I had to bend the rules with our next franchise. To help them field a competitive team, I dropped the four-year requirement, since they’ve only been around for 20 years. All players did meet the second requirement (200 games played), and this adjustment allowed us to include their current all-star point guard (Kyle Lowry), and their first Rookie of the Year (Damon Stoudamire). The all-time Toronto Raptors team clearly doesn’t have a chance against more established franchises, but they’re a fun unit with solid play makers littered throughout the roster.
The starting backcourt is the team’s current pairing, all-stars Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan. Lowry is a pit bull who is an all-around force, despite his small stature (6’0”). DeRozan is a high scorer who struggles with efficiency; he has an advanced mid-range game, but would be well-served to work on his outside shot and decision-making. Despite these flaws, he has jaw-dropping athleticism, and will pair with Vince Carter to give them one of the more athletic wing pairings in the tournament.
Carter, the starting small forward, is the franchise’s signature player. Why? Here are a few reasons:
For my money, he’s the greatest dunker ever, and beyond that, was a prolific scorer with Toronto who will be an interesting Hall-of-Fame candidate when his career is over. Chris Bosh, the starting power forward, was the franchise’s other signature star, who could score by using his quickness advantage over other big men and by using his deadly mid-range game. Antonio Davis, the starting center, was a solid player who could do the dirty work, and his presence will enable the lithe Bosh to avoid getting banged up down low.
The bench is led by two prolific play makers, Stoudamire and Jose Calderon. Stoudamire was the franchise’s first attraction, and will be the most explosive player for the second unit. Calderon was one of the great shooters at the point guard position, and can also play at off guard if needed. Doug Christie blossomed in Toronto, and developed his reputation as an elite perimeter defender who could also score when needed. Morris Peterson was an average swing man, who was a solid three-point shooter over the course of his Raptors career. Amir Johnson is a solid and efficient back-up power forward, and he’s joined by Andrea Bargnani, the only number one draft pick in team history, and Jonas Valanciunas as the backup big men. Although he’s had a disappointing career, Bargnani was an offensive threat with the Raptors, and Valanciunas is a very effective post player who’s lacking on the defensive end.
This team is solid, and would be a contender if they were competing in today’s Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, they’re playing against tradition-rich franchises in our tournament, and have an impossible first-round match up awaiting them.
Coach: Dwane Casey
All-Time Franchise Winning Percentage (through 2014-15): .426