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!
Today we look at the least memorable series in Raptors history: The Eastern Conference quarter-finals in 2008.
Toronto Raptors (41-41, 6th seed) vs. Orlando Magic (52-30, 3rd seed)
Orlando defeats Toronto 4-1 in the best-of-seven series.
What Everyone Remembers
Uh... does anyone remember this series? I think the only thing anyone remembers is that Sam Mitchell decided to start 7-foot sophomore Andrea Bargnani at small forward in the first two games of the series. You can guess how that worked out.
What You Should Probably Remember Instead
You should probably just forget this series ever happened, but if there is one slightly hilarious thing about it, is that it’s the best that Jason Kapono ever looked in a Raptors uniform.
Kapono signed with the Raptors as a free agent following the team’s unexpectedly successful 2006-07 campaign, when they won the Atlantic Division with 47 wins and went six games with the Nets in Round 1. Kapono himself was coming off a successful campaign with the Miami Heat, in which he shot a blistering 52% from downtown on 3.1 three-point attempts per game.
But Mitchell couldn’t figure out how to use Kapono in the Raptors offense, and although his three-point percentage remained high (he led the league and he won the three-point shooting contest at All-Star Weekend), his attempts dwindled to 1.5 per game. Raptors fans were left to wonder: What the heck are we paying this guy $24 million for if he isn’t gonna shoot threes?
And then: Kapono was finally unleashed in the playoffs.
Against Orlando, Kapono fired up 24 three-balls in five games — that's 4.8 per game! And he made 13 of them! He more than doubled his scoring, from 7.2 points per game in the regular season to 15.8 ppg — second-best on the team next to Chris Bosh — in the playoffs. He played 30 minutes per game! He was
Alas, it wasn’t enough, as the Magic — bigger, stronger, and with better all-around shooting, not just one hot hand — thoroughly outplayed the Raptors over the course of the series, gifting Toronto a home win in Game 3 for the “gentlemen’s sweep.”
The following season, Mitchell once again struggled to find a role for Kapono, and his attempts went back to 1.6 per game; once Jay Triano took over, Kapono found a better groove, averaging 3.6 attempts from downtown and 8.5 points per game in 63 contests.
Kapono was traded for Reggie Evans after the 2008-09 season.
Got any memories from the opening round against Orlando in 2008, or have you blocked it out entirely? Tell us how you really feel about Jason Kapono in the comments!