side of Allen Iverson’s 2001 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Kobe’s 81 and “Hedo Turkoglu: Free Agent”. In the most complimentary way possible, it’s tough to find a team that’s accomplished less but meant more to the NBA in the past decade and a half.
PG- Damon Stoudamire (19.6 ppg, 8.8 apg, 4.1 rpg, 1.5 spg in 200 games)
On the wings of his brief, good-but-not-great run in Toronto, Stoudamire remains the PG standard for the Raptors. Jose Calderon has shown flashes (10 ppg, 6.7 apg in 291 games; 12- 8.6 over the past two seasons), but has yet to consistently put up big numbers or contribute to a winner. He’s mounting a challenge to Stoudamire’s status as the Raps #1 all-time PG, but needs to put up another couple of solid seasons.
SG- Vince Carter (23.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.9 apg, in 403 games)
Vince Carter was the first “superstar” in franchise history, and took the Raptors to within a buzzer-beater of the East Finals, his (and the Raps’) highwater mark to date. In his time in Toronto, Carter won the 1999 Rookie of the Year award, made five All-Star teams, delivered the greatest-ever dunk contest performance in 2000 and, when he was in “Half Man, Half Amazing” mode, produced some of the greatest in-game highlights the NBA’s ever seen. He also remains the franchise’s leader in points, with 9,420.
Long before LeBron publicly took a steaming dump on Cleveland, VC was incessantly jerking the fans of Toronto around, first by insisting on attending his UNC graduation ceremony on the morning of Game 7 of the 2001 Eastern Conference Semifinals (good thing he didn’t have a big day ahead at his seven-figure-salary job), and most notably by admittedly tanking the 2004-05 season in an attempt to orchestrate his exit, thus forcing the team into a pennies-on-the-dollar deal with the Nets. And I won’t even get into the times he avoided contact in the lane, jacked up fadeaway 3s to avoid even entering the lane, or hit the deck (see photo) because of phantom snipers that seemed to follow him around.
Vince Carter’s treatment of the fans of Toronto: sponsored by Summer’s Eve.
SF- Morris Peterson (12 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 801 3-pointers made in 542 games)
This spot should be Peterson’s for the next year or two, but should be transferred to former #1 pick Andrea Bargnani, who developed into a pretty nice player (last season: 15.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 45-83-41 FG-FT-3-pt; career: 12.4- 4.3, 42-83-38), but one might want to look into snatching a rebound or averaging multiple assists per game. Statistically, Donyell Marshall is actually tops this list, with solid scoring (13.8 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg) numbers, and excellent shooting accuracy (45.7%, 41% 3-pt). A young Tracy McGrady (11.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg in just under 25 minutes/game) also got a look, but had yet to fully develop.
PF- Chris Bosh (20.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg in 509 games)
Thing is, as good as Bosh has become- and he’s an excellent player- he’s not a superstar or a true “franchise player”, as evidenced by the fact that during his seven-year stint in Toronto, the Raptors only finished .500 better twice, never won more than 47 games and made the playoffs twice, winning three of eleven postseason games.
While Bosh was a clear and easy winner, a couple of other guys worth mentioning here are Antonio Davis, who averaged a near-double-double (12.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg) in four years (three of them above .500) with the Raptors, and Charles Oakley (8- 8 in 208 games) because he scares me.
C- Marcus Camby (13.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.9 bpg in 126 games)