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With the Toronto Raptors celebrating their 20th anniversary season in 2014-15, Josh
With the Toronto Raptors celebrating their 20th anniversary season in 2014-15, Josh Lewenberg and TSN. Raheem Mostert Super Bowl Jersey .ca take a look back at the franchises first two decades with weekly Top Five lists, counting down the standout and signature players and moments in team history. 5. Jerome Williams (2001-03) Raptor stats (4 seasons): 7.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.3 steal, 46% FG, 41% 3P, 180 games played/107 started More so than the previous two instalments of Raptors Top Five (best point guards and wing players), the bottom half of this list is very much up for debate. You could make a legitimate case for five or six bigs in this fifth and final spot. Donyell Marshall put up big numbers in his brief tenure, but played for two 33-win clubs. Steady vets Rasho Nesterovic and Kevin Willis were two of the franchises better seven-footers (and would have been the only ones on this list). Marcus Camby showed promise, particularly as a defender, in Toronto before being traded early in his career. Andrea Bargnani, well, I wont go there, but hes third on the teams all-time scoring list so theres a statistical argument to be made, I suppose. Overwhelming popularity aside (thats a different list for another week), Jerome Williams gets the nod in this spot over the players listed above because of his understated impact on a couple winning Raptors teams. Williams came to Toronto via a mid-season trade in 2001, immediately complimenting the cast of characters in place, brining energy, toughness, defence and rebounding off the bench. He appeared in all but one of their playoff games that year, as the Raptors came up just shy of the Eastern Conference Finals. His role increased significantly in his second year, playing 10 additional minutes a night and logging nearly 30 in the playoffs as he helped spark a memorable late-season run in the absence of the injured Vince Carter. In his final full season with the Raps, he flirted with a double-double, averaging 9.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest. Best known as JYD, Williams embraced his role from the moment he arrived in Toronto to the day he was traded. Did you know?: In 2003, Williams recorded 10 or more rebounds in 10 straight games, a franchise record at the time. He finished sixth in the NBA in steal-to-turnover ratio that year. 4. Amir Johnson (2009-present) Raptor stats (5 seasons): 8.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 blocks, 57% FG, 376 games played/212 started Entering his sixth year in Toronto, Johnson - along with DeMar DeRozan - is currently the longest tenured Raptor. Since being acquired in what turned out to be a heist by former GM Bryan Colangelo during the summer of 2009, Johnsons role has grown each season and so has his performance. Despite his consistently efficient play on both ends of the floor, the Raptors forward is often overlooked as a role player. However, his teammates, coaches and most advanced metrics would tell you otherwise. Hes far more valuable. A former second-round pick and the final player to enter the NBA straight of high school, Johnson is currently one of the better pick-and-roll bigs and help defenders in the Association. Hes also been remarkably durable, missing just 18 games in five years, despite playing through a myriad of ankle injuries. Did you know?: Johnson has shot over 54 per cent from the field in each of his nine NBA seasons. Hes ranked in the NBAs top 10 in field goal percentage during each of the last two years. 3. Charles Oakley (1998-2001) Raptor stats (3 seasons): 7.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.1 steals, 41% FG, 208 games played/207 started The numbers dont do Oak justice. Theres no statistic to quantify what he brought to the Raptors when they acquired him from New York ahead of the 1998-99 campaign, but theres only a handful of NBA players who have ever done it better and, perhaps, no one since. When teams talk about changing their culture, they usually have a player like Oakley in mind. Arriving in his mid-30s, nearing the end of a 19-year career, Oakley demanded toughness and professionalism from a young team that had never qualified for the playoffs. From day one, he mentored then rookie Vince Carter, teaching him the ways of the league and holding both him and Tracy McGrady accountable as the team turned a corner that season, ultimately making their playoff debut the next year. Did you know?: Oakley is one of just nine players to record a triple-double as a Raptor and one of just two Raptor bigs (Camby recorded two). 2. Antonio Davis (1999-2003, 2006) Raptor stats (6 seasons): 12.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 blocks, 43% FG, 310 games played/307 started Like Oakley, Davis - acquired a year later - represented a turning point in the young franchises fortunes. The perfect compliment to Oak and Willis in the frontcourt, Davis helped give Toronto the balance between experience and youth, toughness and athleticism that made them one of the NBAs most menacing, up and coming teams. Undersized for a centre, he played much bigger than his 6-foot-9 frame. In his first season, Davis put up then career-highs 11.5 points and 8.8 rebounds, vaulting Toronto into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The sequel was even better. Davis averaged a double-double, made and started in his first and only All-Star Game and helped lead the Raptors to their first ever playoff-series victory over the Knicks that spring. Although his exit was not the smoothest and his brief eight-game return to end his career was less than memorable, Daviss best years were all spent in a Raptor uniform. He averaged at least 11 points and eight rebounds in each of his four full seasons in Toronto - he never accomplished either of those feats in any of his other NBA stops. Did you know?: Davis is second on the Raptors all-time rebounding list, trailing only Chris Bosh. 1. Chris Bosh (2003-10) Raptor stats (7 seasons): 20.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 blocks, 49% FG, 509 games played/497started Boshs Raptor legacy will always be tainted to some degree. He was never able to get Toronto out of the first round, qualifying for the playoffs in just two of his seven seasons as a Raptor - although his supporting casts deserve some of the blame there. Then theres the way in which he left town - bolting after a half-hearted season to team up with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in Miami. Unfortunately, thats all some fans remember of the artist formally known as CB4. Bosh was a five-time All-Star in Toronto, a player that worked his tail off and gave everything he had for the team and the city throughout the bulk of his tenure. A raw prospect selected fourth overall in the loaded 2003 NBA Draft, Bosh developed into a well-rounded talent, one that still tops the Raptors record book in most categories. Perhaps he was miscast as a franchise player, but the list of guys fitting of that criteria is as short as ever. At the very least, hes an excellent player, a star, and the second-best this franchise has seen in its first 20 years. Did you know?: Bosh is the Raptors all-time leader in points, rebounds, blocks and minutes played Honourable mentions: Donyell Marshall (2003-05), Kevin Willis (1998-2001), Rasho Nesterovic (2006-08, 2009-10), Andrea Bargnani (2006-13), Marcus Camby (1996-98), Keon Clark (2001-02), Jorge Garbajosa (2006-08), Charlie Villaneuva (2005-06) and Matt Bonner (2004-06) Expert picks: Jack Armstrong 1. Chris Bosh 2. Antonio Davis 3. Charles Oakley 4. Kevin Willis 5. Marcus Camby Custom 49ers Super Bowl Jerseys . Irving played 10 minutes Sunday night before going to the locker room. He had two points and four assists, missing all five of his shots. The All-Star game MVP is the top scorer among Eastern Conference point guards with 21. Kyle Juszczyk Super Bowl Jersey . On the eve of the 2013-14 NBA season, he can finally take a step back and allow his team to do the talking. . The Raptors general manager has his list of possible draft selections whittled down to a handful ahead of Thursday nights NBA draft in Brooklyn, New York. The Raptors, who have auditioned dozens of players over the past couple of weeks, have the 20th overall pick in the first round, as well as the 37th and 58th picks in the second.TSNs Jack Armstrong offers his thoughts on the wealth of Canadian talent in NCAA, the Wizards acquisition of Andre Miller, the skills of Spencer Hawes, the transition of Glen Davis to the Clippers and the upside of Evan Turner in Indiana. 1. CANADIAN PLAYERS: Take a look at just a few of the up-and-comers like Andrew Wiggins (Kansas), Tyler Ennis (Syracuse), Nik Stauskas (Michigan), Melvin Ejim (Iowa St.), Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga) and Brady Heslip (Baylor) and its quite impressive to see how the continued growth of the sport is so amazing to watch before our eyes. The amount of young people playing the sport at a high level is growing and it will only get better. The success stories keep coming at you from so many different directions. Great time to be a hoops fan. 2. ANDRE MILLER (Wizards): Like this pickup for them. I know conditioning will be a factor for a while but theyve been quite inconsistent when theyve gone to their bench and he will provide stable/steady play and leadership for them. He knows how to run a team and get teammates quality shots. His experience and savvy will help provide direction for a team that goes through nightly droughts of attention to detail and productivity. You never have enough veteran know-how and this team desperately lacked it. 3. SPENCER HAWES (Cavs): Will be difficult for them to capture the eighth seed in the East yet they improved their chances by picking him up. Low maintenance guy who has a great knack for making the right plays. Good shooter with outstanding passing skills in both the high and low poost and hell compete for you on the boards. Colin Kaepernick Super Bowl Jersey. Has really developed over the years into a nice secondary piece in a starting lineup. His skill and know-how will help the chemistry of this young team. 4. GLEN DAVIS (Clippers): This move had head coach Doc Rivers written all over it. Obviously, he coached Big Baby in Boston and knows his pros and cons and feels he can be a good fit for them. When you look at LAs question marks in the second unit, particularly in the front court, this makes complete sense for them. He gets after it and can score in the post and will defend/rebound to the best of his ability for you. His experience and relationship with the coaching staff will make it a good transition. 5. EVAN TURNER (Pacers): To get a guy who is still developing as a pro and having a solid year is a smart acquisition. His rebounding ability and desire to guard are pluses. He can get to the rim and will give them good second unit scoring. In addition, being thrust into a playoff environment coming from a Philly situation that was a total rebuild gives him a huge boost and shot of energy. His competitive juices will be flowing. Look at his play each year and I see a guy thats starting to figure it out. Averaging an impressive 17+ ppg this season and how do you turn that down? At the end of the season, you can revisit the relationship contractually, considering you have some control with a qualifying offer and see if you want it to be a rental or continue on. In the meantime, a sound pickup for the stretch run and playoffs.    ' ' '

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