As we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first Toronto Raptors game in NBA history, we're reminded of some names that spent limited time with the franchise during its inaugural season and over its 25 years of existence.
In fact, there are a number of names you might have forgotten and some that even the most avid fans never knew donned a Raptors uniform.
Inspired by this revelation and the upcoming NBA Draft, our NBA.com staff held a snake-style fantasy draft of players that had short-lived tenures with the Raptors, some more memorable than others. The rules were as follows:
- Each team selected six players.
- The pool consisted of players that played in fewer than 60 regular-season games as a Raptor. Why 60? It was the cut off to eliminate Kawhi Leonard, who would have given any team a clear advantage.
- No members of the 2019-20 roster were made available as it goes against the concept of "forgotten" players. So no Oshae Brissett, Dewan Hernandez, Stanley Johnson, Matt Thomas or Paul Watson.
- The picks are of the version of the player with the Raptors, so in selecting someone like Chauncey Billups, Jeremy Lin, Shawn Marion, Peja Stojakovic or Rod Strickland, you wouldn't be receiving them in their prime.
Got it? Onto the draft…
- Alex Novick
- Carlan Gay
- Gilbert McGregor
- Scott Rafferty
- Kyle Irving
The full list of eligible candidates can be found here. Games played denotes time spent with the Toronto Raptors.
1. Shawn Marion, 27 games played
2. Jermaine O'Neal, 41 games played
3. Chauncey Billups, 29 games played
4. Mark Jackson, 54 games played
5. Rudy Gay, 51 games played
6. Jeremy Lin, 23 games played
7. Willie Anderson, 49 games played
8. P.J. Tucker, 41 games played
9. Bruno Caboclo, 25 games played
10. Rod Strickland, 15 games played
11. Alexis Ajinca, 24 games played
12. Corliss Williamson, 42 games played
13. Gary Trent Sr., 13 games played
14. Reggie Evans, 58 games played
15. Jodie Meeks, 8 games played
16. Ed Pinckney, 47 games played
17. Peja Stojakovic, 2 games played
18. Mickael Pietrus, 19 games played
19. Fred Jones, 39 games played
20. D.J. Augustin, 10 games played
21. Greg Monroe, 38 games played
22. Lindsey Hunter, 29 games played
23. Jamaal Magloire, 34 games played
24. Pops Mensah-Bonsu, 35 games played
25. Lonny Baxter, 36 games played
26. Sebastian Telfair, 13 games played
27. Justin Dentmon, 4 games played
28. Ben Uzoh, 16 games played
29. Steve Novak, 54 games played
30. Austin Daye, 8 games played
Players: Alexis Ajinca, D.J. Augustin, Austin Daye, Shawn Marion, Greg Monroe, Rod Strickland
Combined Games Played: 122
Of note: Marion, the first overall pick in this draft, was acquired by the Raptors at the 2009 trade deadline. The 30-year-old Marion spent 27 games with Toronto, posting averages of 14.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest, including a double-double of 34 points (on 15-for-18 shooting) and 11 rebounds in the season finale, which was his final game as a Raptor before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks that offseason.
Daye was clearly a pick off of potential, as he appeared in just eight games with the Raptors, scoring a total of eight points and grabbing seven rebounds.
The figure of 122 is by far the fewest combined games of any compiled team; Monroe made the most appearances with 38 in the 2018-19 season before a trade deadline deal ended his time in Toronto. The former lottery pick averaged 4.8 points and 4.1 rebounds during his time as a Raptor.
Each of the selected players were first-round picks in their respective draft classes, with Augustin, Marion and Monroe each getting selected in the top 10.
Players: Bruno Caboclo, Lindsey Hunter, Fred Jones, Steve Novak, Jermaine O'Neal, Corliss Williamson
Combined games played: 230
Of note: O'Neal was acquired from the Indiana Pacers in July 2008 and dealt to Miami in Feb. 2009, a tenure that saw him don a Raptor uniform 41 times. In those games, the former top-five pick averaged 13.5 points and 7.0 rebounds, with his Raptors-high of 36 points coming in a win over the Sacramento Kings on Dec. 26.
Despite spending four years with the franchise, Caboclo played in only 25 games, the fewest of a group of players that only spent one season with Toronto.
230 is the highest total of combined games among the group, with Steve Novak's 54 appearances leading the way. Novak averaged just 10.0 minutes per game but during his time in Toronto, hit a total of 52 3-pointers at a 42.6% clip.
Players: Chauncey Billups, Jamaal Magloire, Mickael Pietrus, Gary Trent Sr., P.J. Tucker, Ben Uzoh
Combined games played: 152
Of note: Eight months after the Boston Celtics selected him with the No. 3 overall pick of the 1997 NBA Draft, Billups was traded to Toronto. The 21-year-old was also a potential pick here, as he had ups and downs during his 29-game tenure as a Raptor that saw him average 11.3 points and 3.3 assists on .349/.316/.919 shooting splits.
Prior to the 1999-00 season, Billups was traded to Denver.
P.J. Tucker, originally drafted by the Raptors in 2006, spent two stints in Toronto. I opted to select the elder version of Tucker, acquired at the 2017 trade deadline, averaging 5.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in 24 regular-season games and serving a key role during a playoff run that ended in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Magloire is noteworthy in that he is the first Canadian to suit up for the Raptors, while Ben Uzoh is noteworthy in that he ended his 16-game stint in Toronto by recording a triple-double with 12 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in a blowout win over the New Jersey Nets to close the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. It would be Uzoh's last appearance in an NBA game.
Players: Willie Anderson, Justin Dentmon, Reggie Evans, Mark Jackson, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Peja Stojakovic
Combined games played: 202
Of note: Of all of the players made available, Jackson by far boasted the highest assists average as he dished out 9.2 assists per game Raptors. Jackson signed as a free agent with Toronto in August of 2000 and, after 54 games, was traded to the New York Knicks at the 2001 trade deadline in February. Two months later, he and the Knicks would lose to the Raptors in the opening round of the postseason.
Anderson was the first member of the inaugural Raptors selected in the draft. After being selected by Toronto in the 1995 expansion draft, a 29-year-old Anderson averaged 12.4 points over 49 games before being traded to the Knicks at the 1996 trade deadline.
Evans took the floor as a Raptor more than any other member of this group, appearing in 58 games over two seasons in which he averaged a whopping 14.6 rebounds per 36 minutes. Stojakovic appeared in the fewest, playing a total of 22:21 seconds over two games in November, where he averaged 10.0 points while shooting 66.7% from deep. Peja was waived in January and signed with the Dallas Mavericks, where he would win an NBA title and retire.
Pops Mensah-Bonsu is one of just seven players born in London to ever appear in an NBA game. Another one of the seven? A guy by the name of OG Anunoby.
Players: Lonny Baxter, Rudy Gay, Jeremy Lin, Jodie Meeks, Ed Pinckney, Sebastian Telfair
Combined games played: 178
Of note: An extreme value pick, Gay landed at the fifth despite posting the best scoring average among eligible players, averaging 19.5 points over the 51 games he suited up with Toronto. While not a forgotten name, you could have blinked and missed Gay's tenure with the Raptors as he was acquired on Jan. 30, 2013 and traded on Dec. 9, 2013.
Gay spent a total of 314 days as a Raptor, around 40 days less than Kawhi's time as a Raptor.
Lin was a big-time value pick in that he averaged 7.0 points in the 23 regular-season games he appeared in with Toronto. Prior to signing with the Raptors, Lin averaged an efficient 10.7 points in 51 games with the Atlanta Hawks. He was paired with Jodie Meeks, who was also a member of the 2019 championship squad.
The 32-year-old Pinckney is the only other member of the inaugural Raptors to get drafted. The 6-foot-9 big man averaged 7.0 points and 6.0 rebounds over 47 games before a trade deadline deal sent him to the 76ers.
Pinckney and Baxter have a connection in that they both won an NCAA title during their collegiate years while Telfair was one of the most heralded high school prospects ever. Telfair joins Jermaine O'Neal as the only other preps-to-pros player on the list.
Notable Undrafted Players
Anthony Bennett - The 2013 No.1 overall pick spent 19 games with his hometown team in the 2015-16 season.
Lorenzo Brown - Appeared in 40 regular-season games with the Raptors from 2017-19 but was named 2018 NBA G League MVP for his play with Raptors 905.
Sean Marks - The Brooklyn Nets current general manager played in 13 games over two seasons, scoring a total of 19 points.
Tony Massenburg - Averaged 10.1 points and 6.9 rebounds over 24 games during the Raps inaugural season. The only double-figure scorer to not get selected
John Salley - A member of the expansion Raptors, Salley was waived after 25 games and signed with the Chicago Bulls, winning his third of four NBA titles.
Jared Sullinger - An injury derailed what was ultimately Sullinger's final season in the league. He scored eight points in his Raptors debut but was traded to Phoenix at the deadline and never appeared in another game.
Herb Williams - The former New York Knicks head coach appeared in one game with the Raptors, registering six points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes of action.
Haywoode Workman - Now an NBA official, Workman played the final 13 games of his NBA career with Toronto during the 1999-00 season.
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