This is the longest post I’ve ever done. Peruse at your leisure.
- Morris Peterson
A surprisingly short career for a player with the tools he had. Peterson was in every way a man before his time. Standing 6’8” and boasting legit 3-point range, you’d have to imagine that if Peterson arrived in the league today, he would be treated to the 21-Delay, drive and kick offence so many teams adopt. Instead be spent his time running with the Vince Carter era teams of the early 2000s, teams that had shooters but stuck them for the most part inside the arc. One thing that must be said about Mo Pete is his early loyalty to the Raptors franchise. As you’ll see on this list, it was something of a style to play out your rookie contract in Toronto and then move on to another team. If we like to complain now that Toronto isn’t taken seriously as an A list city, you should have seen what it was like in the late 90s. Peterson’s tenure with the Raptors started in 2001 where a team featuring Vince Carter, Charles Oakley and Antonio Davis took the 1st seeded 76ers to seven games. Peterson stayed on the Raptors for seven years which shows a loyalty to winning over area code. Peterson’s apex came the year after Vince left, in which he put up a solid 16 points, 2.5 assists, and 3.5 rebounds a game, shooting 40% from 3 on nearly 6 attempts. Peterson was never a star, but he was a great complimentary player and valued winning enough to stay in Canada. If nothing else, he’s better than the other scrubs behind him on this list. Jeez, you should see my full extended list. When I was brainstorming for this I went through and just wrote down names, I spent half an hour thinking of people before I realized I was considering Linas Kleiza vs. C.J. Miles. It gets bad fast.
- Tracy McGrady
Weird to see T-Mac this low right? Wrong.
McGrady may very well have the strangest career of any blue chipper in the 2000s. We remember him on Orlando where he was dropping 32 every night, guarding four positions, and helping to invent the point-forward offence. And yes, McGrady at his best was as talented as maybe anyone to play the game. We Raptors fans like to remember that it was here in Toronto where he made his start, but if you take a look at his time on here, you’ll find it’s not as impressive as we might like to think. Drafted out of high school in 1997, McGrady only spent three years in Raptors colours where he averaged 11 points, 2.5 assists, and 5.5 rebounds. He took a leap in his third year, but he left to play for the Magic the next season where he won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. Do you know what that award means? It means you were mediocre, and now you’re good. So, where do you think he spent his mediocre years? If we were just looking at his best McGrady would be better than anyone on this list not named Kawhi Leonard, but we’re only looking at the Raptors years here and this is where those years land him.
- Andrea Bargnani
Oh boy. Here he is folks, the most disappointing player to ever put on a Raptors jersey, the biggest loser in our 25 years as a franchise, and despite it all, the 13th best player in our history. You all know the negatives; we drafted Bargnani 1st overall in 2007 one slot above LaMarcus Aldridge. Despite having deceptively good lateral mobility, he was an egregious defender protecting the rim, in the post, and against the pick-and-roll. He was one of the most lackluster rebounders we’ve ever seen, and he never gave consistent effort on the offensive end either.
So why is he 13th? We must remember that just because he’s a disappointment doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a failure. Bargnani wasn’t a bad NBA player (I think I just threw up in my mouth), he was a 7-footer with real offensive gifts both from range and close to the basket. He had really good hands, he could step out and shoot threes, and was an 82% free throw shooter for his career. When he was asked to carry the offensive load from 2010-2012, he averaged 20 points a game, but through it all he was never good enough to be a star. We asked him to be a star when we drafted him first overall and he wasn’t, we asked him to be a star when Chris Bosh left for Miami and he wasn’t. Bargnani is not Chris Bosh, he’s not LaMarcus Aldridge. Andrea Bargnani was the best player on maybe the bleakest team in Raptors history. I remember during that time seeing some insurance commercial come on the TV and the two Raptors they had promoting it were Andrea Bargnani and Terrence Ross. One of the lowest points of my life. He was a big disappointment, but I’d imagine if you slotted him in as a role player for a good team he would have been remembered differently. Imagine what Bargnani could have been playing with Steve Nash’s Suns or backing up Dirk on the Mavericks. He could have averaged an important 14 and 5 for a good team, instead he averaged an empty 21 and 6 for a bad one.
- Jose’ Calderon
Apex Jose’ Calderon? In the 2009 season he averaged 13 points, 9 assists, and 3 rebounds, shooting 50% from the field, 40% from 3, and freaking 98% from the free-throw line. I don’t care how good your aim is, the laws of probability and physics make it almost impossible to shoot 90% from the line, and he shot 98%. Calderon may have only missed 3 free throws that season, but his stats are not why he’s ranked above players with bigger names than himself. If Bargnani consistently underachieved in his role as a star, Calderon was the exact opposite. He was an overachieving role player. Caldy was the Raptors equivalent of Steve Kerr; a great shooter, a steady contributor, and knew never to try to do more than what he was capable of. To be winner in this league you have to have some adults on your team. I’m not talking about age or size or skill, I’m talking about maturity. There are all-stars who are not adults, there are rookies who are, and Jose Calderon was a model NBA adult. He knew who he was and consistently gave you quality minutes. The reason he doesn’t rank higher on this list is because his stretch with the Raptors did not result in much winning. Over the eight seasons Calderon played for the Raptors the team averaged a rough 29-53 record and never made it past the first round of the playoffs. Calderon’s legacy could have been bolstered the way Kerr’s was by playing on a great team, but not everyone can play with Michael Jordan. Instead Calderon will be remembered with reverence by the few who bother to remember him.
(Fun fact about Jose’ Calderon: he owns a massive pig farm in his home country of Spain. He claims to have the best product on the market and credits the quality of Spanish ham to the pigs having an organic diet of mainly walnuts. Go figure.)
- Damon Stoudamire
One of the strangest NBA careers of the modern era, Damon only spent two years with the Raptors, but during that time carved out a place as the franchise’s first and only star. Why is his career strange? He was drafted by the Raptors in 1995, the team’s first year in the league. He didn’t want to come to Canada in the first place and could barely keep a look of disappointment off his face while he shook David Stern’s hand on the podium. He then went on a rampage his rookie year averaging 19 and 9 with 1.5 steals a game, taking home the rookie of the year and looking like the league’s next great point guard. He spent one more year with the Raptors where he averaged basically the same numbers before demanding a trade and being shipped to Portland. With the Blazers his numbers plummeted to 12 points and 6 assists a game. He tread water with some average teams there, having some solid seasons but never reaching the heights he did in Toronto. In the end, Stoudamire went to play two seasons for the Grizzlies before his body betrayed him, he played a few games for the Spurs but was out of the league before his 35th birthday. A sad end for what should have been a great career.
So why is he here? You have to remember that during those first two Raptors years Stoudamire was breaking rookie records left and right. He was lightning fast, a deadeye shooter, and the team’s first star. Did it ever amount to anything? No. Did it last very long? No. Did he even want to play for the Raptors? No. But for those first two years he was being compared to guys like Oscar Robertson. I really considered putting him higher. but I’d imagine #10 would put up better numbers than Damon if everything flowed through him. I guess Stoudamire left a lot to be desired, but for a minute there he was really really good, and that’s more than you can say for the guys below him.
- Fred VanVleet
His chapter in our franchise’s history is far from over, but Freddy V already has a one of the most impressive resumes of any Raptor ever.
Steady Freddy may not be the most accurate nickname out there, we saw in last year’s playoffs how his inconsistency can hurt the team, but that also speaks to how important he is to the Raptors offence. VanVleet’s size means his offensive identity all stems from his jump shooting, but when the man is firing on all cylinders he has gone toe to toe with Stephen Curry in the Finals. It’s really kind of amazing, he’s a player with so few natural gifts, he’s often the smallest man on the court, he doesn’t have game changing ups, he’s not even that fast, but he has a knack for outthinking his opponents. Being able to play the game with your mind rather than your body is a skill very few players can boast, often reserved for the LeBron James’s and James Hardens of the world, but Freddy’s got it too. He can bomb shots from deep, he’s a career 84% free throw shooter and 40% 3-point shooter, he can finish around contact, and has a real underrated handle too. VanVleet’s dribble is one of the most underrated parts of his game, not because he’s an incredible space creator or ankle breaker, but because his is one of the most unpluckable ball handlers I’ve ever seen. The way he maintains his dribble in traffic, how he can weave through guys and stay under control is why we call him Steady Freddy.
The Raptors have had players like VanVleet in the past so why does he rank this high? A few reasons. First and most importantly, he won a championship. Not only that, he played so well in the Finals that he actually earned himself a vote for Finals MVP over Kawhi Leonard. It was probably a gimmick, but that’s how good he was in that series. Secondly, Freddy has put up these numbers and been this vital to team success all while playing second fiddle to Kyle Lowry. His stats have never been empty, every point he scores matters, and having him out there makes the Raptors a more dangerous team. And lastly, Freddy is one of the few pure-blooded Raptors we have. Most players who join the team do so as a pit stop or as part of a trade but Freddy is one of the few guys who was drafted by the Raptors, made his name on the Raptors, and looks locked into a future with the Raptors. For a market that doesn’t attract big name free agents, his loyalty is valued even more, and in the case of Fred VanVleet, it’s great to see someone who was brought up so entirely under the wing of the organization. Coming off last year’s playoffs and this year being the best statistical season of his career, Fred VanVleet’s place in Raptors history is only likely to grow. The people love him, even if only has one facial expression.
- Serge Ibaka
Is it weird that Serge has become so underrated? It feels like only yesterday that we stole him from the Magic in that trade for Terence Ross and the pick that would one day be Anžejs Pasečniks (I consider myself pretty good at foreign pronunciation but I’m not even gonna attempt that).
Serge has spent close to four seasons with the Raptors, during which he helped break the franchise season wins record twice. It’s no coincidence that Serge brought a winning energy to Toronto. The two-time blocks champion was always more of an energy guy during his stint with the Thunder, but it was here in Toronto that he evolved into a truly skilled NBA big. Though we’ve seen his rim protection decline as he ages, how he’s been able to adapt to the modern game is a real achievement that shouldn’t go overlooked. Transitioning from power foreword to center was the easy part, Serge extended his shooting range a little more every year to the point where the defence has to respect him from out there. He doubles as the lifeblood of the team alongside Kyle Lowry, he’s the Raptor most likely to punch someone in the face (something every great team must have), and he’s been among the league leaders in defensive win shares for the past three years.
In research for this blog I started to realise how much we take Serge for granted. Do we remember that he was the key to the “Big” lineup we ran in last year’s playoffs? That he’s the sole addition to the front line that held Giannis to his lowest series field goal percentage since his sophomore year? Or that he was the only guy besides Kawhi that could hit a shot in game 7 of the Philly series and nailed two massive threes in that fourth quarter to keep us in the lead? Is anyone even aware that this season, despite turning 30 and being moved to the bench, he averaged a career high in points with 16 a game? Or that he upped his 3-point shooting to 40%? Maybe he isn’t the athlete he once was, and you won’t see him block 4 shots a game anymore, but Serge Ibaka has played better basketball for Toronto than he ever did for OKC. Last season I was on the fence on whether the Raptors should invest in Serge or Marc Gasol as their center for the future, but there’s no question anymore, Serge is the man.
- Doug Christie
One of the great 3-and-D players we’ve seen, I like to think of Doug Christie as a rich man’s Danny Green. Did you know that only 20 guards have ever made 4 or more all-defensive teams? Doug Christie is one of them. Christie’s time with the Raptors overlapped with the Vince Carter era and the first stretch of consistently good basketball in Toronto. He falls into the category of guys whose skill sets were before their times. A decorated defensive player like Christie will always be valued, and as a 6’6” guard he had the pleasure of taking on some of the best players in the league (Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, etc.). I feel like modern basketball would have complimented his offensive game even more. A great all-around player who spent the prime of his career on winning teams, that’s all you can ask of your non-all-stars. Christie’s all-defensive team honours will buoy him historically and his playing for consistently winning teams means he can walk around swinging that 500. career win percentage like a big guy in a locker room. Swing batta!
It’s a shame really how the world has forgotten about him. Basketball players often need some sort of niche to stay relevant after they retire, that’s why so many great centers get forgotten. Moses Malone, Willis Reed, Nate Thurmond, Dave Cowens, Alonzo Mourning, these are all all-time greats and hall of famers, but they get forgotten because they’re all rebounding and defensive minded and gritty, with no signature moment or singular quality to set them apart. I anticipate this happening with the wing players from this era. Not the LeBrons or Durants obviously, but the next tier down. Will Kris Middleton be talked about by kids 30 years from now? Or even Paul George? I doubt it to be honest. The same thing happens with Doug Christie. A really talented two-way player that gets lost in the shuffle because his name is Doug and he doesn’t stand out.
- Antonio Davis
Finally, some all-stars! It’s a little disheartening when you make a list like this for other franchises and see how many all-time greats they have. Did you know the Boston Celtics have had 33 Hall of Famers if you count coaches and executives? They’ve also sent 28 different players to the all-star game over the course of their history. The Raptors have sent…7. Better than the Grizzlies at least who have only sent 3. Yikes!
Anyway, let’s talk about Antonio Davis. Another guy who gets lost in the shuffle due to the strength of his era. Antonio Davis made his name as the lesser of the two Davis brothers, playing alongside Dale Davis and Reggie Miller on the Pacers. Antonio Davis may have played second fiddle to Dale and Rik Smits in Indiana, but it was with the Raptors where he blossomed into an all-star. Taking on the challenge of all the great centers during the 90s, AD averaged a solid 12.5 points, 9 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks a game with the Raptors, peaking in 2001 where he averaged 14, 10, and 2 blocks. Davis had all the tools of an elite big man, he was a physical specimen with cannon-like arms and good foot work, he could shoot the midrange jumper forcing defenders to play him honest, and had the quicks at 6’9” to blow by his guys and get to the rim. Looking at his skillset you’d expect him to have a more impressive career. Playing on good teams with all-star perimeter players to compliment him, making deep playoff runs, and being able to be a factor on both ends of the court. Sounds great, right? So why wasn’t he better? I think it had a lot to do with playing in other player’s shadow’s. Antonio played college ball at the University of Texas El-Paso (a good school, not a legendary one), he was drafted by the Pacers as the 48th pick, and he was stuck as the third banana behind Dale and Smits all throughout the 90s. It wasn’t until he left for Toronto that AD blossomed into an all-star, but by that time he was already 31 and had his stunted prime cut short by injuries and father time. We only got to see three years of an unleashed Antonio Davis, lucky they coincided with Vince Carter so we could see some playoff runs. My point? You need some luck if you’re gonna make it in the NBA.
- Pascal Siakam
I’m gonna try and keep this brief, partly because his prime has only just begun and there’s no way to tell what he’ll be for the next five years, and partly because I will be talking about him for as long as I have this blog and don’t want to get too repetitive. I’ll just say this, there are dozens of players who exceed expectations, we crown a Most Improved Player every year, some of those MIPs go on to be stars and some don’t. I’ve watched players improve leaps and bounds over the years I.E. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Hedo Türkoglu, but none of those players have ever threatened to win the MIP twice. Pascal Siakam’s improvement as a player has already been honoured, but I don’t think enough people understand how historic it is. In 24 months Pascal has more than tripled his scoring averages, nearly doubled his assist and rebounding numbers, all while maintaining respectable percentages. But it’s so much more than the numbers with him. Siakam has joined LeBron, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Anthony Davis as one of the best post-scorers on the planet, he’s a point-wing-forward-centre, whatever you want him to be, he can create his own shot on all three levels, AND (and I try to stay away from hyperbole but fuck it) name one true power forward in the history of the league that has a better handle than Pascal Siakam. Last season he went from a role player to a borderline all-star, this year he went from a borderline all-star to an all-NBA talent. Those of us who watch 99% of all Raptors games can break down his 2020 almost-star to super-star transition.
October: Any doubt that Spicey-P would flourish as an alpha is immediately shot in the face as he averages 27 points through the first 10 games of the season.
November: Ok he’s a star, but can he be the focal point of the offence? Yes. Pascal fully refines his dribble and post game turning from an elite system scorer to the head of the Raptors’ spear.
December: Teams start treating Pascal like a star, doubling and denying him the ball. It takes him a while to figure out how to beat that and be effective while playing as a facilitator but he figures it out.
January: Coming back from injury forces Pascal to be a little more cautious with his body in games. He relies more on his jump shot for a stretch and, look at that! He evolves from a 3-point shooter to a 3-point shot creator.
February: Siakam starts to develop a killer instinct. It’s not that he’s coasting his minutes early in games, he just doesn’t play with a petal-to-the-metal attitude for 48 minutes. But if the game is on the line late? It’s startling how he can flip that switch. He stops taking jumpers and drives it hard to the rim, slashing and dancing around slower bigs and finishing through wings. There were a couple games late this season where we were giving a bad team too much opportunity and they made it close in the fourth quarter. In all of those games Pascal swooped in and buried them basically single-handedly. That’s not a star, that’s a superstar.
- DeMar DeRozan
You might hear me say I have a complicated relationship with some of the players on this list. I say that but it’s rarely true. Bargnani was on my favourite team but he sucked and we lost all the time. There, explained. Vince Carter was really good for us for a minute but then got pouty and stabbed us in the back. There, explained. But my thoughts on DeRozan? That is a bit complicated.
I remember previous eras of basketball, but it was during the Lowry/DeRozan years that I became an obsessed NBA fan. Bosh was my first love, Bargnani was the unfortunate rebound, but DeRozan was my first serious relationship. 4 all-star games, 2 all-NBA teams, and the star scorer on one of the best teams in the league. People nag him for not being able to shoot threes but he was a pretty great scorer at his best, peaking in 2017 where he averaged 27.3 points a game. You can watch him play today on the Spurs, he’s still a great athlete (he was elite when he was young, watch his dunk highlights), and while his offensive strengths are not always the most effective, they are fun to watch. He has a smoothness to him and a patience that is rare in this league. His quirks are quirky, they make him different and an entertaining watch.
Where it gets complicated is after he was traded. While he was on the team, I thought he was one of the best players in the world. I defended his faults and praised his strengths. I was such a big DeRozan fan that I took some pretty strong stances on him being better than the other 2-guards in the league (Jimmy Butler and Klay Thompson, shhh). It wasn’t until after he was gone that I was able to view him with some perspective. To continue with the girlfriend analogy, when we were together, I thought they were the most amazing person in the world. It wasn’t until after the breakup that I realized they were just fine.
Even if he consistently fell short on making the jump from star to superstar, and often choked in the playoffs, DeRozan’s greatest gift to Toronto was creating a winning culture here. He and Lowry turned one of the most dejected franchises in the league to what it is now, and though DeMar could never win us a championship, it was on his bedrock that the foundation of our title was built.
- Chris Bosh
Guys who chose winning over personal glory; Bill Russell, Kevin Love, Klay Thompson, Clyde Drexler, George Washington, Severus Snape, Spider-Man, and Chris Bosh. It’s interesting that Bosh is best remembered for his time as a third wheel on the Heat. It’s only to be expected, the city of Miami, the attention around LeBron, the championships and long playoff runs, being on national TV every night, it doesn’t surprise me.
When Bosh chose to go to Miami and win titles nobody in Toronto blamed him. He had given us seven years of stellar play, highlighted by two playoff appearances and a 2010 season where he put up an efficient 24 and 11. Where Vince had weaseled his way out of Toronto in disgrace, Bosh’s departure was about as gracious as you could have hoped for. We understood that he had done all he could for us and that leaving the city was nothing personal but the best move for his career. It was very Canadian on both sides. We could talk about his Miami years, how he became one of the greatest 3rd options ever, how it was he who got the offensive rebound that led to the Shot in 2013, but you’ve heard it all before. He got his rings and went down in history. How could you ask him to give that up for six more mediocre years putting up stats in Toronto?
All I ask is that the world remember how good Bosh was when he was “the guy”. How he was one of the first stretch bigs once we really started understanding how useful they were, how he dragged some pretty bad Raptors teams to the playoffs, how he was an all-star 11 out of his 13 years in the league, and how much skill he had to have to cut it as a star. He wasn’t a freak athlete, he was a finesse big man, like Dirk rather than Shaq.
All of this to say that Bosh has one of the highest approval ratings of any star I can remember. He was smart and eloquent and gracious off the floor, and a damn good basketball player on it. He was beloved in Toronto and left like a gentleman. Even in Miami, when they were proudly adopting the “villains of the league” moniker, Bosh was never hated like LeBron or Wade. I just ask that we remember Bosh in his entirety, he was the guy who got me into basketball and I’ll always be grateful for that.
- Vince Carter
The most polarizing player we’ve ever had, Vince’s career in Toronto is a bit like Popeyes chicken; it’s incredible while it’s happening, but it’ll take 15 years to recover from and forgive how it left you.
Why do I rank Vince 3rd? His highs were high and his lows were low, but I don’t think we remember either accurately. What was his great career achievement? A dunk contest? A second-round duel with Allen Iverson which he lost? Vince’s flair is his greatest asset, but that’s not basketball, a windmill dunk is worth just as much as a layup. Remember how I said Doug Christie is underrated because of his lack of a calling card? Vince is the opposite, overrated because he was so distinctive. Vince had six years with the Raptors, two of which he spent being a mopey ball of angst of which my 15-year-old self would be proud. He peaked his third year in the league and spent his time as an alpha succeeding in meaningless moments and not working as hard as he should, coasting on his natural gifts. I don’t know if you can tell but I’m not the world’s biggest Carter fan.
All that said he’s still a hall of fame level player. He holds the record for most years in the league, he was an 8x all-star and 2x all-NBA guy, and at his apex he battled Kobe Bryant for the title of top SG in the league. But that’s not the biggest reason he ranks this high. While I do shake my head at how his dunks and flashiness have grossly inflated his legend, it might have saved all basketball in Canada. Let me explain; in the late 90s, basketball was not only suffering in Canada, it was suffering around the world. The combination of Jordan withdrawal, league expansion diluting team talent, and the cultural clash of moving into the hip-hop era resulted in the ugliest era of basketball we’ve seen since the 1960s. Moving to Canada was not helping either, players didn’t want to play here and Canadians weren’t particularly interested in the NBA. The teams sucked, the fans sucked, it all sucked. Then Vince shows up like a bolt of lightning and pulls not only Canadians, but the entire world to Raptors games. He was the most popular player on the planet, and there is no doubt in my mind that if the Raptors didn’t draft Vince Carter, they would have been moved to another city just like the Grizzlies were.
Vince saved basketball in Canada, it’s a fact, but we have to remember that he did it with cool dunks. He was always a better entertainer than winner and that’s ok, but when comparing basketball players it has to be about playing basketball.
- Kyle Lowry
The Raptors have had some all-stars in their history, a few all-NBA guys too, but Lowry is the only one who could credibly pull off the speech from Braveheart.
The dude is a dog, he’s not the most talented star we’ve had or the most skilled but no Raptor has ever given more of himself to the team. His signature move? Taking the charge. I’m about 5’10”, 170, I’ve taken charges in pickup games against guys who are around 6’3”, 250, and let me tell you, that shit hurts. Lowry’s about 6’0”, 190 and he takes charges against guys who are 7’0”, 300. Ouch. Over the past four years Lowry has set an NBA record for most charges taken with 105.
When we won the title in 2019 Kawhi was our best player, but Kyle was our leader. He was the one who exploded for 14 points in the first quarter of game 6. Kyle Lowry is the antithesis of Vince Carter; he doesn’t play with flash but with grit and determination and heart. He’s played for three franchises throughout his career, but he will always be a Toronto Raptor to me. I would follow that guy to the bottom of the ocean.
- Kawhi Leonard
One year, that was all it took to crown Kawhi the greatest Raptor ever. Everyone knows that in that one year he accomplished more than anyone else who came before him and reached a higher level than any other player we’ve had’, but what makes one season of Kawhi better than eight seasons of Lowry?
- Kawhi will go down as one of the 30 greatest players ever and he spent the best season of his career with the Raptors. It is the signature year of one of the all-time greats and he spent it here. That holds weight.
- He had one of the greatest statistical playoffs ever. He snagged the title of top player in the league from LeBron James and dethroned a Warriors team that was supposed to win like 12 titles. That playoff series is legendary, from The Shot against Philly, to dunking on Giannis, to hitting the final free-throws to seal the deal in game 6 of the finals.
- Everyone else who even comes close to Kawhi’s level didn’t stay on the Raptors for too long anyway. Vince left, Bosh left, DeMar was traded. I value longevity, but Kyle is the only one who can ride that high horse and he’s never really been a superstar.
- The competition isn’t that tough. The Raptors have one championship, we’ve never had an MVP or another top player of all-time. Vince is the closest thing we had to a world class superstar and we all know how that went. We are not the most decorated franchise is what I’m saying, so one year of Kawhi goes further here than it would on say, the Lakers.
If you wanna argue that Kawhi’s year in Toronto was a pit stop, that he was never really a Raptor, that his time with us was hollow, then I ask what you really want from your basketball team? This is what we play for, a championship and a world-class superstar who takes us there. If you would rather tread water as a solid B+ team for ten years then be my guest, but then why are you even competing? At some point, winning has to be about winning, not coming close or setting personal bests, but actually winning. With Kawhi we got a taste of greatness, we took a big swing and it landed. Sure, it was short-lived, but it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to basketball in Toronto. With Kawhi, we were winners.