The definitive starting lineup of the decade for the Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /
4 of 6
Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard spent only one season in Toronto, but his sole season in Canada may well go down as the best single-season in Toronto Raptors history. Leonard joined the Raptors in July 2018 as a player who many believed might never be able to get back to his best – such was the mystery and potential severity of his injury.

When he left the Raptors one year later, he left as the reigning NBA Finals MVP and the best basketball player on the planet. Leonard’s performances throughout the regular season and the playoffs were enough to tip the Raptors over the edge and put them on the path to their first-ever appearance in the NBA Finals.

Leonard averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.9 steals per game over 24 games in the postseason, and created some of the biggest moments in Raptors history along the way. In Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, Kawhi Leonard knocked down the shot heard around the world: a buzzer-beater to knock off the Philadelphia 76ers and send the Raptors to a Finals date with the Golden State Warriors.

Four perfect, tense, and never-ending bounces a rim before the ball dropped on. Pandemonium. Leonard’s legacy exists like no other in Toronto, and maybe the whole NBA. He came, he saw, he conquered.

It would have been incredible to see him re-sign in Toronto and it’s fair to say that the Raptors might well have been the favourites if he stuck around. We’ll always have the memories, though.

Oh, and a title.