Archive for the ‘Ultimate Raptors Rankings’ Category

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.

Vince Carter’s Raptors résumé:

- 2nd in All-Time Franchise points (9420) and 1st in Points per game (23.4)

- 3rd in total rebounds (2091) and 4th in total assists (1553)

- 2nd in total blocks (415) and 3rd in total steals (534)

- Leader in P.E.R. (21.8)

- 5th in games played (403) and 3rd in minutes played (15,114)

- Perennial All Star and multiple-time leading vote-getter

- 2000 Slam Dunk champion

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Chris Bosh and Bryan Colangelo

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.

Chris Bosh’s Raptors résumé:

- Second in franchise history, games played (509)

- First in franchise history, points (10,275)

- First in franchise history, rebounds (4,776)

- Five consecutive All-Star nominations as a Raptor (2006-2010)

Starting from when he was drafted fourth overall in the 2003 draft after the most-hyped top three picks in the history of the NBA draft — LeBron, Darko and Carmelo — Chris Bosh has always been viewed by the general NBA fanbase as an afterthought, a nice piece of the puzzle but not a player you’d want to build a team around. The fact that Dwyane Wade was selected right after Bosh in that draft hasn’t helped Bosh’s image as the quintessential sidekick.

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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.

Damon Stoudamire’s Raptors résumé:

- First draft pick in Raptors history (seventh overall, 1995 draft)

- One of two Raptors to win Rookie of the Year Award

- First in franchise history in assists per game (8.8), minimum 200 games played

While he’s not the most famous or most memorable player to wear a Toronto Raptors uniform, Damon Stoudamire has to go down as Toronto’s most notable NBA draft pick because of the way he overcame the doubts of confounded fans who booed his announcement as the franchise’s very first draft pick. With more imposing players like Ed O’Bannon and Kurt Thomas still on the board, many Raptors fans were outraged that then-team-President Isiah Thomas passed on those prospects for the five-foot-10 point guard from the University of Arizona.

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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.

Antonio Davis’ Raptors résumé:

- One of only three Raptors players ever selected to an NBA All Star game (2001)

- Eighth in games played (310) and minutes played (10,808)

- Second in total rebounds (2839) and rebounds per game (9.2)

- Third in total blocks (405)

- Seventh in total points (3994)

After finishing the lockout-shortened 1999 season with a surprising 23-27 record (led by an upstart rookie named Vince Carter) and sniffing the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, the Toronto Raptors knew they had to add to their roster in the off-season to go from a young team merely sniffing the post-season to a team actually playing in it.

Enter big man Antonio Davis, who was brought to Toronto in a trade that saw draft pick Jonathan Bender head to Indiana. The move would prove beneficial for the team and a turning point in Davis’ career.

The 31-year-old Davis filled the important role of veteran mentor for a team stocked with youngsters like Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Morris Peterson and Alvin Williams. The Raptors went on to a 45-win season and the first playoff berth in franchise history, while Antonio put up career numbers of  11.5 points and 8.8 rebounds. Toronto may have been swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the older, wiser Knicks, but they had put the NBA on notice. They were a team on the rise, and Antonio Davis was going to have a hand in that ascension.

The Raps followed up with a franchise-best 47 wins in 2000-2001 before a thrilling playoff series victory in a rematch with the Knicks. They ultimately came within one shot of the Eastern Conference final. As for Davis, he elevated his game from impactful mentor to NBA All Star, putting up 13.7 points, over 10 rebounds and nearly two blocks per game.

Antonio had already endeared himself to Canadian sports fans with a hard-nosed style and all out hustle over his first two seasons in Toronto, but it was his inspiring and admirable performance to close out the 2001-2002 season that will forever go down as his most memorable run as a Raptor. With Vince Carter out for the season and the Raptors reeling (17 losses in 18 games to fall out of a playoff spot), Davis put the team and Canadian basketball fans on his shoulders, and wow, did we ever enjoy the ride?

Davis averaged over 18 points, eight rebounds and a block per game while fully embracing the leadership role over the last 14 games of the season, helping the Raptors go 12-2 over that span (including a nine-game winning straight) and rallying them into the Eastern Conference’s seventh seed and subsequently, a playoff spot.

While Davis enjoyed another good statistical season in 2002-2003 (13.9 points, 8.2 rebounds), the Raptors came crashing back to earth with a 24-58 record. Toronto drafted Chris Bosh that summer and Antonio was shipped to Chicago with Jerome Williams and Chris Jeffries in the middle of the 2003-2004 season in the trade that brought Jalen Rose and Donyell Marshall (and Lonny Baxter) north of the border.

Davis was never much of a factor in the NBA after that deal, and by the time he came back to the Raptors for eight games of the 2005-2006 season, his value was limited to simply being an expiring contract.

While some Raptors fans will always reference his disdain for the metric system when reminiscing about Antonio Davis, I, along with countless others, will always remember the immeasurable heart, hustle and leadership he brought to the table during the most successful era in franchise history.

Like it or not, Antonio Davis is deserving of the fourth spot in RaptorBlog’s Ultimate Raptors Rankings.

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.