Ranking every Toronto Raptors first-round NBA draft pick

GM Bobby Webster discusses the Raptors approach to the NBA Draft, even without a pick, says first they'll look to get in, and if not, they'll reach out to any undrafted free agents that their scouts are high on.

The Toronto Raptors‘ first-round draft history has long been a roller coaster ride for fans. For every DeMar DeRozan, it seems, there are three Rafael Araujo’s.

The Raps don’t currently have a pick in the 2018 draft, but are rumoured to be actively looking to trade their way into the lottery.

The final rankings were determined using a highly-scientific process in which the players were evaluated and graded based on three criteria:

• How they fared in a Raptors uniform
• How they performed in their careers as whole in Toronto or elsewhere
• Draft value based on where they were selected (and who the team left on the board as a result).

Players are awarded a maximum of five points for each This list includes first-round picks only.

[Note: Kareem Rush, Jonathan Bender and Roy Hibbert, all of whom were drafted by the Raptors but traded for a veteran on draft night, are not included].

Now, onto the list (in reverse order):

No. 20 (tie): Rafael Araujo (8th overall, 2004)

Career accomplishments: 0 | Raptors impact: 1 | Draft value: 0
Total: 1

In a year in which the Raptors were in desperate need of a wing to slot alongside Vince Carter, the bruising big man was infamously selected one pick ahead of Andre Igoudala. And you know what? It still hurts.

In two seasons with the Raptors (all told, he was out of the NBA in three seasons) Araujo averaged three points and three rebounds. In case you’re wondering, Araujo’s one point for “Raptors impact” comes solely because as a rookie he once picked a fight with Bonzi Wells.

No. 20 (tie): Bruno Caboclo (20th overall, 2014)

Career accomplishments: 0 | Raptors impact: 1 | Draft value: 0
Total: 1

A swing, and a miss.

So why does Caboclo get one point? We’ll always have his magnificent garbage-time debut.

No. 18: Michael Bradley (17th overall, 2001)

Career accomplishments: 0.5 | Raptors impact: 1 | Draft value: 0
Total: 1.5

Bradley had an uneventful five-year career, the most notable of his three seasons in Toronto coming in 2002-03 when he played 19 minutes per game and averaged five points and six boards.

No. 17: Joey Graham (16th overall, 2005)

Career accomplishments: 2 | Raptors impact: 2 | Draft value: 0
Total: 4

I liked Graham, but there’s no getting around the fact that he never developed into anything more than an end-of-rotation type player. He could never shake the fact that he was chosen one spot ahead of fellow small forward and former all-star Danny Granger.

No. 16: Ed Davis (13th overall, 2010)

Career accomplishments: 2 | Raptors impact: 2 | Draft value: 2
Total: 6

Davis never reached his potential in Toronto after averaging more than seven points and seven rebounds in his rookie season. Looking back, apart from Patrick Patterson (who was chosen with the following pick), there weren’t many standout bigs selected after Davis.

No. 15: Terrence Ross (8th overall, 2012)

Career accomplishments: 1 | Raptors impact: 3 | Draft value: 2.5
Total: 6.5

Ross had his moments in a Raptors uniform. He won a dunk contest (which means something in my books), famously dropped 51 points in a game, and played great down the stretch in the playoff series versus Brooklyn. But he was never consistent enough to be the game-changer off the bench he had the potential to be.

No. 14:Andrea Bargnani (1st overall, 2006)

Career accomplishments: 2 | Raptors impact: 3 | Draft value: 2
Total: 7

Bargnani unfairly gets the “bust” label among many Raptors followers, but the seven-footer was productive offensively during his time in Toronto, averaging over 15 points per game over seven seasons with the Raps — including over 300 starts.

He was never the franchise player you expect from the first overall pick, but in retrospect his was a very weak draft year. Apart from LaMarcus Aldridge (2nd overall- but remember the Raptors already had a lefty big man in Chris Bosh), an obvious upgrade, the rest of the top five in the ’06 draft included Adam Morrison, Tyrus Thomas, and Shelden Williams.

Above all, let’s take this moment to appreciate the best near-assist in Raptors history (apologies for the grainy video):

No. 13: Charlie Villanueva (7th overall, 2005)

Career accomplishments: 2 | Raptors impact: 3 | Draft value: 3
Total: 8

Aside from Bargnani, Villanueva is the last Raptors rookie to earn first-team All-Rookie honours. He only spent one season in Toronto before he was traded to Milwaukee for T.J. Ford, but it was a memorable season (aka The Mike James Year). Villanueva averaged 13 points as a rookie, highlighted by a 48-point performance late in the season — which ranks just ten point shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s rookie single-game scoring record.

No. 12: Jakob Poeltl (9th overall, 2016)

Career accomplishments: 2 | Raptors impact: 3 | Draft value: 3.5
Total: 8.5

Poeltl might seem a tad low on the list, but he’s no doubt impressed in his two seasons with the Raptors thus far and seems poised to become a fixture in Toronto’s frontcourt.

No. 11 (tie): Marcus Camby (2nd overall, 1996)

Career accomplishments: 4 | Raptors impact: 3 | Draft value: 2
Total: 9

Camby came out of the gates swinging as a rookie, averaging 13.5 points and a whopping three blocks per game over his first two seasons (including an NBA-best 3.7 per game as a sophomore) before he was traded to the New York Knicks.

He went on to a great career, winning Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2007, but gets docked points for his draft value. Players selected after Camby include: Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, and Steve Nash.

No. 11 (tie): Delon Wright (20th overall, 2015)

Career accomplishments: 2 | Raptors impact: 3 | Draft value: 4
Total: 9

Wright uses his size and unique game to be a matchup nightmare on either end of the floor, carving a role as a key Raptors reserve and versatile weapon.

No. 9: Pascal Siakam (27th overall, 2016)

Pascal Siakam

Career accomplishments: 2 | Raptors impact: 3 | Draft value: 4.5
Total: 9.5

As he continues to improve Siakam should comfortably climb up this list, but at the moment he’s a game-changing presence for the Raptors. His memorable personal 10-0 run in a game against the Golden State Warriors this past season perfectly capsulates everything the 24 year-old brings to the table.

No. 8: Jonas Valanciunas (5th overall, 2011)

Career accomplishments: 3 | Raptors impact: 4 | Draft value: 3
Total: 10

Valanciunas may never be an all-star, which is what you’d hope a top-five pick can become, but he’s been one of the most important Raptors during the most successful stretch in franchise history. There were great players that fell in the ’11 draft — specifically Klay Thompson (11th) and Kawhi Leonard (15th) — but the only notable centres drafted after Valanciunas were Bismack Biyombo (7th) and Nik Vucevic (16th).

No. 7: OG Anunoby (21st overall, 2017)

Career accomplishments: 1.5 | Raptors impact: 4 | Draft value: 5
Total: 10.5

The biggest thing Anunoby has going against him on this list is one thing he can’t control: his NBA experience. But even after just one season, Anunoby’s potential is sky-high and he deserves a ton of credit for being a starter on the top team in the East, and for what was nearly perhaps the most clutch shot in franchise history.

No. 6:Morris Peterson (21st overall, 2000)

Career accomplishments: 3 | Raptors impact: 4 | Draft value: 4
Total: 11

MoPete went from the 21st pick to a key contributor for the Raptors, reaching the post-season in three of his seven seasons in Toronto. Whether coming off the bench in the playoffs as a rookie, or as a fixture alongside Carter in the Raps’ starting five, Peterson earned his status as an all-time fan-favourite.

No.5: Damon Stoudamire (7th overall, 1995)

Career accomplishments: 3 | Raptors impact: 4.5 | Draft value: 4
Total: 11.5

The very first draft pick in team history, Mighty Mouse wasn’t a Raptor for very long — traded to Portland during his third season — but had a nearly immeasurable impact as the first face of the franchise. He earned Rookie of the Year honours during the Raptors inaugural season and was incredible during one of the most important games in team history when the last-place Raps beat Michael Jordan and the first-place Chicago Bulls.

No.4: Tracy McGrady (9th overall, 1997)

Career accomplishments: 5 | Raptors impact: 2.5 | Draft value: 5
Total: 12.5

After a quiet first couple of seasons with the Raptors, McGrady, who was drafted out of high school, averaged over 15 points in year three and took his talents to Orlando where he embarked on what became a Hall of Fame career. We’ll always look back at his time in Toronto and the pairing with cousin Carter as the franchises ultimate “What If?”

No.2 (tie): Vince Carter* (5th overall, 1998)

Career accomplishments: 5 | Raptors impact: 5 | Draft value: 4
Total: 14

Carter became a global superstar on the heels of his unforgettable 2000 Slam Dunk contest performance, bringing the Raptors brand to a worldwide audience and inspiring hordes of young Canadians to pick up a basketball.

*Traded from Golden State to Toronto on draft night in exchange for Antawn Jamison (4th overall).

No.2 (tie): DeMar DeRozan (9th overall, 2009)

Career accomplishments: 4 | Raptors impact: 5 | Draft value: 5
Total: 14

What more could you ask of a ninth overall pick? DeRozan has demolished Raptors records — including the franchise mark for both total points and games played — and been the team’s go-to star during it’s most successful era to date.

No.1: Chris Bosh (4th overall, 2003)

Career accomplishments: 5 | Raptors impact: 5 | Draft value: 5
Total: 15

Our only perfect score on the list.

Bosh is a future Hall of Famer, with two titles and one of the most clutch rebounds and assists in NBA history to his name. With the Raptors, he made four straight all-star teams and carried the team back into the playoffs. Bosh gets points for his draft value because of the talent gap between him and the bigs selected afterwards, and for delivering on everything you would want from a top-five pick.

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