The ultimate Toronto Raptors fan favourite bracket: Final four

Toronto Raptors - Morris Peterson (Photo by Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Morris Peterson (Photo by Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Jonas Valanciunas (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

(1) Jonas Valanciunas vs (6) Amir Johnson

How we got here:

Valanciunas 67% > Calderon 33%

After an impressive first-round victory against Lucas Nogueira, Jose Calderon ran into a buzzsaw in the second round. Jonas Valanciunas and the JV Hive have been dominant so far in this tournament.

Valanciunas had a base of supporters which were always going to get him through Bruno Caboclo. Cleaning the floor with a longtime favorite like Calderon shows he might have enough fans to win this competition outright.

Johnson 51%> Biyombo 49%

What a nailbiter, a showdown of two beloved big men, one which gave the Raptors six seasons of consistent play and one which gave the Raptors two of the most important games in franchise history. A matchup which came down to the last second.

Early on it was Biyombo. Then, Amir Johnson made his run, tying it at 50/50 for a solid couple of hours. Finally, at the last moment,  Amir was able to take the slightest advantage, leading by a couple of votes.

That margin ended up being enough as Johnson won by fewer than five total votes. If you think your vote doesn’t matter, guess again.

Their matchup

Valanciunas vs Johnson

Jonas Valanciunas played for the Raptors for six and a half seasons. Amir Johnson played for six. Johnson was a key figure in Toronto both on and off the court. Valanciunas had a cult-like following. In terms of being a fan favourite, it shouldn’t get any closer than this.

Valanciunas has two key factors working in his advantage.

  1. Recency Bias. Valanciunas played just last season with the Raptors, and as a result, it’s a little easier to remember all the moments he had. It’s not as if Amir played decades ago. However, we just saw a more recent figure in Biyombo almost take him down.
  2. Production. JV was better at basketball than Amir, and while this bracket is supposed to represent how loved a player was relative to their production, many fans are going to choose the player who they viewed as better. JV was a near All-Star level center at one point in his career, which certainly ranks ahead of the solid but forgettable power forward.

Valanciunas enters this matchup as the significant, but not overwhelming favorite, fans of Amir Johnson will need to come out strong if he wants to have a chance.