The Biggest bust in Toronto Raptors History
At the 2004 NBA Draft, the Raptors had a chance to add new talent to their roster with a lottery pick as they held the rights to the eighth overall selection. However, they were a franchise in turmoil, having missed the playoffs for two consecutive seasons.
General manager Glen Grunwald was fired in 2004 before the 2003-04 season was completed, and a search was conducted for his replacement. The search dragged on for several weeks at a time when most teams are busy working out draft-eligible prospects.
Finally, on June 7th, 2004, Rob Babcock was announced as the Raptors’ new general manager with the draft to be held 17 days later.
At the draft, the Raptors selected Rafael Araujo, a 6-11 center. While the team needed a center, Araujo was not a good one. In hindsight, the very next player drafted was Andre Iguodala, who went to the Philadelphia 76ers. Iguodala is a three-time NBA champion, an NBA Finals MVP, and is still playing today for the Miami Heat.
Araujo made the situation worse as he played 111 games as a Raptor over two years, starting in 75 of them. However, he averaged about 12 minutes a game with a scoring average of 2.8 points and about three rebounds per game.
On June 8th, 2006, Araujo was traded to Utah, where he played just one season. Araujo tried out for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2008 but was waived before the 2008/09 season began.
It’s a recurring theme with Toronto. When they get it right, they have employed great centers like Antonio Davis, Chris Bosh, and Jonas Valanciunas. When they get it wrong, it’s a parade of Araujos, Alex Lens, and Aleksandar Radojevics in a revolving door of mediocrity.