Celebrating the 15th anniversary of memorable 2006-07 Raptors

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - APRIL 29: Head coach Sam Mitchell, T.J. Ford #11, Rasho Nesterovic #12 and members of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - APRIL 29: Head coach Sam Mitchell, T.J. Ford #11, Rasho Nesterovic #12 and members of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images) /

It’s easy to forget that before Masai Ujiri helped turn the Toronto Raptors into one of the most consistently excellent franchises in the league, success in the postseason was often hard to come by.

With FanSided’s 15th anniversary on Friday, let’s wind back the clock to 2007, load up Linkin Park’s Minutes to Midnight on your iPod Nano, and take a look at what Sam Mitchell helped accomplish in the 2006-07 season.

The Raptors were in transition at this point following the trade of Vince Carter to the rival Nets. With Andrea Bargnani christened as the savior of the franchise and Chris Bosh starting to come into his own, Toronto was moving forward with a super-young, super-talented frontcourt of the future.

Oddly enough, the roster around those two was a weird mishmash of veterans. While TJ Ford never fully recovered from his back injury, he gave Toronto years of solid point guard play. In his first year in the NBA, Jorge Garbajosa showed Raptors the type of player he could be before his knee injury.

Juan Dixon was added at the trade deadline, and even future NBA journeymen like Kirs Humphries and PJ Tucker were on this team.

Anthony Parker and Morris Peterson, who hit his famous game-tying heave this year, have the Raptors a nice 1-2 punch at shooting guard. With Sam Mitchell steering the ship, Toronto was able to win 48 games and secure the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Sam Mitchell and Chris Bosh led the Toronto Raptors in 2006-07.

These Raptors were actually playing some somewhat futuristic basketball, as they ranked in the top ten in both 3-point percentage and pace.

Bosh averaged 22.6 points and 10.7 rebounds per game in one of the finest seasons of his career. Bargnani’s 11.6 points per game set the stage for a very respectable, even if somewhat disappointing, Raptors tenure. Parker nailed 44% of his 3-point attempts, Peterson was a two-way standout, and Ford was in double-figures regularly.

This team met their doom against the No. 6 seeded Nets. The combination of Carter and Richard Jefferson, both of whom averaged over 21 points per game in their six-game playoff series, was too much for this team to handle.

Bosh shooting 39% from the field and Jason Kidd averaging a triple-double likely didn’t help matters much. Due to offensive liabilities like Rasho Nesterovic and Joey Graham being forced to log heavy minutes, Toronto’s frontcourt depth didn’t get them very far in the playoffs.

Ultimately, roster construction proved to be one of the fatal flaws for this team. Not only were the Raptors deficient on the bench, but they had to distribute shots and minutes between three frontcourt players (two of whom were not 3-point shooters). Ford and Dixon were just not going to cut it against Carter and Kidd.

The Raptors would not win another playoff series until 2015 when Dwane Casey helped guide them to the Eastern Conference Finals. While Mitchell was unable to do the same, his 2006-07 team stands out as one of the best teams in franchise history to this day.

Next. Top 10 rookie seasons in franchise history. dark