Toronto Raptors: 30 greatest players of all-time

(Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
(Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Damon Stoudamire – Toronto Raptors (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

6. Damon Stoudamire

The emotional attachment to Mighty Mouse is real. The first ever draft pick in Raptors history, Stoudamire was drafted seventh overall in the 1995 NBA Draft. His impact in such a small space of time was noteworthy, but like most of the young stars that played for the Raptors in the early years, the tide ended up turning and no one liked losing or apparently playing in Canada.

Stoudamire averaged 8.8 assists per game in a Raptors uniform, the best mark in franchise history by a long way. His rookie season saw him dish out over nine assists per game with 9 points per contest.

Stoudamire was a lock for Rookie of the Year and set the record for the most 3-pointers made by a rookie in season — 133 threes to be exact.

Despite his size, Stoudamire was an excellent on-ball defender in the right match-up, his dogged approach and hustle made life a living hell of opposing point guards. In his 200 starts for the Raptors, he averaged over one steal. He did have a case of the turnover bug in himself, but I’m not here to nitpick, Stoudamire was a joy to watch in the land of giants. His play masked how bad the early years really were.

Once then-GM Isaiah Thomas departed from the team, Stoudamire grew weary of the front office and the direction of the team. Like the handful of stars that would learn from his ways, Stoudamire took his talents south of the border, joining the Portland Trail Blazers during the 1997-98 season. Things would never be as promising as they were in Toronto though, but the damage was already done.

Great player though.