Toronto Raptors: Five undrafted players that have succeeded with Raptors

Toronto Raptors, Fred VanVleet (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors, Fred VanVleet (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
5 of 6

2. Spain’s National team success translates for the Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors
Jose Calderon (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

There is a decent-sized list of Spanish national men’s basketball members making an impact in the NBA. Before Jorge Garbajosa, general manager Rob Babcock acquired via free agency another Spaniard in Jose Calderon. Rob Babcock may be considered Toronto’s worst general manager, but Jose Calderon was a great signing.

Calderon was draft-eligible in 2003 but signed as a free agent by Toronto in 2005. His initial season in Toronto was not great, as his shooting stats will attest, with a three-point average of 16.3 percent and overall just 42.3 percent.

It may explain why when Bryan Colangelo took over from Rob Babcock as general manager, his first move was to acquire a point guard in T.J. Ford to compete with Calderon for minutes. It was a battle Calderon would win with steady, smart play and an attitude that put team results ahead of his own stats. Jose Calderon explained why he gave up his claim to starting in an article Calderon was quoted saying:

"“I [do] not get caught up in it. “[It was] no big deal, not for me. The team wasn’t working very well at the time, so I just tried to do another thing, something else. I just said to Sam [Mitchell, coach], ‘Let’s try it. Let’s try to change things.'”"

By the time Jose Calderon’s seven and a half years were over in Toronto, many other guards tried to supplant him as the quarterback of the raptors offense. Jarret Jack, Jerryd Bayless, and T.J. Ford are just a few names who failed to best Calderon’s high IQ, sharpshooting, ball security, and great passing game.

Calderon, who played 13 seasons in the NBA, came close to joining an exclusive NBA club in his third season (2007/08) when he shot 50-40-90 (51.9 percent field goals, 42.9 percent three-pointers, and 90.8 percent on free throws). He was 16 free-throws shy of the NBA minimum requirement, but he was a steady high-efficiency player.

Kyle Lowry became Toronto’s all-time assists leader this season, and it was Jose Calderon, who has 3770 assists as a Raptor who Lowry surpassed.