The Toronto Raptors top 10 moments of a franchise-altering 2019

Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Chris Boucher (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

8. Circumventing the GoDaddy Curse

The longtime curse that has plagued a number of Raptors over the years has finally ended this year.

Some of the best commercials on television were produced for GoDaddy. The company was particularly interested in featuring Toronto ballers in their Canadian ads. That is why they connected with the big Lithuanian center, Jonas Valanciunas. He had a campaign called Itty Bitty Ballers, where he sold miniature figures that were modeled after himself.

This was the start of a curse that until recently hadn’t been broken.

After he appeared in his commercial, JV’s on-court play had a significant dropoff. But it wasn’t just Valanciunas who was a victim of the curse. After Patrick Patterson tweeted about his involvement with the campaign, his production took a nosedive. The same is true about Lucas Nogueira, who appeared with Patterson and Valanciunas in a followup commercial.

Norman Powell suffered the same fate after he displayed his piano skills for GoDaddy. During the 2018 season when the ad ran, Powell was unable to match his production from the previous season. His 2016-2017 season statistics including playoffs, were 8.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 1.0 turnover per game in an average of 18.5 minutes of action. Once the GoDaddy team got their hooks in him, Powell’s numbers dropped in 2017-2018 to 14.9 minutes, 5.2 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.1 blocks, and 0.9 turnovers.

CJ Miles was the next victim of the curse with his outstanding commercial, CJ’s PJs. Prior to associating with GoDaddy, Miles was a lights-out perimeter shooter. Once he started peddling his evening wear, it appeared as though Miles had completely lost his stroke.

In 2019, the curse was broken. Instead of taking players from the active roster, GoDaddy has cast a former one, Muggsy Bogues. He played part of two seasons at the end of his career with the Raptors. He was chosen to star in an ad for the internet registrar because of his link to the team and philanthropic nature.

GoDaddy has explained that:

"“Since retiring, Muggsy has continued to assist thousands of children through non-profit programs that focus on student athletics, leadership development, character building, mentoring and team building.”"

Thanks to a campaign called A Raptor Tale, Bogues ensures that the current roster remains curse free. Since Bogues has no current affiliation to the club, the Raptors don’t need to fear seeing one of their stars regress.

7. Chris Boucher’s Development

In 2017-18, Chris Boucher was a member of the Golden State Warriors. When the Warriors waived him, the Raptors were happy that they did. The 6’10” forward was scooped up by the Raps and given a place to play in the NBA G League with the Raptors 905.

Boucher thrived in the minors and made the best out of his opportunity. This past summer, Boucher was awarded some significant hardware for his play. He won the NBA G League Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards, becoming the first player to win both awards.

Boucher began this NBA season as a garbage time specialist at the end of the bench for Nurse. When players ahead of him in the rotation went down with injuries, Boucher would once again take advantage of his opportunity. Boucher began to shine.

Prior to the injuries to Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry, Boucher was averaging just 4.6 minutes per game. Now, Nurse trusts him with far more. In Boucher’s last 20 games, he averaged 6.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.4 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 13.7 minutes per game.

For the only Canadian Raptor in last season’s playoffs, it’s been a pleasure to see Boucher take strides in developing his game in 2019.