The Toronto Raptors are a professional basketball team from Toronto, Canada. The Raptors are a member of the Eastern Conference Atlantic Division of the National Basketball Players Association. Their home games are held at Scotiabank Arena, which they share with the National Hockey League’s Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL). The team, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, was created in 1995 as part of the NBA’s expansion into Canada. The Raptors have been the only Canadian-based team in the league since the Grizzlies relocated from Vancouver to Memphis, Tennessee, in the 2001–02 season.
On November 4, 1993, the NBA Board of Governors ratified the Expansion Committee’s decision and granted the team’s 28th franchise to a group led by Toronto businessman John Bitove for a then-record expansion fee of US$125 million. Bitove and Allan Slaight of Slaight Communications each held 44%, with minority partners including the Bank of Nova Scotia (10%), David Peterson (1%), and Phil Granovsky (1%). Due to strong league regulations prohibiting gambling at the time, betting on NBA games in Ontario nearly cost Toronto the expansion team.
However, a deal was concluded in which the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, promised to stop offering betting on all NBA games in return for a $5 million donation to the Raptors’ charitable foundation over the first three years and $1 million annually after that to recompense OLG for its revenue shortfall. It so happened for the first time in Toronto Raptors history. The Raptors, together with the Vancouver Grizzlies, played their inaugural game on November 3, 1995.
The Raptors did struggle in their early years, as do most expansion teams, but after acquiring Vince Carter in the same draft-day trade in 1998, the organisation established league attendance records and entered the NBA playoffs in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Carter was a key part of the team’s first postseason series victory in 2001 when they got to the Eastern Conference playoffs. They failed to make substantial improvement throughout the 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons, and Carter was transferred to the New Jersey Nets in 2004.
Chris Bosh took over as the team’s leader when Carter left. Bryan Colangelo was named general manager for the 2006–07 season, and the Raptors qualified for their first playoff berth in five years, winning the Atlantic Division title, thanks to a combination of Bosh, 2006 first overall lottery pick Andrea Bargnani, and a revamped roster. They also made the playoffs in 2007–08 but failed to make the playoffs in each of the following five seasons. In an attempt to persuade pending free agency Chris Bosh to stay, Colangelo rebuilt the team’s roster for the 2009–10 season, but Bosh signed with the Miami Heat in July 2010, beginning yet another phase of rebuilding for the Heat.
In 2013, Masai Ujiri took over for Colangelo and helped to usher in a new era of success for the Raptors, anchored by a backcourt combo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. The Raptors made the playoffs the following season and were a playoff club every year throughout Ujiri’s tenure. Under Ujiri’s leadership, the squad won five Division titles and had their best regular season ever in 2018. The team’s failure to reach the NBA Finals, however, spurred Ujiri to fire head coach Dwane Casey following the 2018 playoffs, and later that summer, arrange the high-profile deal of DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, and also adding Marc Gasol before the trade deadline.
The Vancouver Grizzlies migrated to the American state of Tennessee, specifically to the city of Memphis, after accompanying them as part of the NBA’s expansion to Canada. They were renamed the Memphis Grizzlies after that. In their six years as the Vancouver Grizzlies, they never made the playoffs and finished last in their division for five of their six seasons representing Canada. This was a factor in their decision to relocate.
As a result, the Toronto Raptors have been the only team located in Canada since the 2001-02 season. At the time, John Bitove’s $125 million expansion project was the most money ever spent on a side.
Toronto Raptors 2021 NBA Draft Picks
In NBA draft history, the Toronto Raptors picked three players in the 2021 NBA Draft, which took place in Brooklyn on Thursday night. In the first round, the Raptors selected guard-forward Scottie Barnes as the fourth pick, followed by Canadian guard Dalano Banton 46th overall and guard David Johnson 47th overall.
Firstly, let’s look at their first-round draft picks – Barnes. Barnes joins the Raptors after a year at Florida State, where he averaged 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 24.6 minutes per game in 24 outings as a freshman. Barnes made 0.503 (98-195) field goals, 0.275 (11-40) three-pointers, and.621 (41-66) free throws. He was awarded as the Freshman of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, and third-team All-Conference in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
In the ACC Tournament final game against Georgia Tech on March 12, 2021, the West Palm Beach, Florida native set a career-high with 21 points.
Banton, a Toronto resident, is the Raptors’ first pick in the NBA Draft. During the 2020-21 season, he played in 27 games for Nebraska, averaging 9.6 points per game and leading the Huskers in rebounds (5.9) and assists (5.9). (3.9). During the 2018-19 season, Banton started his collegiate career at Western Kentucky, where he averaged 3.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in 31 games.
Johnson, a resident of Louisville, Kentucky, played for the University of Louisville for two seasons. During his second season with the Cardinals, he averaged a career-high 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds in 19 appearances. On Dec. 27, 2020, he was named ACC Player of the Week after averaging 17.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in victories over Pittsburgh and Kentucky.
How Will It Work?
Playing without Lowry shouldn’t come as a surprise given the Raptors were in a similar situation for the majority of last season. But there’s a sense of loss as much as rejuvenation, a chance to see how well the team’s culture has held up without the best player in franchise history. VanVleet, who has been largely regarded as one of the team’s most vocal leaders in recent seasons, is the most likely candidate to fill the vacancy. Still, having multiple players play that critical position was one of the club’s strengths at the time, and how quickly somebody else grows into a leadership role would have a major influence on team morale throughout the hard fight of the regular season.
Toronto Raptors 2021 NBA Draft
- First-round draft pick no.4: Scottie Barnes from Florida State.
- Second-round draft pick no 46: Dalano Banton from Western Kentucky.
- Second-round draft pick 47: David Johnson from Louisville.
Moving Forward as a Team
The Raptors will surely benefit from their return to Toronto, but it remains to be seen whether they can compete for a playoff place while still developing Barnes and their other young players. In the end, it may come down to Goran Dragic, the team’s oldest player, and whether or not he is considered as an essential role player for the playoffs. If the front staff thinks Dragic is worth selling, it’s a hint that this squad isn’t nearly ready to be a legitimate contender.
VanVleet will be as explosive as ever, but there’s no disputing that former All-Star Siakam is the team’s greatest player. Last season, Siakam’s dissatisfaction with his job and injury was palpable, and he struggled mightily. Those problems shouldn’t happen again this season. While Siakam will miss the first few weeks of the season to recover from shoulder surgery, he is expected to return to All-Star form with enthusiasm.
Precious Achiuwa is ready to be Toronto’s next promising growth storey while Siakam recovers. Achiuwa has shown incredible talent and fantastic quickness during the preseason after a somewhat uneven first season in Miami. As a high-energy reserve, he’ll most likely make a big impact this season.
Anunoby’s enhanced scoring has already sparked speculation that he could be a contender for the league’s Most Improved Player Award. He has +5000 odds to win it right now, which is a tremendous deal. There’s even a potential that Anunoby, rather than Siakam, may earn an All-Star berth for the first time in his career, given his under-the-radar flexibility should get the attention it deserves with an elevated scoring role.
Current Toronto Raptors Players under Contract
- Pascal Siakam
- Fred VanVleet
- Goran Dragic
- OG Anunoby
- Gary Trent Jr
- Scottie Barnes
- Chris Boucher
- Khem Birch
- Precious Achiuwa
- Malachi Flynn
- Yuta Watanabe
- Isaac Bonga
- Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
- Dalano Banton
- Justin Champagnie
- David Johnson
- Sam Dekker
- Ishmail Wainright
- Freddie Gillespie
Current Toronto Raptors Free Agents
- Kyle Lowry
- Stanley Johnson
- Khem Birch
Previous Toronto Raptors Draft History Since 2000
Year Round Pick Player Age Pos Pre-Draft Team
2020 1 29 Malachi Flynn 22 PG San Diego State
2020 2 59 Jalen Harris 22 SG Nevada
2019 2 59 Dewan Hernandez 22 PF Miami
2017 1 23 OG Anunoby 19 SF Indiana
2016 1 9 Jakob Pöltl 20 C Utah
2016 1 27 Pascal Siakam 22 PF New Mexico State
2015 1 20 Delon Wright 23 PG Utah
2014 1 20 Bruno Caboclo 18 SF Pinheiros
2014 2 37 DeAndre Daniels 22 SF Connecticut
2014 2 59 Xavier Thames 23 PG San Diego State
2012 1 8 Terrence Ross 21 SG Washington
2012 2 37 Quincy Acy 21 PF Baylor
2012 2 56 Tomislav Zubčić 22 F Cibona Zagreb
2011 1 5 Jonas Valančiūnas 18 C Lietuvos Rytas
2010 1 13 Ed Davis 21 PF North Carolina
2009 1 9 DeMar DeRozan 19 SG USC
2008 1 17 Roy Hibbert 21 C Georgetown
2006 1 1 Andrea Bargnani 20 PF/C Benetton Treviso
2006 2 35 P. J. Tucker 21 SF Texas
2006 2 56 Edin Bavčić 22 PF KK Bosna
2005 1 7 Charlie Villanueva 20 PF Connecticut
2005 1 16 Joey Graham 23 G/F Oklahoma State
2005 2 41 Roko Ukić 20 PG KK Split
2005 2 58 Uros Slokar 22 PF/C P.A. Udine
2004 2 39 Albert Miralles 22 C Roseto Basket
2003 1 4 Chris Bosh 19 PF/C Georgia Tech
2003 2 52 Remon Van de Har 21 C FC Barcelona
2002 1 20 Kareem Rush 21 SG Missouri
2001 1 17 Michael Bradley 22 PF/C Villanova
2000 1 21 Morris Peterson 22 SG/SF Michigan State
2000 2 46 DeeAndre Hulett 19 SG/SF College of the Sequoias
Toronto Raptors Players FAQ
Who Are the Toronto Raptors Starters?
Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet are the starting guards, which hasn’t always been the case, since VanVleet used to be Lowry’s backup. With Kawhi Leonard out, OG Anunoby has moved into a starting role. The frontcourt starters are Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka.
Who Is the Leading Scorer on the Toronto Raptors Starting 5?
Pascal Siakam is the Toronto Raptors’ best scorer, averaging 23.6 points per game this season.
How Many All-Rookie Team Players Have the Raptors Drafted?
Toronto Raptors have drafted six players that were named to the NBA All-Rookie Team first team in their respective rookie seasons: It was Damon Stoudamire in 1996, then Marcus Camby in 1997. Later came Morris Peterson in 2001 followed by Chris Bosch in 2004, then Charlie Villanueva in 2006 and finally Andrea Bargnani in 2007. 1996 draft, Stoudemire, was also named Rookie of the Year.
Who Did Raptors Draft in 2014?
In 2014, the Raptors drafted Bruno Caboclo, DeAndre Daniels and Xavier Thames. However, that year Toronto acquired cash considerations from the Nets in exchange for the draft rights to their second round, 59th pick, Xavier Thames.
Have the Raptors Ever Won the Draft Lottery?
Yes. The Raptors won the draft lottery once back in 2006. They used the first pick to select the 7ft Italian Forward Andra Bargnani – the first-ever European to be selected as the no.1 pick.