Raptors Top Ten Draft Selections of all time

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MARCUS CAMBY – Forward/Centre: University of Connecticut

Selected by: Isiah Thomas, #2, 1996

Marcus Camby was the Naismith Award winner as player of the year in the NCAA, leading UConn to the Final Four. He joined a Raptors team in its second year of existence, and although he immediately established himself as an NBA player, particularly on defense, he never seemed happy in Toronto. I don’t blame him too much for that. Those were difficult years for everyone involved with the franchise. Being shoehorned into Skydome (now Rogers Centre) for home games was grim for both players and fans, and Camby had few capable teammates.

His best years as a pro occurred after his trade to the New York Knicks prior to the start of the 1998-99 season. Butch Carter had become Raptors coach after Darrell Walker was fired, and Camby indicated to Butch he wasn’t interested in off-season weightlifting. Butch told me years later that’s why he wanted Marcus gone. Butch also said he didn’t regret moving Marcus, although I wonder if he’d say that today.

Marcus played 973 NBA games over 16 seasons, 786 of which he started. In four of those seasons, he led the NBA in blocked shots and ranks twelfth all time. He was Defensive Player of the Year in 2007-08, and was a four-time member of the First or Second All-Defensive team.

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Camby won’t ever get a plaque in Springfield MS at the Basketball Hall of Fame, but he was a dandy player for many years. I only wish more of them had been spent in a Toronto uniform.

Next: #9. Short in stature, long in performance