Just before the official start of their latest season, the G League named the Raptors 905, the affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, as the Franchise of the Year for the 2019-20 season. As noted by the literature accompanying this news, the award goes to the team that best follows this trio of ideas: “Compete with Intensity, Lead with Integrity, and Inspire Play.”
Here’s Raptors team president with the official word:
“Just as Raptors 905 develops phenomenal players, like Fred and Pascal and Norman and Chris on the court, they also develop fantastic people off the court. Raptors 905 is an investment in our franchise, but it’s also an investment in basketball in Canada, a way for us to support growth of the game,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said. “We said when Raptors 905 started that we intended to make this the best franchise in the G League, and we are really proud that we’ve been recognized for that.”
From the official press release, there were also some other things to note:
- The past season saw Raptors 905 arena attendenace up by 11 percent.
- There were also some solid theme nights for Welcome Toronto, Chinese New Year, Black History Month, and International Women’s Day.
- Speaking of which, the team hosted a Giants of Africa game at the Scotiabank Arena which drew a whopping 16,836 fans.
- Online the team was popular too, with over six million minutes of their games streamed on Twitch and ESPN+
- Finally, few G League teams can (and do!) celebrate the accomplishments of their most famous alumni — e.g. Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet — like the 905.
Taken altogether, it’s easy to see why the 905 were a shoe-in for the Franchise of the Year award. And while this coming season has been up-in-the-air for awhile now thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, and will work quite differently than G League seasons of the past, it is still cool to see the growth of the league as both a talent pipeline for the NBA — and something to celebrate in its own right.
Congrats to the 905 and good luck on the latest season.