Toronto Raptors All-Time Starting Line-up
To say the Raptors’ choice in players is diverse (ethnicity and skill-wise) would be quite an understatement. In its 20 years of existence, Toronto’s NBA team has employed legends (in the NBA and in Rucker Park) and guys who could barely get buckets in a local gym. As a part of the 20th anniversary festivities, we take a look back at the top players for each position in club history.
Point Guard: Kyle Lowry
Dec 12, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) looks to play the ball during the second quarter in a game against the Indiana Pacers at Air Canada Centre. The Toronto Raptors won 106-94. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
This was the hardest of the 5 positions to pick. It definitely could have gone either way between Lowry and Mighty Mouse. Both point guards were adept at both scoring and distributing the rock.
Stoudamire put up solid numbers during his time in the T-Dot averaging 20 points per game, 8.8 assists per game, 1.5 steals per game and won Rookie of the Year Honors in 1996. He was the first star in franchise history thanks to his quickness and range on his jumper. Unfortunately, when you have Tracy Murray and Sharone Wright among your primary scoring options, winning games were few and far between. During his three years in Toronto, the Raptors posted a 67-179 record with Stoudamire at the point.
This brings us back to Lowry. Although he hasn’t been with a team for very long (this season being his 3rd season), his impact is undeniable. In his first two seasons with the Raptors, he already has more wins (82) than Stoudamire did in three seasons with the club. Granted, the teams in those two seasons were much better than whoever Stoudamire had to play with, yet everybody knows Lowry is the engine that makes this Raptors team run. Clutch, tough and in the midst of a career year, the Villanova product is being counted on to lead the team to even greater heights.
Shooting Guard: Vince Carter
Honorable Mention: DeMar DeRozan
We go from the hardest selection of the bunch to the easiest. Realistically, who else would be chosen as the best Raptors’ shooting guard than the best player in franchise history? We are all pretty much familiar with Vinsanity’s exploits at this point.
More from Tip of the Tower
- Cam Phillips making his mark on Toronto Argonauts offence
- Toronto Argonauts: 4 storylines ahead of matchup against Redblacks
- Federico Bernardeschi ready for new challenge with Toronto FC
- Toronto Argonauts overcome Roughriders in entertaining Touchdown Atlantic
- Buffalo Bills: Von Miller drawing inspiration from Bruce Smith
The 2000 Dunk Contest. All those game winners. The time he dunked over the 7-footer. His scoring duel against Iverson in the 2001 playoffs. The list goes on. I can sit here and point out every single accomplishment VC had in a Raptors uniform. Or you can fix yourself a nice little snack and watch some Vince Carter highlight clips on Youtube. You’re welcome in advance.
Small Forward: Tracy McGrady
Over the years, the Raptors have employed a wide array of players in the small forward position. You had solid defenders like Doug Christie, smooth shooters like Mo Pete, and athletic freaks like Jamario Moon and Terrence Ross.
However, Tracy McGrady had all those attributes rolled into one package. Although he only spent three years in Toronto, the sleepy-eyed star from Mt. Zion Academy can make a strong case for best Raptor this side of Vince Carter. T-Mac posterized his fair share of defenders (he participated in the 2000 dunk contest remember!), provided shut down perimeter defending and showed glimpses of that smooth offensive arsenal that would eventually win him two NBA scoring titles.
Power Forward: Chris Bosh
Mar 17, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Miami Heat center-forward Chris Bosh (1) goes to take a free throw against the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre. Miami defeated Toronto 108-91. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
The power forward position has been a bright spot throughout the franchise’s history. You had guys that can shoot like Bargnani, fan favourites like Jerome “JYD” Williams, and the all important “glue guy”, Amir Johnson.
However, the best of the bunch is clearly Chris Bosh. He holds many franchise records (points, rebounds) and led the team to their first ever division title. You can point out the fact that he bailed on the Raptors to join LeBron and Dwayne Wade, or you can call him out for looking like an actual dinosaur, but either way you cut it, there’s no disputing his rightful place as the club’s best power forward ever.
Center: Antonio Davis
The best center to technically ever play for the Raptors is undoubtedly Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon. Unfortunately, the Raptors picked him up when he was way past his prime and “the dream” turned out to be a nightmare.
Current Raptors’ big man, Jonas Valanciunas, is definitely showing promise and will probably be taking this spot in the future.
But for now, the title of best center in Toronto Raptors franchise history goes to Antonio Davis. In his four years in Toronto, Davis teamed up with Charles Oakley to provide toughness and the leadership while a certain set of cousins were busy putting defenders on posters. While some may recall Davis being selected to the 2001 All-star team, many forget that he actually ended up STARTING that game (yes, it was as an injury replacement but he started an All Star game nonetheless!). And who can forget the improbable playoff run of 2001? Minus their star player, Davis rallied the troops to go 12-2 down the stretch and secure the 8th seed in the East on the last day of the season. Although the Raptors would eventually lose to Detroit in 5 games, it would be Davis’ blue collar work ethic and physical style of play that Raptors’ fans all over would love.
What do you think Raptors’ fans? Who is in your all-time starting five for the Raptors? Let us know in the comments below.