Welcome back to the Raptors All-Time awards!
As explained in Part 1, the goal here is to take the regular end-of-season NBA awards, and hand them out to specific Raptors based on their accomplishments in a Raptors uniform.
In that Part 1 we ran down all the individual awards: MVP, Rookie, Coach and so on. So this time out, we’ll name our three All-Raptors All-NBA teams, two All-Raptors All-Defense teams and two All-Raptors All-Rookie teams, just like the NBA does at the end of each season.
I’m basing my selections for this using the same criteria the NBA uses for its end-of-season honours. This means that for the All-Raptors All-NBA and All-Raptors All-Defense teams, I must select two forwards, two guards, and one centre. For the All-Raptors All-Rookie teams, I can choose any five players, regardless of position. We’ll select the teams, mention any notable omissions, then provide any explanations or justifications necessary.
Let’s start with the young’uns. Remember this particular selection is a single-season recognition — how good these players were in their rookie seasons as Raptors. For the other teams, it’s cumulative based performance over a player’s career in a Raptors uniform.
All-Raptors All-Rookie Team
- Damon Stoudamire (19 points, 9.3 assists, 1.4 steals; 1996 Rookie of the Year)
- Marcus Camby (14.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, All-Rookie First Team)
- Vince Carter (18 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3 assists; 1999 Rookie of the Year
- Chris Bosh (11.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, All-Rookie First Team)
- Charlie Villanueva (13 points, 6.4 rebounds, All-Rookie First Team)
- Morris Peterson (9.2 points, 38% 3PT, All-Rookie First Team)
- DeMar DeRozan (8.6 points, 50% FG)
- Andrea Bargnani (11.6 points, 37% 3PT, All-Rookie First Team)
- Jamario Moon (8.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, All-Rookie First Team)
- Jonas Valanciunas (8.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, All-Rookie Second Team)
Omissions: Tracy McGrady; Jorge Garbajosa; Terrence Ross; Terence Davis II; OG Anunoby
Notes: This one was a fairly easy exercise; the folks who were left off just don’t quite have the statistical resumes to make it. Anunoby and Davis were perhaps the toughest omissions; their stats don’t quite measure up, but they each contributed in very specific roles on very good teams — whereas pretty much everyone else that made my two teams joined a pretty bad team.
My biggest area of debate: Bargnani vs. Camby. I actually put Bargnani on my best Raptors rookie ballot ahead of Camby, I think because his contributions to a winning, playoff-bound season swayed me. But for whatever reason it just feels like Camby should make it on the All-Rookie first team ahead of Bargnani! [shrug emoji]
Oddly it’s DeRozan who has probably the weakest resume of any rookie that made it, but he’s also the only one who tweeted “I got us” after his rookie season (and then actually followed through), so that’s gotta count for something.
All-Raptors All-Defense Team
- F: Kawhi Leonard (1.8 steals, 7.3 rebounds, 3.4 defensive win shares)
- F: Antonio Davis (9.2 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 11.1 defensive win shares)
- C: Marc Gasol (6.4 rebounds, 3.0 defensive win shares)
- G: Doug Christie (2.1 steals, 9.7 defensive win shares)
- G: Kyle Lowry (1.5 steals, 22.2 defensive win shares)
- F: OG Anunoby (0.9 steals, 6.6 defensive win shares)
- F: Chris Bosh (9.4 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 19.1 defensive win shares)
- C: Jonas Valanciunas (8.4 rebounds, 16.4 defensive win shares)
- G: Morris Peterson (1.0 steals, 10.9 defensive win shares)
- G: Alvin Williams (1.2 steals, 9.4 defensive win shares)
Omissions: Tracy McGrady; Amir Johnson; Pascal Siakam; Fred VanVleet; Danny Green
Notes: One of the most challenging things about this exercise, where you have to slot players in at actual roles, is deciding whether to just put the five best players on paper on the first team... or to make the best defensive team that you could actually play in a real game. If it’s the latter, then I think you probably swap Bosh and Davis. Obviously, I went with the former here; as much as like the length+bulk combo of Gasol and Bosh on an actual roster, Davis was surely the better defensive player than Bosh.
McGrady is my toughest omission. He was a legit great defender in his third and final season as a Raptor, but again, this is a cumulative award, and he was pretty lost his first two seasons. I ultimately decided on OG Anunoby because even though he’s only played 200 games, he’s been consistently excellent on the defensive end; unlike McGrady who became a good defender, Anunoby has been one since day one.
The guard spots on the second team were also really tough. Fred VanVleet and Danny Green’s defensive efforts helped the Raptors win a title! But I like Williams’ size vs. VanVleet’s, and Peterson did it longer than Green did. This is also tough to judge because defense was played differently in the early 2000s, but I think Alvin and MoPete would have been just fine defending the perimeter and navigating screens/switches in today’s NBA.
Or, maybe I’m just feeling nostalgic!
All-Raptors All-NBA Team
- F: Kawhi Leonard (26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals; 9.5 win shares; 1x All-Star, 1x All-NBA, 1x All-Defense, 2019 NBA Finals MVP)
- F: Vince Carter (23.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists; 47.7 win shares; 1999 Rookie of the Year; All-Rookie First Team; 5x All-Star, 1x All-NBA)
- C: Jonas Valanciunas (11.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.0 blocks; 43.8 win shares; All-Rookie Second Team)
- G: DeMar DeRozan (19.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists; 54.0 win shares; 4x All-Star, 2x All-NBA)
- G: Kyle Lowry (17.6 points, 7.1 assists, 1.5 steals; 69.8 win shares; 6x All-Star, 2x All-NBA)
- F: Chris Bosh (20.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.2 blocks; 61.8 win shares; All-Rookie First Team; 5x All-Star, 1x All-NBA)
- F: Antonio Davis (12.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.3 blocks; 22.8 win shares; 1x All-Star)
- C: Serge Ibaka (14.3 points, 7.2 boards, 1.3 blocks; 16.4 win shares)
- G: Jalen Rose (16.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists; 7.2 win shares)
- G: Damon Stoudamire (19.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 8.8 assists; 15.0 win shares; 1996 Rookie of the Year; All-Rookie First Team)
- F: Pascal Siakam (12.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists; 20.7 win shares; 2019 Most Improved Player; 1x All-Star)
- F: Amir Johnson (8.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks; 32.8 win shares)
- C: Marc Gasol (8.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists; 4.8 win shares)
- G: Doug Christie (14.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.1 steals; 21.1 win shares)
- G: Jose Calderon (10.0 points, 7.2 assists, 38% 3PT; 41.5 win shares)
Omissions: Marcus Camby; Tracy McGrady; Alvin Williams; Charles Oakley; Morris Peterson; Donyell Marshall; Fred VanVleet
Notes: Once again we’re avoiding the “build the better team rather than best stats at position” rule. An All-Raptors All-NBA First Team with Bosh instead of Carter is surely a better constructed team. And in theory I could squeeze Vince in at guard, and push DeRozan out, because Vince played plenty of two-guard.... And if we’re doing that, I could squeeze Bosh in at C, and push JV out. But I think that violates the spirit of this, and the guys should be slotted in where they played most of their minutes. And I don’t think you can have a first team without Vince, DeMar, Kyle and Kawhi, so...
Putting Serge Ibaka as the second-team centre might also be breaking the rules, incidentally, since he didn’t move to a full-time centre roll until last season. But it it’s slim pickings at the C position over the years! Beyond JV and Gasol, all the best centres were power forwards, except, perhaps, Camby, but he only did it for two seasons (two of the worst in franchise history).
Is Jalen Rose too high on the second team, considering his team didn’t win anything and he barely tried on defense? Probably. You could swap him and Jose Calderon, who at least tried on defense (even though he was absolutely terrible).
These were some tough omissions, especially if you look just beyond stats. Alvin hit what was the biggest shot in franchise history for years. VanVleet’s 2019 Playoff run following the birth of his son is legendary. T-Mac is freakin’ T-Mac! (Even though he wasn’t really freakin’ T-Mac in Toronto).
At the end of the day though, I think the best Raptors players are slotted in the right spots.
What do you think? Did I snub Fred VanVleet from the All-Raptors All-NBA team, or T-Mac from the All-Defense team? Let me know in the comments!