As a Raptor fan, nothing gets my blood boiling more than seeing a former member of the team perform really well with another uniform on. Now don’t get me wrong there are certain players that I enjoy seeing do well. Players who left on positive terms and who have found success with other squads I can cheer with. But those that we traded away or foolishly let go leave me throwing the remote at the Flat screen.
This year there have been numerous former Raptors playing large roles for their teams in the playoffs. Some are still in it, fighting to win the ultimate prize.
Let’s look at some of the hottest playoff performers,that happen to be former Raptors.
Carlos Delfino – Milwaukee Bucks
This one is tough. He played fairly inconsistently for us while he was in Toronto and he was also part of a trade that brought Sonny Weems and Amir Johnson to the Dinos. I like both Amir and Sonny and cannot fault Colangelo for that deal.
On the other hand, he would have looked really good in the backcourt with Calderon and Jack.
Delfino was a major reason teams began to “Fear the Deer” . He hit triples with ease, averaged 11.2 points and helped the Bucks push the Hawks to game 7.
We miss him scale – 7/10
Marcus Camby - Portland Trailblazers
He is a beast. An absolute monster that can rebound the ball. When you play against him, everyone out there is afraid because the ball seems to belong to him. He averaged 10 blocks during the series with the Suns, but wasn’t really a factor for Portland.
Still he’d look great in a Raptor uniform. He could teach Bargnani how to grab a board or two.
We miss him scale – 7/10
Anthony Parker – Cleveland Cavaliers
He deserves a chance at the championship, doesn’t he? One of my favourite all-time Raptors. He is playing a key role with the Cavs in this playoff run. He is a veteran who has played very meaningful games with Toronto and Maccabi Tel-Aviv. He is no stranger to a big shot and is not afraid to take it. Most importantly he is a strong defensive presence out there. Exactly what you need come playoff time.
Toronto could have used him in almost every possession this year. Defence wins championships and it gets you to the playoffs. We needed a little AP out there this season.
We miss him scale 7.5/10
John Salmons – Milwaukee Bucks
He was never really a Raptor, but almost was in Bryan Colangelo’s first off-season. The Raptors had agreed to a contract in principle until “God” told him to sign with Sacramento. He has been a solid contributor everywhere he has gone and is averaging 17.2 points for the Bucks in the playoffs. He was a major reason the Bucks were able to finish the year so strong despite the loss of Andrew Bogut. He became a go-to player late in games for the Bucks.
Wouldn’t he looks great in a Raptor uniform? I’ve been saying that for 3 seasons now. So much better than Fred Jones.
We Miss him scale 7.5/10
Chauncy Billups – Denver Nuggets
This is the guy I would want taking a big shot for my team. He hits big shots with such ease it has become his trademark over the years. He is tough to defend and scary as hell to play against on the defensive side. Billups is tough off the dribble and he always seems to find a way to make a tough shot.
He could have been a franchise player for us. What hurts more is that we gave him away for peanuts.
We miss him scale – 8/10
Vince Carter - Orlando Magic
Yup, he had to be last on the list. I know, I know. Part of us hates his guts, but the other part of us misses him so much it hurts. This is the definition of a go-to guy. Especially in the playoffs. He hits big shots, plays tough and doesn’t let a bad game deter him from ending a game in the dying seconds. He was a great compliment to the Orlando offence at times against the Bobcats and he was the focal point at others. He could be the key to this team making a championship appearance or winning it all, for that matter.
He would be the perfect complement to Chris Bosh in Toronto. He would solidify our backcourt and give us a deadly second weapon. He would do what Turkoglu could not this past year.
We miss him scale – 9/10
Those who hate most fervently must have once loved deeply
- Kurt Tucholsky
Shawn Marion – Dallas Mavericks A complete non-factor in the playoffs. Missed his speed and leadership during the season though. 6/10
Matt Bonner – San Antonio Spurs The Red Rocket is playing key minutes for the Spurs. He isn’t a huge game changer but he is a steady presence for this team 5/10 (6/10 if you include the emotional connection Toronto fans have to him)
Jermaine O’neal – A lot better than most Raptor fans give him credit for. We do not miss him playing with Chris Bosh or Bargnani because it didn’t work, but we do miss his leadership, fire and the capspace his contract will create. He has played well in Miami and deserves some love. 6/10
Jamario Moon – Getting more burn than I thought he would in these playoffs. Not playing a key role, but strong play in limited minutes. He is an exciting player that would have probably only seen limited minutes in Toronto as well. 5/10
Joey Graham – 21 points the other night in a losing cause. Wow! But as Doug Smith put it – we’ve been wondering five years whether he can do that consistently. Probably a fringe NBA player next season. 2/10
So the playoffs have a number of ex-Raptors left. Although I am still cheering for the young Hawks and Captain Canada’s Suns, I am cheering for Anthony Parker to do well in these playoffs as well. His Cavs have a very good shot to win it all. It would be a great moment for Parker and I will cheer him if he gets there. I just can’t help but like the guy.
I’m also torn on the Vince issue. It will be both wonderful and tragic to see him win. Especially in a uniform that doesn’t have a dinosaur on it. He is a gifted player, no one can deny that, but one that conjures up so much emotion. In the end, it would be fitting for him to win one. Orlando is a fine Basketball team.
So which ex-Raptor are you cheering for?
Let us know!
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***Kristoffer Pedlar The Zan Tabak Herald