If Ranking Every Raptor was based entirely on the memories left behind by ex-Raptors, many of today’s players would have been written about on Day 1. We can’t entirely exclude on-court production and longevity from the equation, though, so consider today’s group of failed free agent signings and hope-sucking black holes as the worst Raptors who also did things of tangible value while on the team.
If you have yet to do so, please check out the prior four installments of the series. Now, let’s get sad.
**90. Michael ‘Yogi” Stewart, C (1999-2002); 121 GP / 3 starts / 1.4 points / 2.0 rebounds / 34.8 FG%
Dammit. Look, man... my system for ranking these guys isn’t exactly what you would call elegant. I threw all the names into a quickly slapped together Google Sheet, started moving them around, and I somehow overlooked Stewart until it was too late. Now he’s ranked at #90 despite being — at the absolute best — an early era version of Lucas Nogueira. I could run a revision, and insert him somewhere more befitting of someone of his talent level, but that would throw all of the fine player ranking I’ve done to this point out of whack. So instead, I’ll pass off Stewart’s longevity with the club in the face of not being any good as an admirable quality worthy of a generous seeding. And hey, it doesn’t hurt his case that he put up four points and three boards in just 8 minutes of playoff action in Game 1 against the Pistons in 2002 — good for a 22.8 PER! Please don’t look at the result of that game.
Michael Stewart: Top-90 Raptor. I guess.
89. Hedo Turkoglu, SF (2009-2010); 74 GP / 69 starts / 30.7 minutes / 11.3 points / 4.6 rebounds / 4.1 assists / 37.4 3FG% / Was fat as shit
While Turkoglu’s across-the-board numbers suggest that maybe he wasn’t as bad as people make it out to be, don’t be fooled. Hedo was trash, and was as loathsome as he was out of shape. The season-long emotional roller coaster he brought fans on from his surprise decision to spurn the Blazers and come to Toronto, to his preseason bout of fatigue, to “Ball,” and beyond, stands next to the last couple years of Vince as the two-most regrettable and disappointing player-team-fan relationships in Raptors history. Hedo was so lethargic, so uninspired, that I’m convinced this commercial was shot with a closed circuit camera in his house that the Raptors simply mined for footage.
The only things keeping him in the top-100 are volume, and the fact that the Raptors have had such an endlessly shitty collection of small forwards that he still probably ranks as one of the better ones. Toronto also had a top-5 offense that year, and Hedo’s shooting splits suggest he may have had a part to play in that, though that feels gross to admit. The Raptors have Kawhi Leonard now, so I shouldn’t still be mad about Hedo. But screw it, I’m still mad about Hedo. He and that shitheel Erdogan are a perfect match.
88. Jelani McCoy, C (2002-2003); 67 GP / 25 starts / 20.4 minutes / 6.8 points / 5.3 rebounds / 0.9 blocks / 49.1 FG%
Toronto’s a franchise whose best centre over the course of an entire decade was Rasho Nesterovic, so the standard isn’t exactly sky-high, but McCoy was probably a top four or five Raptors centre from the aughts. And that’s after taking into account the -0.9 VORP he posted in 2002-03.
87. Clifford Rozier, C (1997); 41 GP / 29 starts / 17.9 minutes / 4.6 points / 5.7 rebounds / 1.1 blocks
86. Reggie Slater, PF (1997-1999); 134 GP / 28 starts / 7.0 points / 3.5 rebounds / 47.0 FG%
Rozier and Slater go down as two of the Raptors’ most successful 10-day contract earners. Toronto needed dudes to soak up minutes in the bizarre early years, and Rozier and Slater did that more admirably than most.
Nowadays Slater is a successful entrepreneur in the Houston area. Rozier’s story is far less uplifting. He reportedly battled schizophrenia for many years before sadly dying of a heart attack earlier this summer at age 45.
85. Antoine Wright, SF (2009-2010); 67 GP / 10 starts / 20.8 minutes / 6.6 points / 2.2 rebounds / 1.0 assists
Some people have said the modern day Warriors are basketball, perfected. They only say that cause we’ve yet to watch a three-on-three game comprised of Antoine Wright, Joey Graham and Mikael Pietrus squaring off against Sonny Weems, Alan Anderson and Jamario . Moon.
Please, Ice Cube. You already have Anderson and Jamario locked in.
84. Marco Belinelli, SG (2009-2010); 66 GP / 1 start / 17.3 minutes / 7.1 points / 1.4 rebounds / 1.3 assists / 38.0 3FG%
83. Juan Dixon, PG/SG (2007-2008); 62 GP / 5 starts / 17.9 minutes / 7.1 points / 1.9 rebounds / 1.7 assists / 36.1 3FG%
Count Belinelli and Dixon as two of the more harmless, efficient bench players the Raps have had under their employ. Both got traded for guys that were significantly less harmless and efficient in Julian Wright and Primoz Brezec respectively. I firmly believe Bryan Colangelo had an “accept all incoming trade offers” policy for a few years there.
82. Ed Pinckney, PF (1995-1996); 47 GP / 24 starts / 21.9 minutes / 7.0 points / 6.0 rebounds / 1.1 assists
Pinckney contested the very first jump ball in the franchise’s very first game. He also was involved in a deal featuring Tony Massenburg and Sharone Wright that had no ramifications, positive or negative, on the eventual trajectory of the franchise. He is the human embodiment of the expansion Raptors.
81. Zan Tabak, C (1995-1998); 119 GP / 51 starts / 7.1 points / 4.4 rebounds / 0.9 assists / 50.8 FG% / Day 1 Starter
Poor Zan was the starting centre for the Raptors’ first game but lost the right to take the jump ball to Pinckney. Tabak of course got the last laugh, as he got to play three more years with the expansion Raptors than ol’ Ed. Sucker!
80. Linas Kleiza, SF (2010-2013); 108 GP / 29 starts / 22.8 minutes / 9.8 points / 4.0 rebounds / 0.9 assists / 1.3 turnovers / 40.7 FG% /
Kleiza’s time in Toronto was essentially DeMarre Carroll Version -1.0. Both eras began with hope for stability at the small forward spot at long last. Then of course, recurring knee injuries held him to 49 games or less in each of his three years. Much like with Carroll’s injury in 2015-16, Kleiza’s return in 2012-13 was always imminent but never came. Kleiza himself insisted all year long his banged up knee was not season-ending. He was right; it ended his NBA career.
79. Chauncey Billups, PG (1998); 29 GP / 26 starts / 11.3 points / 2.7 rebounds / 3.3 assists / 34.9 FG%
Billups shot like Milt in his short stint with the Raptors, so you can maybe sorta understand why the Raptors moved on from him. And it’s not like trading Billups yielded nothing — they scored the first-rounder that became Morris Peterson. But damnit, it would have been nice if they kept him around.
78. Shawn Marion, SF (2009); 27 GP / 27 starts / 14.3 points / 8.3 rebounds / 2.3 assists / 1.1 steals / 15.4 3FG% / Did naaaahhht want to be here
Bryan Colangelo was nothing if not wildly, misguidedly optimistic about all of his crazy ass trades. From a Doug Smith article in the wake of the Jermaine O’Neal / Shawn Marion swap.
Colangelo envisions a Raptor front line of Marion, Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani that provides all the ingredients for a 21-34 team to make a late push for the playoffs. He points to the fact Bargnani was most effective playing alongside Bosh while O’Neal was sidelined with an injury and says Marion should address a gaping hole at the small forward position.
Reading that makes you wanna go back in time, jump in the comments at Raptors Republic, and talk some sense into our thicc-collared lad. He probably thought Marion’s 34-point night in the final game of the lost 2008-09 season meant something. He was never gonna stay, little buddy.
77. Alan Anderson, SF (2012-2013); 82 GP / 14 starts / 10.4 points / 2.2 rebounds / 1.6 assists / 38.4 FG% / 14.0 FGA per-36
Kudos to Allan Anderson. When he was added to the destitute 2011-12 Raptors roster, he fully embraced the chance to hijack possessions in a low-stakes environment in the interest of personal shine. Everyone needs their big break at some point. Anderson’s happened to be a position battle against Kleiza, Dominic McGuire, Mickael Pietrus and Landry Fields.
76. Willie Anderson, SG (1995-1996); 49 GP / 42 starts / 12.4 points / 3.8 rebounds / 3.0 assists / 1.2 assists
He played in the inaugural game and fetched Doug Christie in a trade. That’s all I’ve got, man.
75. Dee Brown, PG/SG (1997-2000); 118 GP / 14 starts / 10.1 points / 2.1 rebounds / 2.8 assists / 5.9 3FGA / 38.5 3FG%
The 1998-99 season saw Dee Brown put up the worst field-percentage ever recorded by a qualified Raptors player who averaged 10 or more field goal attempts a game. Putting up the fourth-most shots on the team (10.1/game) as a bench gunner, Brown connected on just 37.8 percent of those looks. His advanced shooting numbers were salvaged by an ahead-of-the-times approach to jacking triples. In 28 minutes a night that year, he shot 38.7 percent on 7.1 three-point tries a night — a figure only ever touched by Brown and Kyle Lowry (four times).
It’s a damn shame had Milt Palacio’s touch around the rim.
74. Lamond Murray, SF (2003-2005); 95 points / 5 starts / 6.0 points / 2.7 rebounds / 0.8 assists / 40.6 FG%
To All The Bad Small Forwards I’ve Unconditionally Believed in and Loved Before.
73. Jason Kapono, SG/SF (2007-2009); 161 GP / 19 starts / 7.7 points / 1.5 rebounds / 1.1 assists / 44.7 3FG%
Kapono scored a 4-year/$24 million deal from the Raptors the summer after a season in which he shot 51.3 percent from deep and won a title in Miami. He lead the league in three-point accuracy in his first year with Toronto, too, but inexplicably did so on just 1.5 attempts a game, as his three-point rate dropped from 37.3 down to 23.2 percent of his total shots taken. He wasn’t good at much else, so you can see why that shit was maddening. It was like living with a roommate who binge-watches How I Met Your Mother on a loop when the Curb Your Enthusiasm box set is sitting right there.
72. Luis Scola, PF (2015-2016); 76 GP / 76 starts that everyone was definitely chill about / 21.5 minutes / 8.7 points / 4.7 rebounds / 0.9 assists / 40.4 3FG%
Patrick Patterson ABSOLUTELY should have started in his place, and the decision to go back to him at the four in the Conference Finals after he’d sat for two rounds remains one of Dwane Casey’s most insane missteps. Still, it was cool to root for Scola for a year. By all accounts he was a Hall-of-Fame teammate. And those first couple months, with the newfound three-point stroke and those old man at the YMCA ass 20-point outbursts were concentrated doses of basketball bliss. But seriously, Patterson should have started.
71. Jermaine O’Neal, PF/C (2008-2009); 41 GP / 34 starts / 13.5 points / 7.0 rebounds / 1.6 assists / 2.0 blocks / 47.3 FG%
J-O’s failings as a Raptor were more a product of poor circumstances than anything else. He was probably billed as something more than the in-decline 30-year-old he was at the time of the trade. (Remember the batshit Tim Duncan/David Robinson talk about the O’Neal/Bosh pairing?). Injuries kept him from ever getting the ball rolling in Toronto, and Sam Mitchell liked to do stupid things like play him with Bosh and Bargs at the same time. Still, it was an abject failure, and a classic case of asset mismanagement by Colangelo. Not only did it take a first-rounder (Roy Hibbert) to get O’Neal out of Indy, it required attaching another first to him to grease the Marion trade. Yes, they gave up a first for a rental, because BC was an unstoppable monster. They eventually got that pick (Jonas Valanciunas) back from Miami in the Chris Bosh sign-and-trade, but who knows, had USA Basketball’s fail-son not been so short-sighted during this period, maybe that sign-and-trade never becomes necessary.
70. C.J. Miles, SG/SF (2017-2018); 70 GP / 3 starts / 10.0 points / 2.2 rebounds / 12.2 3FGA per-36 / 36.1 3FG% / 4 bench sons fathered
I have significant concerns about Miles’ role with the Raptors this season. Nick Nurse may not be married to running out the five-man bench mob for long stretches, Norman Powell makes money now and should probably get some experimental run, his shooting isn’t really an outlier skill on the roster anymore, and every single one of Toronto’s other wings is a superior defender. It’s possible CJ ends the season as the low man on the Raptors’ wing depth chart.
If the Raptors want to maintain any semblance of character though, they’ll resist the urge to go full bore into switchy, ghoulish utopia and keep Miles and his infectious smile a mainstay in the second unit. We must give Lauren Miles room to slag CJ’s performance on the internet. And the youths aren’t so grown as to not need a father figure in their lives.
69. Matt Bonner, PF/C (2004-2006); 160 GP / 6 starts / 7.3 points / 3.6 rebounds / Career Shooting Line: 49.0-42.1-81.0
Better than it looks upon first glance, extremely useful in a highly important and specific area of the court, but didn’t really do much work in areas where normal people his size tend to live — the Red Rocket really was the TTC personified.
68. Greivis Vasquez, PG (2013-2015); 143 GP / 34 starts / 9.5 points / 2.5 rebounds / 3.7 assists / 38.3 FG% / 1 All-World Shimmy
It’s tough to decide which of Greivis’ contributions to the franchise was the most significant. You could argue that it was the steady ball-handling and dead-eye shooting he injected into what became one of the league’s most effective reserve units. Another candidate is the return he brought back to Toronto when he was dealt to the Bucks: the picks that became Norman Powell and OG Anunoby.
But come on, it’s definitely The Shimmy.
If your first thought just now was “yeah but the Raptors lost that game and got swept,” you’re a cop.
67. Peja Stojakovic, SF (2010); 2 GP / 11.0 minutes / 10.0 points / 1.5 rebounds / 70.0 FG% / 66.7 3FG% / 91.9 TS% / 19.84 Extrapolated Win Shares / 34.0 PER
If we disregard unimportant things like sample sizes, Peja is unquestionably the greatest player in Raptors history. Dude averaged nearly a point a minute in the uniform, and for nearly eight years was the team’s all-time leader in three-point percentage at 66.7 percent before Nigel Hayes went supernova for a game this past season.
66. Jarrett Jack, PG (2009-2010); 95 GP / 56 starts / 11.3 points / 2.8 rebounds / 5.0 assists / 38.6 3FG% / 1 Friendship with Chris Bosh
Jarrett Jack had one job: lure Chris Bosh into a weird Georgia Tech blood oath that forced him to stay in Toronto in the summer of 2010 on pain of death.
He failed. Let’s hope the Pelicans didn’t just sign him as a means of appeasing Anthony Davis.
65. Joey Graham, SF (2005-2009); 275 GP / 58 starts / 6.4 points / 3.1 rebounds / Was not Danny Granger
One time a couple years ago I was playing NBA Live 2006 (on the GameCube, because duh) against my roommate, and my roommate scored 70 points* on me with Joey Graham. As a dumb, foolish idiot who spent four years championing Graham’s potential and refusing to give up on him, getting virtually shitcanned by him was more vindicating than it was embarrassing.
* — said ex-roommate has advised me it was actually 100 points.
64. Sonny Weems, SG/SF (2009-2011); 128 GP / 47 starts / 8.3 points / 2.7 rebounds / 1.6 assists / 47.8 FG%
For a year or two, there was a real question as to which bouncy, shooting-poor member of the Young Gunz had a better career in front of him. Here are DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems’ 2009-10 numbers:
An ill-timed injury here, a developmental breakthrough there and it could have been Weems who ascended to franchise icon status. He’s the Neville Longbottom to DeMar’s Harry Potter.
63. DeMarre Carroll, SF (2015-2017); 98 GP / 94 starts / 9.4 points / 4.1 rebounds / 1.0 assists / 39.6 FG% / Numerous bird-themed tracksuits
I won’t soon forget the thrill of the day the Raptors signed DeMarre Carroll. Not only had they inked Carroll, a dude who excelled in the 2015 playoffs and was doused in 60-win Hawks pixie dust like it was stripper glitter, but there were rumblings of more moves to come. There was the meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge, and the Wes Matthews rumours accompanied by visions of full scale small-ball. It was a day where the Raptors oozed relevance like never before.
A mismanaged foot injury and resultant mismanaged knee injury squashed the hope pretty quickly. And after being salary dumped just two years into the deal his exit quotes reeked of sour grapes. But aside from the first-rounder it cost to send him to Brooklyn, Carroll’s ineffectual stay in Toronto didn’t cause any sort of long-term damage. In fact, his injuries offered a platform on which Norman Powell exploded. And it’s easy but silly to overlook the moments of legit usefulness Carroll had during the franchise’s most successful playoff run. Sometimes relationships aren’t meant to work out. There should be no lingering hard feelings toward DeMarre in Toronto.
62. Mike James, PG (2005-2006); 79 GP / 79 starts / 20.3 points / 3.3 rebounds / 5.8 assists / 44.2 3FG% / 0.0 Offensive Box Plus-Minus / -2.3 Defensive Box Plus-Minus / $25 million earned
Here’s a take: We will never see another stretch of basketball, in Toronto or elsewhere, like Mike James’ close to the 2005-06 season. Right around the New Year, a devilish voice inside James told him that if he disassociated himself from the idea of winning team basketball, he could average 20 points a game and trick a dumb team into paying him in free agency.
With the Raptors 8-22 through 30 games, James jumped on the opportunity to commandeer the offense. From January 1st on, James averaged 23.1 points on 17.1 shots a night, supplanting Bosh as the number one option. In that time he boosted his scoring average from 15.4 to 20.1, canned an insane 45.7 percent of looks from deep, and dropped over 30 points 12 times. Did James oversee losing streaks of seven and ten games as the team’s go-to guy? Was he a defensive sieve on the level of Greivis Vasquez? Was his quest for 20 the least transparent contract year ploy we’ve ever seen? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding yes. And it still didn’t matter to the Wolves.
i'm not sure we've ever fully appreciated the absurdity of Mike James' finish to the 05/06 season— Sean Woodley (@WoodleySean) September 15, 2018
in one double OT game he played 47:19 and shot 5/25 for 15 points. but he also had 10 assists, and was a -22, in a seven point loss.— Sean Woodley (@WoodleySean) September 15, 2018
there was another game, a regulation loss, where he went 9/22 for 19 points and had 12 assists in 46:42. he was a -6. the raptors lost by 4. what a fucking legend.— Sean Woodley (@WoodleySean) September 15, 2018
over the last 12 games of that season James averaged 42.3 minutes, 26.1 points, 7.3 assists and 19.2 field goal attempts. the raptors went 1-11, including a 10-game losing streak. this is a hall of famer.— Sean Woodley (@WoodleySean) September 15, 2018
61. Charlie Villaneuva, PF (2005-2006); 81 GP / 36 starts / 13.0 points / 6.4 rebounds / 1.1 assists / 46.3 FG% / 2nd in Rookie of the Year Voting
Damon Stoudamire and Vince Carter’s Rookie of the Year seasons were great, but they felt almost preordained. Usage and responsibility were served up to them both, all they had to do was keep the egg from breaking. Charlie V on the other hand ...
Villanueva was drafted to a team on which he was locked behind the franchise cornerstone on the power forward depth chart, in a draft year that had a clear-cut favourite to win top rookie honours in Chris Paul. He could have been just a so-so backup to Chris Bosh in year one and the fan base would’ve had no cause to be fussy. Instead, he turned in what remains a top-three rookie campaign in Raps history. And of course there’s the small matter of the time he dropped 48 points on the Bucks’ poor helpless heads. His lone season in Toronto is slept on as hell.
Factor in that he capped off his contributions to the team by fetching T.J. Ford in a trade the following summer and I’m questioning whether he should actually be higher. Charlie V ruled, for one glorious season at least.
Check back Monday as we move into the top-50 in part six!