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.
Alvin Williams’ Raptors résumé:
- Fourth in Games Played (417)
- Fifth in Minutes Played (11,736)
- Second in Assists (1791)
- Fourth in Steals (517)
- Ninth in Points (3876)
Those numbers alone are enough to make Alvin Williams an easy choice for the Top-10 in RaptorBlog’s Ultimate Raptors Rankings. Throw in how beloved he was among Raptors fans and his crucial role in the most successful era in franchise history, and you have a top five Ultimate Raptor.
Something about Williams always gave off an underdog feel. Maybe it was that he was a second round pick (48th overall) by the Trail Blazers in the 1997 NBA Draft, that he averaged just six points and 1.9 assists as a rookie, or that he was the main incoming piece in the Damon Stoudamire trade. Add it all together and Alvin faced an uphill battle in winning over the fans in Toronto, but over the years, he proved more than up to the task.
While his numbers were never that impressive, “Boogie,” as he became affectionately known in Toronto, carried a subtle swagger and toughness that Raptors fans are notoriously in love with.
It was 2000-2001, with the Raptors coming off of their first playoff appearance in franchise history (a 0-3 sweep at the hands of the Knicks), when Williams really began to make an impact. That season, Boogie averaged nearly 10 points, five assists and 1.5 steals in about 30 minutes per game to help the Raptors to a franchise-best 47 wins.
In a first round rematch against the veteran Knicks, Williams and the Raptors ensured there would be no encore. Alvin picked his game up when it mattered most, averaging over 17 points in that series to go along with four assists, three rebounds and 1.8 steals.
Then, with the fifth and deciding game needing a perfect ending, Williams provided the final dagger:
Williams came back even better in 2001-2002, upping his averages to 12 points and six assists and playing in all 82 regular season games for the second straight season. He will be remembered for being one of the unsung heroes who rallied an undermanned Raptors team (who were without Vince Carter) to 12 wins in their final 14 games to squeak into the playoffs, where the Raptors then came withing a couple of Chris Childs brain-farts away from rallying to eliminate the heavily favoured Pistons.
Alvin had become a bonafide fan favourite and NBA starter in Toronto, and though the Raptors took a massive step back in 2002-2003, Williams once again improved his own game, enjoying perhaps his best season as a pro.
A knee injury cut his season short in 2003-2004, and he would go on to play just three games total over the next three seasons, effectively ending his career. Williams left the Raptors as the team’s all time leader in assists, a record he held until Jose Calderon recently surpassed his total.
Though he did sign a 10-day contract with the Clippers in 2007, Williams eventually came back to his NBA home, first joining the Raptors as an assistant coach before the 2009-2010 season and now serving as the team’s Director of Player Development.
If ever the Raptors wanted to start a “once a Raptor, always a Raptor” campaign, Alvin Williams would be the perfect pitch man.
Til this day, few Raptors, if any, remain as beloved as Alvin “Boogie” Williams.