Raptors Ex-Files: Close friends Lowry and DeRozan set to go head-to-head


Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) controls the ball as former teammate San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan (10) defends during first half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (Frank Gunn / CP)

Though the Toronto Raptors won’t be in action, this Saturday is likely a day to mark down if you’re a Toronto Raptors fan.

For the first time in their NBA careers, former Raptors greats Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will go head-to-head against each other with each wearing a uniform other that doesn’t say “Toronto” on it.

The two close friends’ respective teams, the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls, will play in the Windy City Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sportsnet 360.

And while we’re on the topic of former Raptors, there are actually a ton of ex-Raptors still kicking around the league making an impact – that seven-season run of making the post-season, plus a championship has certainly left a legacy.

Here’s a look at how fairs a few notable and recent names from Raptors past.

Kyle Lowry, Miami Heat

11.9 PPG | 5.0 RPG | 7.5 APG | 41.0 FG% | 29.8 3P%

Though he isn’t putting up the kind of gaudy numbers (particularly as a three-point shooter) as he did during his Raptors peak, on a team like the Heat that’s near the top of the Eastern Conference featuring other stars such as Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, Lowry doesn’t need to be that guy anymore.

Instead, he’s appeared to fit into an excellent, title-contending situation and is finally getting the recognition he deserves from around the rest of the league that he appeared to be denied while doing his best work for the Raptors.

Additionally, brief two-time former Raptor P.J. Tucker is on the Heat and while he’ll never put up big numbers, he’s, once again, shooting the ball well from three-point range – especially from the right corner – and his hardnosed, defence-first mentality is a natural fit for the Heat.

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

25.7 PPG | 5.2 RPG | 4.3 APG | 47.9 FG% | 36.5 3P%

Although there was much skepticism from all around the league when it was announced that DeRozan was joining the Bulls in the off-season after three seasons spent in San Antonio, the situation has worked out better for both Chicago and DeRozan better than anyone could’ve imagined.

Despite the Bulls boasting quite a bit of talent with players such as Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic already there, plus the addition of Lonzo Ball in the off-season, DeRozan has emerged as the best player on Chicago’s roster and an early MVP candidate this season as Chicago have looked like a legitimate power in the Eastern Conference.

And in case DeRozan wasn’t enough of a former Raptor connection for you, Chicago also picked up Matt “Mr. 99 per cent” Thomas, who, like with Toronto, has been sparsely used so far.

Norman Powell, Portland Trail Blazers

16.9 PPG | 2.5 RPG | 1.6 APG | 50.5 FG% | 44.4 3P%

Like he showed in his last season and a half with the Raptors, Powell has become one of the most efficient and reliable wing shooters in the NBA, tied for sixth among all qualified players in three-point percentage this season.

And with his Blazers sitting on just a 10-10 record to begin the season, his productivity has been needed to help Portland keep pace within the Western Conference.

Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers

More on this list for posterity’s sake than anything else, Leonard has yet to play this season after he suffered a partial tear in his right ACL during the post-season last year, and had off-season surgery to repair it.

There’s some hope that his recovery could be ahead of time he might be able to play at some point this season, but as things stand right now, there’s not much to say about the 2019 Finals MVP except to pass on some well-wishes on a speedy recovery.

Serge Ibaka, Los Angeles Clippers

3.2 PPG | 2.4 RPG | 0.6 APG | 26.3 FG% | 20.0 3P%

It’s been a rough go of things for Ibaka this season, who has only played five games this season after going through back surgery in the off-season.

In order to aid with his rehab and to get back to playing the way he knows he’s capable of Ibaka even decided to play a few games in the G League with the Agua Caliente Clippers, but he still looks out of sync even after time pent down there.

Marc Gasol, Bàsquet Girona

Perhaps the most interesting former Raptor story on this list, Gasol retired from the NBA after last season’s stint with the Los Angeles Lakers, but that didn’t mean he was ending his time as a basketball player.

Gasol played for Spain this past summer on the Olympic team and recently announced that he was going to play for Bàsquet Girona, a second-division team in his native he founded in 2014 and, of which, he remains the owner of the team.

Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers

7.8 PPG | 2.4 RPG | 1.0 APG | 47.8 FG% | 43.1 3P%

A nagging hamstring injury has hampered Green’s ability to play as much as he’s likely wanted to, but when he has got onto the court he’s been his usual reliable three-and-D self for a Sixers team that’s better than its record indicates – as long as Joel Embiid is playing, that is.

Of interest to Raptors fans, barring anything unforeseen happening to Green, he should finally receive his 2019 championship ring in front of the Toronto faithful on Dec. 28 at Scotiabank Arena when next Philly comes to visit.

Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans

18.8 PPG | 12.3 RPG | 2.4 APG | 50.2 FG% | 50.0 3P%

Though the Pelicans have been something of a disaster this season, largely thanks to injuries to both Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, Valanciunas has been the one consistent for New Orleans this season and the monster numbers he’s put up serve as solid proof of this fact.

Valanciunas came over to the Pelicans in an off-season trade between New Orleans and Memphis and has remained just as productive as ever like the true pro he is.

Rudy Gay, Utah Jazz

9.8 PPG | 4.4 RPG | 0.8 APG | 58.1 FG% | 55.6 3P%

Having only made his season debut last week after missing most of the season with a left heel ailment, Gay hasn’t exactly set the world on fire for his new team, but he’s thus far proven to be a pretty reliable weapon off the bench for the Jazz, adding to the second-unit firepower they already boast with players like Joe Ingles and reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson.

Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic

10.1 PPG | 1.8 RPG | 1.9 APG | 38.6 FG% | 30.7 3P%

Within the last three seasons, Ross has been one of the better bench gunners in the league, but he hasn’t been nearly as productive as he had been in the past.

It’s unclear what the cause could be, but a good reason might be the situation he’s in with the Magic, who are the worst team in the Eastern Conference and don’t have the talent likely needed to allow Ross some of those easier looks he was getting before – particularly when Vucevic was on the team.

Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs

12.4 PPG | 9.2 RPG | 2.1 APG | 63.0 FG%

His team isn’t very good, but Poeltl, a former first-round pick of the Raptors, has been rock solid this season.

Like he showed during his two-season stint with Toronto before he was traded as part of the DeRozan deal that brought Leonard to Toronto, there isn’t too much flash to his game, but there is plenty of substance that should see him stick around in the league for many more years to come.

DeAndre’ Bembry, Brooklyn Nets

5.1 PPG | 2.8 RPG | 1.1 APG | 52.1 FG% | 41.2 3P%

Bembry is putting up similarly tepid numbers as he did last season with the Raptors, but he’s appeared more impactful with the Nets likely because his role is more clearly defined playing alongside superstars Kevin Durant and James Harden.

Mostly asked to come off the bench as a defensive energizer who can hit the odd three-ball and help with some spacing, Bembry has found a great situation for himself, playing for one of the best teams in the league.

Cory Joseph, Detroit Pistons

7.0 PPG | 1.7 RPG | 3.5 APG | 45.1 FG% | 29.7 3P%

Tasked with trying to help No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham find his footing in the league, Joseph has been quietly putting together another solid-but-unspectacular season, primarily as the backup point guard in Detroit.

Terence Davis II, Sacramento Kings

5.2 PPG | 1.8 RPG | 0.8 APG | 30.8 FG% | 20.8 3P%

At one point, Davis was among the Raptors’ most promising prospects as a young, athletic guard with natural lift and touch on his three-point shot.

However, after some off-season legal troubles involving an alleged domestic dispute, the Raptors opted to trade him to the Kings where he’s since toiled away in obscurity.

Of note from that transaction, though, Toronto got a second-round pick from Sacramento for Davis and ended up using it on Toronto native Dalano Banton, who has been among the best surprises of the season.

Ishmail Wainright, Phoenix Suns

0.7 PPG | 0.7 RPG | 0.3 APG | 33.3 FG%

Wainright likely isn’t going to play much this season, but after coming down to the wire for the final roster spots with the Raptors in camp it’s nice to see him land with another NBA team – one of the best teams in the league in the Suns, to boot.

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