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Toronto Raptors: Top Five NBA Draft Picks in Franchise History

The Toronto Raptors had some great NBA Draft picks throughout its history. Some of these draft picks shaped the Raptors’ franchise as franchise players. This is while others are popular figures or players that played a big role in their success during their time in Toronto. Keep in mind that these NBA Draft picks do not include the 2020 NBA Draft. It also only includes draft picks selected by the Raptors, excluding draft picks taken by other teams before being traded.

Toronto Raptors Top Five NBA Draft Picks in Franchise History

5. Damon Stoudamire (1995-98) – Mighty Mouse

This was a close one between Damon Stoudamire and OG Anunoby. They were both great draft picks that played a significant impact on the Raptors franchise. However, the biggest factor was Stoudamire’s overall impact on the Raptors franchise. Stoudamire was drafted seventh in the 1995 NBA Draft.

He had a terrific rookie season, averaging 19 points, 9.3 assists, four rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. This included a memorable 108-109 win over Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls at SkyDome (now the Rogers Centre). In that game, Stoudamire played extremely well having 30 points (not 31 points as seen in the video below), 11 assists, and six-threes made.

As a result, Stoudamire won the Rookie of the Year Award. He also made the NBA All-Rookie First Team (1996) and won the Most Valuable Player award in the 1996 NBA Rookie Game.

He would have another great season during the 1996-97 campaign, where he averaged a career-high 20.2 points. He also averaged 4.1 rebounds, 8.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.

Lastly, in the 1997-98 NBA season, he averaged similar numbers to the previous two seasons for the Raptors. However, his numbers in the 1997-98 NBA season dropped when he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Stoudamire never again reached the level he played at with the Raptors during the rest of his career. Stoudamire was the face of the franchise and was one of, if not, the best players from the 1995 draft class during his time in Toronto. An example is his record of triple-doubles with the Raptors, which he held until it was broken by Kyle Lowry in 2014.

4. Chris Bosh (2003-10) – Perennial NBA All-Star

Chris Bosh was selected fourth in the 2003 NBA Draft. The only player better than him that was drafted later was Dwyane Wade, who was selected fifth by the Miami Heat. It is clear looking back that the Raptors made a good NBA Draft pick with Bosh.

Bosh made the NBA All-Star Game five-straight times with the Raptors from 2006-10. This includes being an NBA All-Star starter in 2008. He also made the NBA All-Rookie Team (2004) and the All-NBA Second Team (2007) with Toronto.

In his rookie season, Bosh averaged 11.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, one assist, and 1.4 steals per game. Furthermore, in the 2006-07 NBA season, he averaged 22.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and one block per game. His best season was the 2009-10 NBA season, where he averaged 24 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and one steal per game.

This is what former Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said about Bosh according to Michael Jacobson of Twin Cities.

“Just an extraordinary young man,” he said. “You hear so many times about superstars and how difficult it is to coach them. He was totally the opposite.” Mitchell would then say: “He was a true professional. Came to work on time every day. He practiced hard every day. He was an unbelievable, unselfish teammate. All the good things that happened in Toronto, coaching him was up there among those things because he just made your job easy.”

3. Morris Peterson (2000-07) – Fan Favorite Mo’ Pete

Toronto received the 21st NBA Draft pick via trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. They used this draft pick in the 2000 NBA Draft to select Morris Peterson. Peterson would immediately make an impact, averaging 9.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. As a result, Peterson made the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

He would average more than 10 points four times in his career, all with Toronto. In the 2001-02 season, Peterson averaged 14 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. He would have similar stats in the 2002-03 NBA season, with a significant increase in rebounds, which was 4.4 per game.

After averaging 12.5 points and a career-high 83.2 percent free-throw percentage in the 2004-05 NBA season, Peterson would have new career-highs in the 2005-06 NBA season. In that season, he averaged 16.8 points. 4.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.

He would have a down year in the 2006-07 NBA season but still played a part in the Raptors earning their first-ever Atlantic Division title. This included scoring the game-tying three against the Washington Wizards. This game took place on March 30th and resulted in a 123-118 overtime win.

2. DeMar DeRozan (2009-18) – The Franchise Player

DeMar DeRozan was drafted ninth in the 2009 NBA Draft. He was a franchise player who ended up being the main face of Toronto along with Kyle Lowry. DeRozan helped the Raptors reach new heights never seen before in franchise history.

This included making the Eastern Conference Finals in 2016 and winning four Atlantic Division titles with the Raptors. He, along with Lowry, led the team to six-straight NBA playoff appearances, which at that time was a franchise record.

He only averaged 8.6 points per game in the 2009-10 NBA season, but dramatically improved as time went on. In his sophomore 2010-11 NBA season, he averaged 17.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and one steal per game.  He made his first NBA All-Star Game appearance in 2014.

In the 2013-14 NBA season, he averaged 22.7 points, four assists, and 1.1 steals per game. His best season was the 2016-17 NBA season, where he averaged 27.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists per game, and 1.1 steals per game. The 27.3 points per game remains a career-high for DeRozan.

As of last month, DeRozan has played the most games in a Raptors uniform. He also has won three Conference Player of the Month awards and 10 Conference Player of the Month awards, the most of any player in Raptors’ franchise history. He has also scored the most points in franchise history with 13,296 points recorded.

1. Pascal Siakam (2016-Present) – Best NBA Draft Pick for Toronto Raptors

This is the best draft pick from the Raptors. Yes, DeRozan has contributed more to the Raptors than Pascal Siakam. However, DeRozan was a top 10 NBA Draft pick while Siakam was picked 29th. Finding an NBA All-Star is much harder late in the first round than with the lottery picks.

In the 2016-17 NBA season, he averaged 4.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. He, however, dramatically improved his game. For example, in the 2018-19 NBA season, he averaged 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. He would then make the NBA All-Star Game in 2020 as a starter. In that 2019-20 NBA season, he averaged 22.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and one steal per game.

Yes, he struggled in the bubble and his stats have dipped so far in the 2020-21 NBA season. But, it does not take away from his contributions to the franchise’s first-ever NBA Championship in 2019. For example, in game one of the NBA Finals, he had 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting for the Raptors’ first win in the series.

Along with the NBA Championship in 2019, he was also named the Most Improved Player of the Year. He also made the All-NBA Second Team in 2020.

Overview of the Top Five Draft Picks in Toronto Raptors History

The Raptors have made some great draft picks throughout team history. There was also an emphasis on winning with this draft list. This is why DeRozan and Siakam are number one and two on this list. These criteria also almost put Anunoby on this list. Expect Anunoby to surpass Stoudamire on this list in the near future.

It is also important to note the Raptors’ draft pick of Tracy McGrady. His time with the Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, and other NBA teams was not counted on this list. Furthermore, McGrady was not an All-Star and only had one season that averaged over 10 points per game with the Raptors, which is not great for a ninth NBA Draft pick.

However, it is important to note some notable exceptions. Vince Carter is not counted on this list as the Raptors got him via a trade with their own draft pick Antawn Jamison. The same goes for Norman Powell, who was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks before being traded to the Raptors.

Main Photo
Embed from Getty Images


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