Did the Toronto Raptors fail Chris Bosh?

Toronto Raptors - Chris Bosh (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Chris Bosh (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – P.J. Tucker (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Small forward carousel

No discussion regarding Chris Bosh’s tenure as the franchise cornerstone would be complete without discussing the massive issues we had addressing the small forward position. The Raptors trotted out more than a handful of different names at the position, never really finding an answer.

There were some good names and some not so good ones. The good ones included Jalen Rose, Shawn Marion, P.J. Tucker, and Jorge Garbajosa.

Jalen Rose played everywhere from the one to the three during his tenure with the Raptors and was an exciting piece prior to Vince Carter being shipped out of town. He was one of the top small forwards during the Bosh era but was wildly overpaid. Clearly, in a rebuild phase post-Carter, his excessive contract resulted in him being shipped out of town in a salary dump.

Perhaps the best small forward we had during that time was one of Bryan Colangelo’s former Phoenix Suns charges. Shawn Marion was a revelation for the Toronto Raptors. He finally brought some stability and upside to the small forward position but was acquired on an expiring contract. He only played in 27 regular season games for the Raptors. He was part of a sign and trade for Hedo Turkoglu in the summer of 2009.

Another one of good small forwards was P.J. Tucker. Twice a Raptor, never appreciated. One of the best draft picks in Toronto Raptors history was the selection of P.J. Tucker with the 35th overall pick of the 2006 draft.

Still in the league 12 years later, Tucker is a highly coveted asset whenever he hits free agency. A ‘glue guy’, and a plus, plus defender who can score, Tucker was never truly unleashed in his first stint as a Raptor.

Jorge Garbajosa was excellent as a Toronto Raptor. As a 29-year-old in his first NBA season, Garbajosa made the All-Rookie first team. Unfortunately, his strong rookie season ended in a gruesome injury.

Garbajosa would frustratingly play for Spain that summer against the Raptors wishes, but only after the Federation took out a $1 million dollar insurance policy on the forward. He would play in just seven games the following season after tests revealed that his injury had not fully healed.

Not in a forgiving mood, the Toronto Raptors bought Garbajosa out of his contract and sued the Spanish Basketball Federation. He was exactly the sort of player the Raptors needed and was a large part of helping propel the Raptors to their first ever Atlantic division crown.

Now for some of the small forwards who did not work out so well. This list is much longer but we will only cover some of them in detail: Eric Williams, Jamario Moon, and Morris Peterson.

Jamario Moon may be remembered fondly by some fans, but that has more to do with his athleticism than it does his actual production. Moon was never more than a bench piece that was forced to start on a team with a major role in the lineup.

Morris Peterson, on the other hand, had his moments as a Toronto Raptor. He performed well for the Raptors in an age where the league had less talent and athleticism than there is today. He had a couple of strong seasons but was ultimately someone the Raptors continuously looked to find an upgrade on, especially post-Carter.

Eric Williams was merely an uninspiring role player for the Toronto Raptors. He was the best player the Raptors actually received in the Vince Carter deal, but that did not suddenly make him a better player than he was. Already on the wrong side of 30, Williams started 29 of the 62 games he played for the Raptors.