February 7, 2009
By Alexander Lyle…
Everyone loves a superstar, right? It’s the guys like Vince Carter and Chris Bosh that stick in your memory for decades. They are the guys that kids in thirty years will read about. Well if we know they’re gonna be immortalized, why waste good ink. Let’s instead cast our minds back over the Raptors short history and fish out the other guys. Here’s a little about the best supporting-acts to ever pull on a Raps jersey.
Tracy Murrary was the first ever Raptor to play every game in a regular season. He played 160 games for the team in two different stints. In the all important first season of the expansion club, Murray was third in points per game for the team (16.2) and first in 3-point field goal percentage (.422). He had 23 points and 12 rebounds in one of the Raptors best wins- in their first year against the Bulls. During his second go around, his numbers were down, but was a useful part of the Raptors greatest season (00-01).
The Raptors’ all-time leader in games played (542), Morris Peterson was an integral part of the team during his seven years in Canada. MoPete also holds the records in T.O for most consecutive games played (371), minutes played (16,059), three-point field goals made (801) and most threes attempted (2158). He’s also second in steals to Doug Christie with (552). Needless to say, this guy is a Raptor legend. Despite all these feats, Morris was never really the first or second star of the team- in none of his seasons did he lead the Raps in scoring, assists, rebounds, steals or blocks. Peterson is also the only player to be present on both of the Raptors’ two best teams, the 00-01 team, and the suprising 06-07 sqaud.
One of the more unique Raptor careers was that of Spaniard Jorge Garbajosa. He was a somewhat out-of-the-blue signing by Bryan Colangelo prior to the 06-07 season, but became a fundamental piece of the Raptors puzzle for that year. He gave them a bit of everything with 8.5 PPG, 1.2 steals a night, 1.9 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1 triple made a night. The next year he only logged 7 games due to a foot injury. He has since gone back to Spain, most likely to never be seen in the NBA again.
Alvin Williams was the king of support players in the heyday of this ball club. He was arguably the second most important reason the Raps had so much success from 1999-2002, behind Vince Carter of course. He was one of Vince’s main suppliers during that time, and is the Raps all-time leader in assists (1791) and second in games played (417). He was also known for saving some of his best performances for the most important of times.He hit game winning shots against Atlanta (a 3 in OT) in ‘02 and Seattle in ‘01 (a putback with .01 seconds left). He had 19 points, 8 assists and 3 rebounds in his first proper playoff game (he played one postseason minute the previous season) against the Knicks in ‘01, and then contributed 18 points and 4 assists in the fifth game of that ‘01 first round series against New York, the game that gave Toronto their only ever playoff series win.
Jerome Williams was a true fan favourite whilst in T.O. He spent five years in a Toronto uniform and put up some very respectable numbers during that time. His best year for the Raps came in 02-03, when he posted 9.7 PPG and 9.2 RPG in an average of 33 minutes played. Even though it took a stinking Raps team that year for him to put up his best numbers, he still was a handy part of more than handy teams in his first two years in Toronto. He averaged 5 and 4 in his opening Raptor season and 7.6 and 5.7 the next year. Unfortunately for the Junkyard Dog, the Raps were fizzling out just as he was heating up.
Doug Christie logged 314 games for Toronto over five seasons. Through all of those years, he contributed useful stats. His best individual year statistically (97-98) came whilst playing in Toronto. During that season he averaged 16.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.6 APG as well as 2.4 swipes a match. Other notable Christie facts are: he had 12 points, 8 dimes, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in his first ever start as a Raptor ( on 12 March, ‘96, in place of the injured Damon Stoudamire), he was runner-up for the league’s Most Improved Player award for the 96-97 season (behind Miami’s Isaac Austin) and in that same year he was one of only four players to total at least 400 rebounds, 300 assists, 100 steals and 100 three-pointers (the others were some guys named Jordan, Pippen and Blaylock). He went on to become a big part of the powerhouse Kings teams at the start of this century.