On a super-slow news day like today, my mind is mulling all the players I’ve seen in Raptor red (and purple, and pinstripes) over the years. I thought it might be fun to consider some All-Time Raptor awards, none of which are complimentary.
Worst Raptor – God, there have been some woeful guys suit up for us, particularly in those early years at Skydome. I’ll have to go with Mengke Bateer, the only NBA player born in Mongolia. He stood (and still stands, as far as I know) 6’11″, and weighed 300 pounds. Neither his height nor his heft was used to do anything mildly challenging like grabbing rebounds. He lasted 7 games as a Rap, scoring 4 baskets.
Worst opposing player – We’ve seen some unqualified people masquerading as pros, but perhaps the most astonishingly dreadful combination of no-talent and no-effort was Zarko Cabarkapa (don’t blame me, I didn’t name him) who was somehow chosen #17 in 2003. That spectacular draft year also featured a kid out of high school named LeBron James, and also-rans like Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. In case any of you question the importance of drafting well, note that Darko Milicic was selected before Carmelo Anthony, and Zarko was chosen before David West. Stunningly bad choices like those get General Managers fired.
Most out of shape Raptor – A tough choice between Oliver Miller and Rafael Araujo, but I’ll go with Hoffa. There were several games during which I thought he might throw up on the sidelines. Oliver reminded me of Mr. Creosote, but he could play.
Worst First Rounder ever selected by Raps – Sadly, there are a lot of candidates. Alexander Radojevic in ’99, Michael Bradley in ’01 (who scouted that guy?), Araujo in ’04. Some of you may nominate Charlie Villenueva or Joey Graham, but while they both disappointed, at least they had careers. [20-second timeout: Did you hear the rumour about Charlie V being traded back to our team? Sure, let's do that - and while we're at it, let's bring back Vince! What's the emoticon for sarcasm?] I’ll stick with Hoffa, making him a double-worst “winner”. He was the highest pick at #8 of our Worst nominees (the others were #12 & #17, respectively), and a complete flop. Still on the board of an admittedly down year: Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson and Kevin Martin.
And now back to the present – watch for a two-part series analyzing the Raptors’ front office and coaching staffers, arriving shortly at a Raptors Rapture website near you.
Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.