Toronto Raptors: The players who were opposite of fan favourites

Toronto Raptors - Hedo Turkoglu (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Hedo Turkoglu (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors: Andrea Bargnani(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Andrea Bargnani

We hate ourselves for making this list so predictable. But I mean, come on, did you expect anyone else to be at the top of this slideshow?

Initially, we were going to include Bargnani as part of our Fan Favourite series. But we couldn’t bring it upon ourselves to crucify the journalist integrity of any of our writers. Although let’s give the Primo Pasta superstar his due.

Bargnani was drafted first overall in 2006, the first and only first overall pick in franchise history. When you look at this landmine-filled draft class, the Raptors didn’t too bad taking Bargnani. They could’ve taken LaMarcus Aldridge (who Bosh wanted) or Brandon Roy. However, they also could’ve been stuck with Adam Morrison.

Even as Bargnani showed flashes in his rookie and sophomore seasons and kept bumping up his scoring averages and blocks in the next four years, it was clear he wasn’t going to amount to anything. Except maybe a seven-foot meme (to this day.

Bargnani’s best year statistically came in the 2010-11 season when he scored 21.4 points and blocked 1.7 shots in 36 minutes of action while hitting 34.5% of his threes. The Raptors won a grand total of 22 games that year.

Known as “Il Mago” (The Magician), Bargnani was kind of ahead for his time. A center who hits threes? Heck, he’s the original Splash Mountain. But if only his burning passion for playing basketball coupled by his phenomenal athleticism didn’t hold him back. God forbid!

Rag on Bargnani all you want. But this man is single-handedly responsible for leading the Raptors to a championship. Don’t believe it?

Bargnani led the Raptors to the fifth-overall pick in the 2011 draft, which they used to draft Jonas Valanciunas who they traded for Marc Gasol. Then, on his way to New York, Bargnani got the Raptors a 2016 first-round pick. This pick became Jakob Poeltl, who the Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard.

dark. Next. Toronto Raptors fan favourite bracket: Round of 16

Yeah, there’s a little bit more to those details. But think about it. If this Italian sauce-maker wasn’t around, the Raptors wouldn’t be where they are now.