With both the Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs out of the playoffs, it’s time to get a little creative.
Turn on any NBA playoff game this summer, and you’re likely to see a familiar face. Exactly half of the teams in the playoffs this season feature at least one former Toronto Raptor. But, would a team made up of every former Raptor currently playing in the ’20-21 playoffs be able to hang with superstar-laden Brooklyn and LeBron-led Los Angeles and win a championship?
This story will outline what a roster made up of playoff-bound former Raptors would look like, and divide them into three groups (starting five, playoff rotation and benchwarmers) to see if the squad I dub “Raptors Reunion” would have what it takes to win it all. Let’s get into it.
Patrick Patterson – Los Angeles Clippers
Since departing from Toronto after the ’16-17 season, Patterson has played with the Thunder and Clippers, primarily as a bench piece. The 13-year vet got into 38 games with the Clippers this season, averaging 15.3 minutes and 5.2 points per game. He’ll see a similar role with the Raptors Reunion squad.
Alfonzo McKinnie – Los Angeles Lakers
Waived by the Raptors in 2018 after playing just 14 games with the club, McKinnie has played on four different teams over the course of his four year career. This season, the 28-year-old got into 39 games with the Lakers, although he only averaged 6.6 minutes played. A product of the Raptors development program, McKinnie has made himself stick in the league. He’s also had the privilege of playing with both LeBron James and Steph Curry, putting him in rare air among his peers. On this team, his role would be limited to mop-up duty.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – Portland Trail-Blazers
Hollis Jefferson just missed out on the Raptors’ championship year, as he arrived in ’19-20 for his sole season in Toronto. RHJ logged significant bench minutes with the Raptors in the pandemic-shortened season, and started six games for the team. However, when the playoffs began, he saw his role shrink. Hollis-Jefferson moved on to Portland for ’20-21, but has only played in 11 games with the Blazers.
Matt Thomas – Utah Jazz
It came as quite the shock when Thomas was traded to the Jazz at the trade deadline this season for a second-round pick. Fans were pining for more playing time for the sharpshooter from Iowa State, as the Raptors struggled down the stretch. Alas, it was not to be, and Thomas has seen little change in his newfound role with the Jazz. His shooting makes him a candidate to come off the bench for Raptors Reunion, but only in a pinch.
Alex Len – Washington Wizards
Once thought to be a potential solution for the Raptors’ centre woes, Len played seven games for the team before being waived and scooped up by the Wizards. Due to Thomas Bryant tearing his ACL this season, Len has made 40 starts for Washington, although he doesn’t log starter-type minutes. On a Raptors Reunion team that is heavy on bigs, he is a contingency plan.