Morris Peterson

The Ultimate Raptors Rankings are the RaptorBlog editors’ attempt to rank the top 30 Toronto Raptors of all time. These rankings are obviously somewhat arbitrary and endlessly debatable, but they’re based on each player’s contribution, performance and longevity as a Raptor, and on how beloved they are by Raptors fans. We’ll count down a new Raptor every other Wednesday on this blog.

Morris Peterson’s Raptors résumé:

  • 1st in games played (542)
  • 1st in most consecutive games played (371)
  • 2nd in minutes played (16,060)
  • 3rd in points (6,498)
  • 1st in three-pointers made (801)
  • 2nd in steals

Morris Peterson’s résumé speaks for itself. He didn’t spend his entire NBA career with the Raptors, but in seven seasons and 542 games, his prime years were in Toronto. He was never the best player on the team and he never approached All-Star status, but from February 12, 2002 through November 20, 2006, Peterson played in every single Raptors game. I can’t say this was “through the good and the bad” because the Raptors were mostly bad over that period. In fact, his streak began with the Raptors losing 13 games in a row and 17 out of 18 games – although they improbably squeaked into the 2002 playoffs with a 42-40 record by following that calamitous run with a 12-2 finish to the regular season.

Mo Pete was drafted 21st overall in 2000 and he went on to be easily the best player the Raptors selected out of the lottery who played a game in their uniform. He didn’t have one exceptional skillset, but he did a few things pretty well. He was a solid defender, a dangerous outside shooter and he is generally believed to have a been a good teammate. This isn’t to say that he didn’t excel at anything — he was as durable as they come in the NBA, and outside of Toronto, he was criminally underrated for his circus-shotmaking ability.

When Peterson was at the peak of his abilities in the mid-2000s, I held a belief of strong certainty that he could average 20 points per game if he really applied himself in practice. Based on his proclivity at making circus shots and halfcourt heaves, I think he probably spent too much time working on those “talents” in practice and not enough time on the other 99 percent or so of the game.

But let us not dwell on the possibility that Mo Pete didn’t live up to his potential. I prefer to remember him for moments like this…

And this…

And you had to know I wasn’t going to leave out this…

As great as Chuck Swirsky’s call was, the Wizards’ announcer’s reaction is 10 times funnier. Sadly, that video can’t be embedded so you’ll have to hear it on YouTube. If you haven’t heard this before, trust me when I say it’s absolute gold.

I wouldn’t go so far as saying that Morris Peterson was among the most beloved Raptors of all time, but I don’t know a Raptors fan who doesn’t remember him warmly. He had an obvious love for the game, a winning smile and he was as reliable as anyone who ever put on a Raptors uniform. Every Raptors fan from that era has a favorite “Mo Pete moment” (Remember this?) and there are only a handful of players in franchise history you can say that about. If there is one regret about Peterson that some fans still have, it’s that he didn’t finish his NBA career as a Raptor.