Welcome to Forgotten Raptors Playoffs! All throughout the 2019 NBA Playoffs, we’ll be looking back at past Raptors series — going all the way back to 2000 — and digging into the hidden, underrated, forgotten or straight-up wacky subplots and memories!
We start off with that very first playoff appearance in Raptors history, from the 1999-00 season.
Toronto Raptors (45-37, 6th seed) vs. New York Knicks (50-32, 3rd seed)
New York defeats Toronto 3-0 in the best-of-five series.
What Everyone Remembers
Raptors head coach Butch Carter filed a defamation lawsuit against Knicks center (and former Raptor) Marcus Camby, who said, basically, “no one likes Butch Carter.” (Yes, this is a thing that actually happened!)
What You Should Probably Remember Instead
That the Raptors had one seriously messed up backcourt rotation, and winning 45 games this year was a testament to how amazing Vince Carter was.
Tracy McGrady finally came into his own this season, but that left Butch Carter with a dilemma: Who to start. Starting McGrady at small forward meant starting Vince Carter out of position at shooting guard, which meant that Doug Christie — the best two-guard on the roster — either had to come off the bench or start at point guard. Butch’s other options: 35-year old Muggsy Bogues, all 5’3” of him, or Alvin Williams, who hadn’t yet turned into a reliable player and who Carter understandably didn’t trust.
Seriously, those were the only two point guards on a roster with Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady — unless you count Dee Brown, who had been a two his whole career and handled the ball like he was playing in hockey gloves. Butch never did settle on one player, with Christie, Bogues and Brown rotating in and out of the starting lineup; Christie started Game 1 of the series, then Butch decided to switch to Bogues for Game 2 in order to — allegedly — increase the Raptors’ speed on the floor.
But if you thought the starting lineup was confusing, well, the closing line-up for Game 2 was even stranger. Somehow, Brown, who played six scoreless minutes in Game 1, was on the floor in the closing seconds of Game 2, for the Raptors’ final possession. Down one with eight seconds left, Carter dished to Brown, who ended up taking — and missing — the potential game winning shot.
It was his only shot of the game.
All told, the Raptors backcourt rotation (minus Carter) averaged a whopping 11.6 points on 11-for-41 shooting and 4.7 assists per game in the series.
It’s amazing they were even in these games at all.
What do you remember from the 2000 playoffs? Sound off in the comments!