Toronto Raptors: Vince Carter (BEST)
It might’ve ended quite unceremoniously, but more than any other time in franchise history, save for the 2019 NBA Finals, Vince Carter made Toronto the capital of the casual basketball watching universe. The man we once described as “Half Man, Half Amazing” was not only one of the most athletic specimens we’d seen in years, but a heck of a basketball player no less (evidenced by his eight selections to the All-Star game).
But nobody who watched basketball over the past few decades will ever forget his performance in the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, which remains the greatest singular performance by a player in said contest of all time.
Toronto Raptors: Andrea Bargnani (WORTS)
Just moments after the Toronto Raptors selected the Italian-born Andrea Bargnani with the #1 overall pick of the 2006 NBA Draft, ESPN analyst Jay Bilas offered a rather harrowing assessment of Bargnani’s game: “he does not rebound, he does not post up, he is not physical; he needs to work on his body.”
In other words, Bargnani was a personification of what terrified so many NBA executives from taking players from Europe: he flashed the skill to be a difference-maker when playing on the perimeter, but his overall lack of physicality, and the fact that he was still so young (20 years old) and raw when drafted, made him a rather high-risk roll of the dice.