Raptors Top Ten Draft Selections of all time

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DeMAR DeROZAN – shooting guard, USC

Selected by: Bryan Colangelo, #9, 2009

The Raptors were still deep in the lottery as a result of Bryan Colangelo’s teardown of the mess he inherited from Rob Babcock. The 2008-09 Raptors were 33-49, and had an insane number of players get a roster shot, including Marcus Banks, Patrick O’Bryant, Jamario Moon, Hassan Adams, Pops Mensah-Bonsu…oh dear. BC was trying to keep Chris Bosh in Toronto by drafting a talented wing player to complement the All-Star forward. That ploy didn’t work; Bosh would take his talents to South Beach along with LeBron James.

The draft itself featured some monumentally bad choices (Minnesota selected Jonny Flynn ahead of Stephen Curry -do you think they would like a do-over?; Hasheem Thabeet was chosen #2 by Memphis, ahead of James Harden – wow), but the Raptors did well by choosing a high character scorer who declared for the draft after his freshman season. While there were some later picks who have turned into solid professionals (DeMarre Carroll, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson), none has been as impactful on his team as the constantly improving DeRozan.

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While Bargnani never truly lived up to his billing as a first overall pick, DeRozan would quietly carve out a decent start to his career. And in the 2012-13 season, he would go on to cement his name as the new face of the franchise, having a break out year where he would average 18 points on 44.5 percent shooting.

While the pairing of DeRozan and Rudy Gay didn’t pan out, it would be the pairing of Kyle Lowry that would help springboard the young guard to success, seeing the fruits of their labor in form of leading the Raptors to a franchise best 48 wins in the 2013-14 season, along with the team’s second Atlantic Division title and a remarkable return to the postseason (DeMar’s first). DeRozan would follow that up by leading the Raptors to a new franchise record 49 wins, another divisional title and another postseason berth in the 2014-15 season, although the team was swept in 4 games by Washington.

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Fiercely loyal and competitive, as well as always looking to improve, DeRozan has proven to be one of the best draft selections in Toronto history.

  • by Matthew Allman

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