When the Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard, the franchise leveled up. For 23 years, the Raptors have lacked a truly life-changing superstar. Vince Carter came close to reaching the upper crust, albeit during one of the deepest talent nadirs in league history, and the Kyle Lowry-DeMar DeRozan duo won a whole lot of games. But none of those players are Leonard, who is without question the best player (ya, ya, if he’s healthy, whatever blah shut up) Toronto has ever employed.
With the team graduating to a new stratosphere come the start of the 2018-19 season, it seems like an appropriate time to reflect upon all the good, fine, bad and Araujo players who have paved the way for Leonard’s arrival since the autumn of 1995.
Because it’s the off-season and I frankly have nothing better to do, I welcome you to join me over the next few weeks as I compile the definitive ranking of all 218 players to have worn the the black, white, red and/or purple (plus a couple notorious hold-outs for round numbers’ sake).
Before you get mad, please note that this is a crudely compiled ranking with mostly arbitrary criteria. A player may appear at a higher spot on the list if I have a personal connection to something he did for whatever reason, or if he had a particularly strong-but-short stint with the team. Guys who were around during eras of winning will also grade out favourably. On the flip side, dudes whose numbers may have been unremarkably crappy will see a slide if they had a particularly notable blunder or if their existence on the roster was exceptionally damaging to the health of the franchise. All of this is to say, please don’t get confrontational if you think Anthony Carter was snubbed while Omar Cook is 10 spots higher than a more refined statistical model might have slotted him.
With that disclaimer out of the way, we begin the countdown with the shittiest of the ... well ... mostly shitty.
220. Alonzo Mourning, C (2005); 0 GP
This list was supposed to be reserved for guys who actually wore a Raptors uniform at some point. Zo is worthy of the exception. Last year I was in a vintage jersey store in Chicago and found an authentic mid-90s red Mourning Heat jersey for $22 and went out of my way to not purchase it, lest he receive a minuscule royalties cheque. Screw that dude, forever.
219. Kenny Anderson, PG (1998); 0 GP
Zo’s cowardice has done wonders for taking the heat off of Kenny Anderson, who blazed the trail Mourning would one day walk down in his refusal to report to Toronto after the Vince Carter trade. Anderson was the best player scored by Glen Grunwald in the O.G. Raptors star trade in which they got fleeced: the Damon Stoudamire deal. Anderson refused to report, and was dealt to the Celtics five days later. Why didn’t Anderson suit up for the Raptors exactly? Let him tell you:
why didn’t you come to toronto https://t.co/LfzG2bv0Xt— Sean Woodley (@WoodleySean) February 11, 2018
It wasn't about basketball my guy !— Kenny Anderson (@chibbs_1) February 11, 2018
Alvin Williams also being part of the Stoudamire package from Portland helped ease the sting of missing out on Anderson, and it’s hard to really hold a grudge against Anderson, a guy with a troubled and tragic past that he’s starting to put behind him.
But never forget: he was the first big name guy to refuse the call to play in Canada.
218. LaMark Baker, PG (1999); 1 GP / 2 MPG / 0.0 FG% / 0 other NBA games played
Baker is the owner of the least significant career in Raptors history. He played 2 minutes in one game on February 6th, 1999, going 0-for-1 from the field with a turnover. Not only was this his only game for Toronto — it was both his first and last game in the NBA. Incredibly, he achieved the milestone at age 29, seven years after his career as a guard at Ohio State ended, having played for half a dozen teams that might as well have been the Flint Tropics in the mean time.
Say what you will about the brevity of his NBA stint, but it’s way cooler to have had a hard-earned single-game career than, say, the career of number 181 on this list.
217. William Cunningham, C (1999); 1 minute played / Club Trillion
216. Bob McCann, PF (1998); 1 GP / 5 minutes / 0 buckets
215. Garth Joseph, C (2001); 2 GP / 1.0 points / 1.0 rebounds / 0.5 assists / Was very tall
214. Ed Stokes, C (1998); 2 GP / 0.8 points / 1.0 rebounds
Behold the Mount Rushmore of irrelevant Raptors big men. In a combined 31 minutes across eight games, this prolific quartet combined for five points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks — or, a pretty good Jonas Valanciunas quarter. Cunningham and McCann share the honour of being two of three players to go scoreless during their Raptors tenure — Baker being the third.
213. Rick Brunson, PG (2004); 3 GP / 1.3 points / 0.7 assists / numerous accusations of sexual abuse and misconduct
A garbage person who was also a garbage Raptor.
212. Nathan Jawai, C (2009); 6 GP / 0.3 points / 0.3 rebounds / 0.5 personal fouls
Aussie Shaq’s underwhelming Raptors career wasn’t entirely of his own volition. His NBA debut was delayed due to a preseason heart condition discovered by team doctors. After that, the tag-along piece in the Jermaine O’Neal trade was never really afforded a chance to stake a claim to a higher spot on this list. Playing 19 scattered minutes over 6 games in 2008-09, Jawai managed just a single bucket and a pair of rebounds, good for a small-sample but still hilarious PER of -7.6.
211. Malachi Richardson, SG (2018); 1 GP / 5 minutes / 2 points
Richardson will probably climb the list this year, sort of by default, assuming he scores a few more garbage time minutes than the five he earned last year. Down in these depths, you’re just a bucket or two away from the the top-200.
210. Antonio Lang, SF/PF (2000); 7 GP / 0.4 points / 0.7 rebounds / 0.6 steals.
Hoo boy did Antonio Lang ever not do a damn thing with the Raptors. Seven games, 32 minutes played, three points — and it was all on free throws — five boards, four steals and and 0-for-5 mark from the field.
209. Chris Garner, PG (1998); 38 GP / 7.7 minutes / 1.4 points / 1.2 assists / 0.6 rebounds
Garner’s probably the worst guy to play a semi-significant amount of minutes for the team. He turned his 293 total minutes (140th in team history) of floor time in to literally less than nothing: a -0.4 VORP, comprised by a 36.3 True Shooting Percentage, a 5.6 PER and an individual Offensive Rating of 77 points produced per 100 possessions, among other other ghastly statistical achievements. It will come as no shock that he finished out his pro career playing for teams like the Memphis Houn’Dawgs, the Columbus River Dragons, and the 2000-01 Golden State Warriors.
208. Aleksandar Radojevic, C (2000); 3 GP / 2.3 points / 2.7 rebounds / $2.7 million earned
For a franchise that has pissed away a lot of draft picks, it’s a special accomplishment for Aleksandar Radojevic to be the most wasteful selection of the bunch. The 7’3 Bosnian centre was the 12th-overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, played in the season opener, got hurt, played in the last two games before the playoffs and missed his entire sophomore season, during which he was shipped to Denver in the Keon Clark trade. Clark would go on to surpass all of Radojevic’s career totals with within a week. More on him much, much later.
207. Uros Slokar, C (2007); 20 GP / 1.9 points / 0.7 rebounds / 0.1 assists / no other teams played for
Whiffing on second rounders is something of a tradition in Toronto, so it’d be unfair to say Slokar is the crummiest player the team’s ever taken in the back half of the draft. He’s just the worst one that actually made it to the NBA.
206. Rafael Araujo, C (2004-2006); 139 GP / 75 starts (fucking seriously?) / 2.8 points / 2.8 rebounds / -0.4 Win Shares
What a truly wretched basketball player. No player sums up the post-Carter / pre-Colangelo / Mike James era of this team more. I do not have the strength to discuss Not Andre Iguodala at length. I hope Rob Babcock gets a job with the Celtics or some other team I hate.
205. Ronald Dupree, SF (2010-2011); 3 GP / 1 bucket
204. Linton Johnson, PF (2008); 2 GP / 3.0 points / 0.5 rebounds / 0.5 assists
Johnson and Dupree each spent just 10 days with the team, and could probably be ranked lower, but I respect the hustle of guys who scraped out an existence on the 10-day circuit enough to boost them above Araujo.
203. Hassan Adams, SG (2008-2009); 12 GP / 4.3 minutes / 0.9 points / 0.6 rebounds / 30.8 FG%
Hassan Adams’ greatest accomplishment on Canadian soil didn’t even come with the Raptors. At the 2004 FIBA Americas U20 Championships in Halifax, Adams ranked third in scoring on a gold-winning USA team that featured the likes of Chris Paul, Sean May and Adam Morrison. Adams averaged 11 points a game during that tournament; he scored 11 combined in 12 games with the Raptors.
202. Micheal Williams, PG (1999); 2 GP / 1.0 points / 0 more games played after leaving Toronto
The Raptors have a storied history of employing bad Williamses. Micheal is the worst of the bunch.
201. Zendon Hamilton, PF/C (2003); 3 GP / 2.0 points / 1.3 rebounds
Back in 2003 the Raptors perused the NBA Live ‘03 free agency list and scooped up Hamilton on a ten-day deal. He did not get a second ten-day.
200. Tim Kempton, PF (1998); 5 GP / 0.8 points / 1.0 rebounds / 1.4 personal fouls
199. Earl Cureton, PF/C (1997); 9 GP / 0.8 points / 1.0 rebounds
Full disclosure, I have no clue who the fuck these dudes are. Tim Kempton sounds like a referee. Earl Cureton sounds like a lazily named fictional pharmacist. Both of their NBA careers came to and end following their unceremonious stints in Toronto.
198. Herb Williams, PF/C (1996); 1 GP / 6 points / 8 rebounds / 2 blocks / 31 minutes
Herb Williams probably would be higher up than those other two Williamses you’re thinking of had he played more than just a single game with the team — a 16-point loss to Utah on February 2nd, 1996. If you want to bump Herb up in your personal ranking simply because he was attached to Doug Christie in the deal that brought him to Toronto, by all means. The fact that he was back on the Knicks a week after the original trade due to what could only have been some shady, expansion Raptors-ass backroom deal keeps him as the second-most insignificant Williams on this list.
197. Negele Knight, PG (1998); 6 GP / 1.3 points / 1.3 assists / 1.0 rebounds
Knight was Anthony Parker before it was cool to return to the NBA and play for the Raptors after a stint in Europe. Following a reasonably successful 270 game run with Phoenix, San Antonio, Portland and Detroit, Knight took a couple years off before playing in Switzerland in 1997-98. He closed out his playing days in 1998-99 with his six-game stint in Toronto, for which he was paid north of $500K. A wise business decision his return to the NBA was.
196. Jannero Pargo, PG (2004); 5 GP / 14.2 minutes / 3.6 points / 2.4 assists / 31.0 FG%
I was under the impression that Pargo spent his 10 NBA seasons as the backup point guard for four different iterations of the Hornets and nothing else. I’m a tad shaken right now.
195. Austin Daye, SF (2013-2014); 8 GP / 4.1 minutes / 1.0 points / 0.9 rebounds / 23.1 FG%
The best thing you could say about Austin Daye’s Raptors career is that it was his trade to San Antonio that brought us Nando de Colo, who’s still gonna come back to the NBA one day, I just know it.
194. Mengke Bateer, C (2003); 12 GP / 0.8 points / 0.8 rebounds / 23.5 FG%
Bateer came to the Raptors after winning a championship as a bench-warmer with the Spurs in 2003. And while he didn’t beef up his resumé with the Raptors, it’s pretty goddamned cool that he went out as the only Chinese-born player to have won a ring.
193. Tyrone Corbin, SF (2001); 15 GP / 1.3 points / 0.9 rebounds / 23.7 FG%
Corbin had an enviable NBA career spanning 16 seasons, 1065 games and nine different teams. He was even one of the early faces of the expansion Timberwolves for a couple years. The 15 games he played for the Raps to close out his career did not alter his legacy, and in fact may have been more successful than his coaching tenure with the Kings.
192. DJ Augustin, PG (2013-2014); 10 GP / 8.2 minutes / 2.1 points / 1.0 assists / -0.2 VORP
It’s a damn shame DJ Augustin arrived in Toronto after José Caldéron’s departure. He would have been the weakest in a long line of would-be challengers to the Ham King’s starting reign. Credit to Augustin, though, I guess. Short and nondescript stays with Toronto have typically been a harbinger of involuntary ends to careers (see like half of the names above), whereas Augustin is about to be the starter for the Magic ... in 2018.
191. Sean Marks, PF (1998-2000); 13 GP / 1.5 points / 0.2 rebounds / 0.0 assists
I wonder if every time Sean Marks made a basket during his time with the Raptors the hoards of NBA Internet bros fell over themselves to praise him on the form of his jumper. Or does that just happen when he makes marginal moves as the Nets GM?
190. Brad Lohaus, PF/C (1997); 6 GP / 7.5 minutes / 1.7 points / 1.2 rebounds / 26.7 FG%
189. Jake Voskuhl, C (2008-09); 38 GP / 6.3 minutes / 0.9 points / 1.6 rebounds / 26.7 FG%
Jake Voskuhl is just Brad Lohaus if Brad Lohaus happened 10 years later.
188. Benoit Benjamin, C (1997); 4 GP / 11 minutes / 3.3 points / 2.3 rebounds
187. Roy Rogers, PF (1998); 6 GP / 11.5 minutes / 2.2 points / 2.0 rebounds
Six players have played for both the Vancouver Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors. Benjamin and Rogers are the two worst ... not that the other four were all that much better. I’m coming for your head soon, Milt.
186. Haywoode Workman, PG (2000); 13 GP / 1 start / 1.5 points / 1.3 assists
Workman’s a referee nowadays, so he’s contractually obligated to conspire against the Raptors. Is he taking revenge for having his career ended by his low-double-digit game stretch with the Raptors, the way so many other noble careers were halted before and after him? Who’s to say.
185. Jimmy Oliver, SG (1997); 4 GP / 2.8 points / 1.0 rebounds / 30.8 FG%
Not gonna lie, every time I tried to write this blurb, I kept confusing Oliver with Jimmy King and went to go write a different blurb.
184. Julyan Stone, PG/SG (2013-2014); 21 GP / 5.7 minutes / 0.9 points / 0.6 assists
Stone goes down as the least important piece of the 2013-14 Raptors team that reversed the one-way flow of sewage the franchise had been for much of the prior 10 years, but he was part of it nonetheless. For that reason he gets placed ahead of a some guys who, you know, scored baskets once in a while.
183. Corie Blount, C (2004); 16 GP / 18.4 minutes / 2.4 points / 4.3 rebounds / 38.3 FG%
From a 2009 ESPN report on Corie Blount being sentenced to a year in prison after being arrested with 29 pounds of weed in his possession:
Although Judge Craig Hedric did not sentence Blount to the maximum 10 years in prison, he rejected Blount’s claim that the marijuana was intended for personal use and to share with friends.
”Cheech and Chong would have had a hard time smoking that much,” Hedric told Blount.
More like .... ahem ... Corie Blunt.
But for real, his record should be expunged along with anyone else who’s been convicted of a pot-related crime.
182. Art Long, SF (2002-2003); 7 GP / 11.4 minutes / 2.9 points / 2.9 rebounds
Fun fact! Art Long was once involved in a 2002 three-team trade between the Nuggets, Rockets and Sixers that included a first round pick. That pick was then sent by Denver to the Nets for Kenyon Martin, only to again be shipped off, this time to the Raptors in the Vince Carter trade. That pick became Joey Graham. Art Long’s run in Toronto was about as meaningful as that first trade.
181. Anthony Bennett, SF/PF (2015-2016); 19 GP / 1.5 points / 1.2 rebounds / 29.6 FG%
Poor guy, man. Bennett probably didn’t make the best possible move when he signed with the Raptors in 2015-16. Until last year, it was probably the deepest team ever assembled in Toronto, and offered very little in the way of opportunity for Bennett. It certainly didn’t help that his highest-scoring game with the club came in the same game he was asked to guard Dirk Nowitzki for like nine minutes. Dirk dropped 20 points without even a single working knee ligament.
Mercifully, it can only get better from here. Marginally, at least. Come back Monday for players 180 through 151.