The ultimate Toronto Raptors fan favourite bracket: Round of 16

Jerome Williams - Toronto Raptors (Photo by: Ron Turenne/NBAE/Getty Images)
Jerome Williams - Toronto Raptors (Photo by: Ron Turenne/NBAE/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Jonas Valanciunas (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

The New Wave Bracket

(1) Jonas Valanciunas vs (8) Bruno Cabocolo

1) Jonas Valanciunas

JV might be gone, but the JV Hive lives on. During his time with the Toronto Raptors, few players sparked debate quite like Valanciunas.

The traditional big man posted efficient scoring numbers, monster rebounding stats, and surprisingly impactful defensive metrics. As his career advanced he even stretched his game out beyond the arc, providing us with the wonderful line – “Death, Taxes, and JV 3s!”

But he wasn’t as beloved by everyone, at least not on the court. Many questioned if JV’s old-school style and plodding feet could translate to the playoffs. Many thought those two factors were partially responsible for the Raptors postseason struggles (Masai Ujiri appeared to think so as well).

However, JV’s detractors only seemed to make his fans more vocal. With fans and media questioning his abilities, the JV Hive was born. A fan group dedicated to making sure you knew Valanciunas was not the problem. A mob who had his back at all times.

5) Bruno Caboclo

Perhaps still two years away from truly being able to compete in this tournament, Caboclo managed to become a fan favorite without ever producing on the court.

Selected with the 20th pick in the NBA draft, Caboclo was described by Fran Fraschilla as being “Two years away from being two years away.” It’s a term which is light-hearted and endearing now, but perhaps not something you want to hear in the moment.

There might not be a player in Raptors history who has been talked about more per minute of action on the court. Caboclo didn’t give the Raptors much in terms of points, rebounds or assists, but boy did he inspire belief in the future.

At just 23-years-old — three years younger than Pascal Siakam — Bruno still might become a rotation player in this league. However, he just won’t be doing it with the Toronto Raptors. A disappointing caveat considering how much the fans wanted him to succeed.

(4) Lucas Nogueira vs (5) Jose Calderon

4) Lucas Nogueira

Part of being a fan favorite is the undeniable excitement factor which you bring to the game. Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira brought excitement every time he stepped on the court.

The third center behind JV and Jakob Poeltl, Nogueira always was on the outskirts of the rotation, but never truly a part of it. Bebe was injected into the game when the team needed a kick. His presence always felt like it was going to be the moment which turned the game.

Nogueira is battling some serious stuff right now after his departure from the NBA, for which we all hope he is OK. No matter what happens in his basketball future, he’ll always hold a place in Raptors fans hearts.

5) Jose Calderon

The direct opposite of Bebe, Calderon wasn’t beloved for the energy which he brought into the game; he was loved for his steady presence.

Originally as a backup, then as a starter, Jose Calderon just did his job. He wasn’t an All-Star, he didn’t have moments which took your breath away, but every time you saw Jose in the lineup, you knew you were getting 24-36 minutes of above-average point guard play.

Jose Calderon was a Ford Taurus, vanilla ice cream, or that episode of The Office which you’ve watched 14 times already. You know you could probably find something better, but there’s nothing wrong with being happy with what you got.