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Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors are a National Basketball Association team based in Toronto, Ontario.

Founded: 1995
Formerly known as:
Home Arena: Air Canada Centre
Uniform colors: Purple, Red, Grey, and Black
Logo design: A snarling red dinosaur
NBA Championships: none

Table of contents
1 Franchise History (per season)
2 Players of note
3 List of Head Coaches
4 Significant draft picks of each season
5 Important Player Movements
6 External link

Franchise History (per season)


As Isiah Thomas was named the general manager in 1995, he quickly staffed the management with his own personnel, including the first head coach Brandon Malone who has been reunited with Isiah in the Knicks organization. Isiah chose to build the franchise around Damon Stoudamire, a point guard out of Arizona. The Raptors' pick of Stoudamire was greeted with boos from those present at the NBA Draft at the Skydome in Toronto, many whom bought into the hype surrounding UCLA star Ed O'Bannon. Stoudamire vindicated Thomas by winning the Rookie of the Year award that season.


The team record improved by 9 games from its inaugural season and attendance was rising. Analysts predicted a strong or even a championship team in a matter of a few seasons.


All optimism evaporated when the team was hit by numerous injuries in early 1997-1998 season. Thomas, a brillant player and coach with inefficient management skills, failed to stop the downfall of the team which led to the dismantling of the core players and resignations of the head coach Darrell Walker and eventually Isiah himself. When Glen Grunwald was named to succeed Thomas in 1998, virtually nobody thought he could turn the team around as seen in the booing when he made his first appearance to Air Canada Centre for a speech. However the players reacted by playing harder and Camby earned his first two triple doubles of his career in the last four games of the season.


On one hand Grunwald showed his better management ability than his predecessor by trading Camby to the Knicks for Charles Oakley whose tough mentalities and playoff experiences help the maturity of the young players. Many thought the trade could be hurting the team by the common understanding of acquiring an aging veteran for a promising young prospect who had already been the starting power forward. On the other hand the coaching staff temporarily solved the lack of a true point guard by rotating Dee Brown, Alvin Williams and Doug Christie to play the position. This move eventually paid off as Christie greatly refined his defensive game and became one of the elite guards in NBA. Alvin also picked up his offensive game as well. Kevin Willis, another veteran acquired from trade, solidified the center position. With those holes temporarily filled, the team won more games than the best 1996-1997 season during Thomas' tenure. The new coach Butch Carter dedicated in prospect developments and installed the competitiveness in the players, especially Tracy McGrady. Although the team did not make the playoffs in the 1998-1999 season, the optimism lost in previous years resurfaced with the brillant performances from the rookie Vince Carter and much improved McGrady.


Final solution to the lack of PG and front court presence will have to come from matured but not aging players. Grunwald knew the aging Willis and Oakley will eventually have to play less minutes or risked them of injuries. During draft day of 1999 he found a gem in Antonio Davis from the Indiana Pacers to play forward/center, who was blocked from playing significant minutes by his teammate Dale Davis. At the back court Butch Carter rotated Vince, Christie, Alvin and Dell Curry at the shooting guard position and Alvin and Tyrone Bogues (a.k.a. Muggsy Bogues) at PG. Rotation of Antonio, Oakley and Willis in front court and the maturity of Vince Carter helped the team to make its first ever playoff appearance. However Carter, a coach without playoff experience, and the lack of overall playoff experiences of the team precipitated in a sweep by the Knicks.

Progresive team improvements and the raise to fame of Vince Carter attracted lots of fans around Toronto, many were not basketball fans before. Increased attendance and change of fan base contributed to the recent fall of the Toronto Blue Jays.


Failure in playoff hinted Grunwald to hire Lenny Wilkens in place of Butch Carter for his more than 30 years of coaching experiences. Wilken hinted Glenwald for acquiring an all star PG to help Alvin on his offensive game and Glen lured Mark Jackson to sign a 4-year deal with the team. The season of 2000-2001 marked the development of Alvin Williams with greatly improved clutch performance. He scored three quarters of his points in the 4th quarter during regular season. Jackson was then traded to give more minutes to Alvin.

As Vince has familarized himself at SG and played less time at SF, Christie became expendable and was traded for SF Corliss Williamson, who was a disappointment and traded later during the season for a defensive workhorse Jerome Williams. Loss of Tracy McGrady was also a factor of the Williamson trade. Although Tracy and Vince improved significantly almost at the same time, much of the media and fan attention focused on Vince. Tracy, Vince's cousin through their grandparents, felt negligence. Furthermore Tracy's natural position is at shooting guard at which he will not get enough minutes. His free agent signing with the Magic during 2000 offseason turned quite a few fans off as Tracy turned down the maximum wage offer. The team also did not acquire anything in return in contrast to the sign and trade of Christie. His mother's offensive remarks on Vince also contributed to fans' anger.

As predicted by analysts, the team clinched playoff berth without much difficulties. Toronto beat New York in the best of five series. Wilkens was credited for putting Alvin at SG to guard Allan Houston and Vince on Latrell Sprewell, the two major offensive threats of the knicks. Charles Oakley's remarks incited Vince to "play it like a man" and steady contribution from Antonio Davis prevailed over the less-focused Knicks. Larry Johnson was shut down by a career-ending injury and Camby was plagued by his family kidnap.

The next series against Philadelphia was a landmark of exciting, entertaining and best playoff performance for the Raptors so far. The Sixers relied on Allen Iverson and Dikembe Mutombo for their respective offensive and defensive abilities with steady help from Aaron McKie and other teammates. Toronto's gameplay is much more balanced with Vince, Alvin and Davis providing much of the offensive game and Chris Childs, Jerome Williams on the defensive side. Philadelphia took full advantages at center whereas Toronto counteracted with transitional offense with their shorter but quicker players. The series came down to the last 4 seconds of game 7 when Vince Carter missed a fadeaway jumper, lossing the series by 1 point.


Playoff misfortune attracted even more fans and put unprecendented trust from the owners on Grunwald, who signed long term and large salary contracts with Alvin, Vince, Davis and Jerome Williams. On one hand the team was guaranteed a All-star starting line-up for at least this season with signing of Hakeem Olajuwon. On the other hand Glen was gambling on these players to shine without injuries as overall player salary has almost reached the cap, making significant signing impossible. Economical contracts of Oakley and others have been traded or expired.

The first half of the season ran pretty steady with expected contributions from the All star players and improvements of Morris Peterson and Keon Clark. Despite the major blow in January (?) of injured Antonio Davis and subsequently Vince, the team made a NBA record comeback to clinch playoff berth.

So far in franchise history, the team has been healthy since the injury plague in late 1997-1998 season (see above). Possibly owing to the overuse of Vince and Davis as major offensive threat, they injured and did not contribuite significantly in the 3-1 series loss to the Detroit Pistons. Ben Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse's performances were simply to much for the injured Raptors to handle.


....need more info of the pre-Grunwald era....

Players of note

Basketball Hall of Famers:

Not to be forgotten:

Retired numbers:

Current stars:

List of Head Coaches

Significant draft picks of each season

Important Player Movements

Note: not all players or conditions are listed, only those affected the team most significantly will be shown

External link