The center position hasn’t been very kind to the Toronto Raptors over the years, as countless promising big men at that position have fizzled out. They’ve tallied just one meek little all-star appearance in 2001. The rest of the Toronto All-Stars have played positions 1-4, making the all-star player appearances a 23-1 ratio for Raptors centers.
Now, that’s not to say that there haven’t been great five-men to pass through the city. Top tier role players, veteran stars, feisty up and comers, that sort. There may not be a lot of centers who’ve been superstars for the Raptors, but the Raptors have had a lot of superstar centers; big names who were either too young or too old during their time in Toronto.
Note that these Top-5 lists are based around how good said player was during his time with the Toronto Raptors. A combination of individual achievement and contributions to the team as a whole. So while Hakeem Olajuwon did play a year in Toronto, Jakob Poeltl was the better Raptor, as weird as it sounds.
While Bismack Biyombo, Chris Boucher, and Ed Davis just missed the cut, these five stand out as the best centers in Raptors history.
Toronto Raptors Top 5 centers in team history
Raptors center No. 5: Marcus Camby
Soon to be passed by Boucher, Marcus Camby is a perfect metaphor for what mid-90s Raptors were in a nutshell; young, raw, and erratic. Despite only playing 2 years in The North, Camby put together some nice statistical seasons, averaging a career-high in points his rookie year at 14.8, and around seven rebounds a game.
Still, Camby’s best attribute was his shot-blocking. A bouncy, mobile, athlete at 7-feet, Camby led the league in blocked shots four times throughout his career, once with the Raptors where he averaged 3.7 swats every night.
The sad fact is that Camby never wants to play in Toronto. The growth of the city over the past 20 years has really helped its NBA franchise, changing Toronto from a second-rate destination into the big market metropolis that it is today.
Marcus Camby didn’t stick around long with the Toronto Raptors
The story of NBA players wanting out of Canada was a serious problem for the first ten years or northern expansion. It’s what caused the Vancouver Grizzlies to lose out on Steve Francis, and the Raptors to lose Camby and Damon Stoudamire.
Camby would have been a great fit during the Vince Carter years. Instead Raptors fans have to remember him as the flash-in-the-pan big man that he was. Fun and funky and dunky for two years of losing before fleeing to greener pastures.
The list of Raptors bigs is pretty dark outside the top 4.