In the course of the Toronto Raptors franchise history, there has been a fair share first-round picks walking in the door. How do they rank from worst to first?
24 years of Toronto Raptors basketball has produced some exciting first-round draft picks. Not all have gone so well, as frequent misses in the lottery had seemingly become thematic following the 1998 season. We will take a look at every Toronto Raptors first-round draft pick and rank them from worst to first. That being said, determining how to make a completely subjective list have some objectivity to it was an interesting exercise.
What ‘best’ means needs to be properly defined. Does it mean talent? Does it mean the best career? Does it mean that the pick was considered a steal and/or that the team landed the best player available?
In the end, a combination of the three is the only way to be truly objective. Talent and career trajectory are important, but if the Raptors passed on numerous players of obvious superior talent it will affect their spot in these rankings.
As you will see as you go through these rankings there are superior talents ranked below inferior ones simply because they were not the best player available then, and the optics of the perplexing draft selections have only worsened in hindsight.
To qualify for this list a player had to be a member of the Toronto Raptors at the end of draft night. We will be ignoring that some of these deals could not be consummated until the start of the new league year. This means we will be ranking Vince Carter instead of Antawn Jamison from the 1998 draft class.
It means that Jonathan Bender will not be ranked since he was traded on draft day for Antonio Davis. Kareem Rush will not be ranked as he was traded in a salary-cap related move for the 27th overall pick in Chris Jefferies. Finally, Roy Hibbert will not be ranked as he was also part of a draft-day deal along with T.J. Ford and Rasho Nesterovic for Jermaine O’Neal. Let’s dive in.