With no star players ever wanting to come to play for the Toronto Raptors, that makes the draft that much more important for them. So let’s start by reviewing their first-ever draft in history
Each team has a long history associated with them. Whether it’d be the Boston Celtics with Larry Bird, the Los Angeles Lakers with Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls. Each of these stars led the team they were DRAFTED by to multiple champions and memories their fans we’ll never forget. The Toronto Raptors, however, don’t have a player they drafted like that yet.
The Toronto Raptors are still a relatively new team and don’t have a rich history like the teams mentioned above. This makes talking about their history always more unique, especially given the fact that their front office was horribly run for the majority of their existence. But one area where they weren’t so bad at was drafting.
Possibly the most important part of basketball outside of the court. Drafting is what differentiates good teams from bad teams, even if they don’t end up playing on your team and end up being traded for a star/superstar.
A good example is the Lakers trading all their young talent for Anthony Davis. If the Lakers had drafted poorly, maybe their trade package wouldn’t be as attractive as it was and they never end up getting AD. Anyway, I’m not here to talk about the Lakers. I’m here to grade each Toronto Raptors draft from 1995.
Without further ado, let’s begin with the 1995 NBA draft.
1995 NBA Draft Picks
His name, Damon Stoudamire. Stoudamire was drafted as the 8th overall pick from the University of Arizona.
Considering the players who were picked after him, only two were ever All-Stars — Michael Finley and Theo Ratliff. Although Stoudamire was never an All-Star himself, he did shine in a draft that had Rasheed Wallace, Kevin Garnett, and Jerry Stackhouse as the pick in front of him.
Stoudamire is a key reason the Toronto Raptors won over 20 games their inaugural season, and he will forever be remembered for scoring 30 and dragging the Raptors to a victory against what was the best team ever at the time, the 72-10 Chicago Bulls.
It’s just unfortunate that his time in Toronto was so short. In his first two seasons, he averaged 19.6 points and 9 assists. Just for comparison, those are better numbers than what Chris Paul had in his first two seasons.
Had he stayed longer he might’ve formed a deadly trio with Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady and who knows what could’ve happened. This Raptors pick was the first of several good picks to come in the future.
1995 NBA Draft Grade: A
The reason I’m giving the Toronto Raptors an A is because Damon Stoudamire was a hit for the Toronto Raptors despite leaving only after two and a half seasons. The only reason the Toronto Raptors don’t get an A+ here is that their second-round draft pick, Jimmy King, only ended up being remembered for having a really cool name. Oh, and he only played 64 NBA games… in total.
So they may not have gotten their Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, or Michael Jordan in this draft, but they did get a short exciting player to watch, despite it being for a short amount of time.