3 underrated early 2000s Toronto Raptors you forgot about

NBA Toronto Raptors' Spanish Jorge Garbajosa (R) and his compatriot Jose Calderon (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)
NBA Toronto Raptors' Spanish Jorge Garbajosa (R) and his compatriot Jose Calderon (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Keon Clark, Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors Keon Clark (R) and New York Knicks’ Kurt Thomas (L) battle for the rebound (Photo credit AARON HARRIS/AFP via Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors off-season is essentially over after the restocking of the roster. Christian Koloko was drafted, and Otto Porter Jr. was brought in as a new free agent signing, in addition to bringing back Chris Boucher and Thaddeus Young. Fans are anxiously waiting for the new season, wondering what will be.

Some may choose to spend the time reminiscing about the team’s past exploits. For Raptors fans of a certain age, memories of the Chris Bosh era, that infamous three-dimensional baseline, and all the craziness of the early 2000s are affixed firmly in their collective subconscious.

While wins weren’t always coming for the Raptors, and the organization was approximately 10,000 times less stable than it has been since Masai Ujiri took over, it’s still fun to think back to Morris Peterson drilling corner 3-pointers or Rafer Alston gliding to the rim.

Now that it’s peak “let’s remember some guys” season, let’s take the time to rewind the clock and go back to the past. Let’s take a look at three players who had some memorable moments with the Raptors, even if some of them didn’t have the longest careers.

3 2000s Toronto Raptors you may have forgotten.

3. Keon Clark

Midway through the 2000-01 season, Raptors GM Glen Grunwald swung two trades that would solidify their bench for a coming playoff run. He acquired the 6-11 Clark from the Denver Nuggets in a multi-player deal. Clark would ultimately bounce around the NBA, playing for four teams in a six-year career.

Some of that had to do with his personal demons, as Clark had issues with drugs and alcohol landing him in trouble with the law after his career was over. During a court hearing, he would state that his alcoholism was so bad that he never played while sober.

Even while overcoming his demons during his NBA career, Clark was an energy guy who could electrify home fans or quiet an away crowd with feats of athletic excellence. An old-school back-to-the-basket big man, Clark’s talent was evident.

Toronto Raptors: Keon Clark had tons of talent.

In a season and a half with Toronto, Clark would play in 127 games averaging 10.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. He was a member of the Raptors playoff roster in 2001 that won the franchise’s first-ever playoff series vs. the New York Knicks.

Grunwald was unable to re-sign Clark in 2002 as a free agent, in part due to both a salary cap crunch and some of the personal issues Clark was dealing with. If he had a better structure in place during his pro career, he would have been someone that competed for All-Star teams.

Clark will always be one of the greatest “what ifs” in Raptors history, as he had all the talent to be a quality center in Vince Carter’s prime.